Every day I speak with business owners from around the world. Personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians, cosmetic formulators, fashion designers, spa owners, hair stylists, pharmaceutical companies and so on. I really specialize in anything that makes us look and feel good. New exercise classes, superfood snacks, wearable tech, athletic wear, healthy food services, a breakthrough drug, beautiful apparel, etc.
It’s a part of what I do each day and I learn so much about the real pain points that entrepreneurs face as they try to expand their business and build brand awareness.
Every so often I will post real questions from brave bosses and start-up founders hustling to create their dream businesses. Everybody seems to have similar problems and questions, even though they are in different industries. They’re all trying to figure out this marketing game.
I am a business marketing consultant trying to help them. Sometimes I consult and sometimes I build strategies to help organize entrepreneurs so there not marketing by the seat of their pants. I meet all these brave souls on sites like Upwork, LinkedIn Profinder, YouTube, Angel.co, Clarity.fm, etc.
I love working with startups and passionate people in general. It just makes the day better. They are working on the coolest things. What kinds of things? Apps to help us stick to our diet when we eat out; evidence-based reviews of alternative therapies like acupuncture and cryotherapy; a new health and wellness club that incorporates the newest in tech like DNA testing; a seasonless line of women’s wear with styles that enhance what you already have in your closet; a better bone broth; a way to help people allocated their paycheck and a path to financial wellness, and so forth.
One particular entrepreneur/blogger was looking to pitch journalists about her new website. She is obsessed with how technology is helping women stay healthier and live longer.
She sent the link to her new website and had placeholders for blog posts and zero social media content, but she wanted to build a plan to pitch the media and collaborate with influencers to build her network.
Her questions –
1) Can I use the same pitch for lifestyle and health (journalists)?
Short answer, no. Best practices include tailoring the pitch to each individual writer and website/program. General pitching is rarely picked up unless it is a very timely news story. Pitching should be thoughtful. You’re developing relationships with these writers and you won’t be off on the right foot if you start with “here’s my story, now please write it.”
2) Which news categories should I target?
Health + tech. I’d start with those two categories. It helps if you do a Google news search to see who is hot on your topic. Just search in Google News and read the first ten most recent articles. Recent is important. In this ever-changing, fast-paced world, yesterday’s news is long gone. Then start a simple excel sheet and dig for the email address of the writers who are covering your topics. This will be the beginning of your media list.
3) Best channels (online platforms) to approach media for the site?
Email and Twitter. However, you need to start a relationship first. For example, you don’t just DM on Twitter. Retweet some of their stories, comment and like. Don’t just start pitching, it looks like stalking.
4) Other ideas you can provide to accelerate traction (brand awareness) on a tight budget?
Write or film amazing blog content and be the publisher of all things health + tech. That’s what you should be doing in the first place. Media attention and collaborations come naturally from producing excellent work built on honesty and integrity that gets shared.
What to Do When You Hate to Sell
So many business owners tell me how they hate to “sell”. They don’t like to push their products or services on people because they can’t stand it when they are sold to by other companies. They delete email campaigns, block brands on their social media accounts and get really weirded out about retargeted ads appearing out of nowhere while they are surfing online. I know, it’s spooky. I get it, I don’t like pushy sales campaigns either, but I also think many business owners need a shift in their perspective. If you have a great product, you shouldn’t be selling at all. You should be building a community with your website, blog, video and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You should be creating valuable videos, posts and downloadable tools that help future customers. Create and share like a thought leader about the problem your product solves and always give them a call-to-action.
Social Media Marketing Isn’t Difficult, But It Is Time-Consuming
So many brands want to create social media posts on the fly or worse yet, farm out the work to a freelancer who doesn’t understand their market. The truth is, without proper planning, research or quality visuals, you aren’t going to attract any attention at all. Posting thoughtless or copy cat content can also lead to breaking trust with potential customers and clients. If clients only spent more time being thoughtful about what they want to post and really answered their audience and their community’s burning questions. If they only put themselves in their customer’s shoes. Think like your customers and clients and then give them solutions and broadcast it out to your social media content.
Even The Best Content Won’t Be Seen Without a Sizable Community
On the other hand, many clients have fantastic content, but they haven’t bothered to build a following on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or Pinterest. They are wasting all that work on a community of zero. The way to get followers is to follow, to comment, to like and engage with the audience you want to attract.
I often get asked by associates, friends and new clients about what I am currently working on these days. Lately, I am in the midst of helping a number of businesses navigate their way through digital marketing & web-based sales.
I have a digital marketing consulting gig, which includes web and email campaigns for Glaxo Smith Kline. I am working with Roy Heitzer, Head of Multichannel Marketing in the Nordics: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Norway and his team.
I am also creating a full marketing plan (including editorial content for articles, video and blog posts as well as strategy for social media and special events) for Nuvo Suites.
On the side, I am writing articles about healthy and natural living for Green Scene Gal, a new blog dedicated to helping women who long for a more natural way of life that is free of synthetic chemicals, GMOs, pesticides and artificial hormones.
I just published this article to help warn new moms and dads about arsenic levels found in baby food.
In the meantime, I am also developing a B2B Drip campaign for the fitness franchise Get in Shape for Women. See attached for email one of the five email campaign.
On a day-to-day, I strategize and assist Alana Johnson, designer and founder of Orseund Iris with her made in NY fashion label. This includes strategizing and optimizing the business for growth which continues to build a following with 98% of online sales coming from Instagram and fashion influencers
For those startups looking to build their vanity metrics with media interviews, I also have an online course www.ThePRPlaybook.com for entrepreneurs in health, fitness and wellness. This is targeted to brands like PEbyDesign.com who I have helped from the ground up.
This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST. All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.
Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion. Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.
WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT
Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY. Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.
DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.
What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.
Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.
Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.
Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.
Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.
If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.
TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS
The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.
SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE
Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.
LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE
It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.
CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.
Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also take time to RELAX every day.
IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS
Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.
MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING
So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game. I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?
But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.
GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS
Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt. Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above. This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.
EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY
Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes. Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride. Get HIGH ON LIFE.
SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME
Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works.
You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.
KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU
Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.
IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness. IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.
For those of you sitting on the fence about starting your own dream business, I urge you to start now and take advantage of all of the amazing tools that can help you reach a global audience. I’m not just talking about social media like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. I am also very excited about the hundreds of other ways in which you can reach your audience in countries around the world and the collaborations happening in my industry, health, wellness, fitness and nutrition.
My name is Madeline Johnson and I am an marketing and media strategist based in NYC. I help startups and entrepreneurs build brand awareness and sales revenue by creating easy to follow marketing plans and courses like ThePRPlaybook.com.
Here is my new intro video.
Now that many popular growth hackers and digital marketers have claimed 2017 as the year of Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn, the ridiculous amount of redundant “How to Win on LinkedIn” articles are filling up my Flipboard pages faster than I can read clickbait headlines.
As a former boutique marketing agency owner billing close to a million a year and now a seasoned, independent growth strategist consulting well-known and emerging health and wellness brands, I have spent most of my career cold calling and canvasing new business prospects.
Over 18 Years of Rising & Grinding
For much of my career, about half of my time was focused on business development and filling project pipelines. With an expensive office on Fifth Avenue, securing enough work to make payroll and staying on top of the agency’s overhead was one of my biggest daily concerns and simply accepted as the price of doing business. Hustling hard is how I found our clients.
In the most recent year and a half, some of the most helpful new tools I have found for finding new professional partners are platforms for pairing talent with businesses. Platforms like UpWork, Thumbtack, Freelancer, Clarity and Contently have taken the guess work out of where my next project and/or retained client is coming from. Yes, they all work a bit differently, most have you working for five star reviews and competing against non-native English speakers willing to work for extremely low wages and some attract a more reliable and respectable level of professionalism than others.
A Social Network becomes Your Net Worth
We all know that LinkedIn has become synonymous with business. That’s quite obvious. However, LinkedIn has now become my best kept secret for finding new projects and interesting work assignments. When I heard that LinkedIn was launching Profinder in beta, I was one of the first to apply. I was already a premium member, requesting reviews, building my network, making recommendations, joining groups and posting valuable content daily, so I knew that LinkedIn would offer a stellar option to finding new businesses to pitch my talent and skills. LinkedIn has also done a great job of building trust into their brand by staying true to their mission of networking professionals and so far my experience on LinkedIn Profinder has not disappointed.
The Work Just Pours into Your Pipeline
Because of its enormous amount of user data, LinkedIn is able to quickly connect freelancers like myself with strong leads based on their keyword searches and companies followed. Client requests come in and an email alerts me immediately. Profinder is a great option for expert professionals like myself in countless fields.
So far I have connected and began working with and on . .
- an industry-recognized thought leader in digital strategy and former Chief Digital Officer of Omnicom’s Healthcare Consultancy Group, a $100 million agency group serving pharma, medical device, and healthcare clients. I am helping him write articles on the risks, threats and the future of online privacy and cybersecurity.
- the premiere launch of the NYC office for a social video tech firm in sports & entertainment.
- finance and investment writing assignments for a private wealth management firm based in Montclair, New Jersey.
How LinkedIn Profinder Works
Much much more than a social site, LinkedIn is a community of professionals – in a business mindset. In my humble opinion, LinkedIn should have launched Profinder years ago.
Their Profinder https://www.linkedin.com/profinder talent exchange seamlessly connects you to those who are looking for what you have to offer– leaving you more time to focus on the work you’ve already secured.
- On boarding is a breeze and sharing your skills as simple as connecting your LinkedIn profile, which you probably already have as you use LinkedIn to highlight your professional career.
- You can create key messages and choose the types of projects you want to work on by using key words. I specialize in marketing strategy, plans, social media marketing, user experience, video editing and copywriting.
- Client requests and open projects that best match your profile and preferences are sent directly to you via email.
Right now Profinder is free to use. The only concern I do have is when and how much of the freelance action LinkedIn will decide to scoop up. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that their online workplace remains a benefit to joining LinkedIn’s premium subscription.
By the way, if we haven’t met already, let’s connect on LinkedIn. You can find me here.
Watch for tips on how to collaborate with fitness editors, media and influencers. . .
When you need to get the word out about your new fitness class, gym, yoga studio or wellness workshop, the fastest way to connect with customers and clients is through influencers and media. Sign up for ThePRPlaybook.com for more real life lessons on how to build your fitness, health, wellness and nutrition startup.
In this video I show you how to get started, how to find the writers, bloggers and journalists most likely to collaborate with you and report on your launch and how to connect via email and social media.
It’s been just a few weeks and I have already connected the brand with The NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The NY Post, US News & World Report, Well & Good NYC and TimeOut NY.
What is H.I.I.P. HYPE?
A new fitness experience in New York, created by artist and personal trainer, Sayco Williams, H.I.I.P. HYPE stands for High Intensity Interval Painting. Many exercise and fitness enthusiasts are familiar with high intensity interval training, where someone performs a given exercise for a short interval followed by a rest interval; it’s a very effective and very efficient means of training that can produce impressive results.
Sweat it Out, Brush it Off
H.I.I.P. HYPE puts a brand new spin on this popular style of training by incorporating acrylic painting on canvas into rest periods, allowing participants to express their creativity in a pressure-free group setting.
An Exercise in Creative Self-Expression
No prior painting experience is required; many participants have never painted before. And while some brief and general instructions are given during the warm-up, the goal is unhindered expression; to flow with whatever comes out.
Fun Fitness for All
The exercise portion is all done with bodyweight exercises, meaning minimal equipment requirements and participants of any fitness level can be happily accommodated.
With Brain Boosting Benefits
This combination of physical activity and creative stimulation leads to an amplified mind-body connection, and is a perfect remedy for the hyper-connected, permanently-stressed culture that permeates the world today. A study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that regular exercisers do better on tests of creativity than their more sedentary peers. Everyone benefits from disconnecting on a regular basis, and taking a HH class is an exhilarating way to reap that benefit and get a great workout in as well.
H.I.I.P Hype classes are also great for people who have become bored with their traditional fitness routine — it’s unlike any other fitness class out there.
These tips are for those entrepreneurs and startups who’ve decided to hire a press liaison, or a freelance social media marketer or a larger retainer-based agency.
Note: It’s best to heed this advice before you actually decide to hire one.
However if you’ve decided to blow your marketing budget on a digital agency and you are just not seeing the results you’ve expected, then tune in and follow these recommendations.
Need help navigating the world of PR for your brand? Comment with questions below. I would love to hear from you.
This video is part of a lecture in ThePRPlaybook.com, my new online course to help you build your business by leveraging media and influencer collaborations.
When it comes to driving eyeballs and business to your website, influencer attention can have quite an impact.
Now, there are basically three types of influencers.
The Elevated Consumer
A passionate enthusiast, they may not have formal training, but they are learning along the way and taking their community on the journey. Typically, they are sharing DIY’s, How to’s, interviews and product reviews for their fans and followers to try.
A skilled, licensed and seasoned professional who has decided to scale themselves to reach a wider audience, typically with a product or service to sell.
The Celebrity Influencer
This celebrity can be a combination of the above or simply so entertaining that they have amassed a large enough following to have star status.
Finding influencers has typically involved some type of Google search but I have just signed up for a free trial at Scrunch.com. I have been waiting for something like this for a while.
Search the Health & Fitness Directory
- Filter by Instagram, Twitter and Blogs
- By minimum and maximum follower range.
- By location. In this case North America.
- By date range of posts.
- By quantity of posts.
While influencers with a social reach of one million plus are going to be more difficult and expensive to reach, try finding those with a reach of 20-100K by location.
You will increase your chances of collaboration when connecting with emerging bloggers and vloggers who are on their way up.
Here is an important tip for you to follow when you are reaching out to the media for news coverage. Ask yourself Why??? Why would the audience of USA Today, The New York Times or The Huffington Post care? What stories are they sharing with their friends, family and co-workers and why? Build your story around what matters most to the writer’s audience.
You may have the most remarkable business idea created this year, but it’s just not enough to pitch your startup’s story to a reporter or journalist.
Influencers and journalists want pitches that will get shares. They are looking for news that will be retweeted on Twitter, shared on Facebook, repinned on Pinterest and forwarded through email.
You can increase your chances of news coverage success when you include why the writer, reporter and producer’s audience (their fans and followers) will share the story you are pitching.
So how do you do that? How do you know if your story pitch is a shareable one?
- Create an emotive pitch. Get to the heart of the story. Make it moving, inspiring, shocking. Something that will make other’s wake up when they read or watch it.
- If you are emailing a pitch to an influencer, craft a headline that arouses curiosity.
- Make sure you load it with emotional appeal and if you can leverage some controversy. More from @Jeffbullas here.
Want more tips like these? Subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
Sign up for my course www.theprplaybook.com launching this September 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @marketcouncil