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.
Okay, here we have my contribution to a healthy set of rules to follow with a go get ’em 😎 strategy for freelancers navigating the new gig economy. Maybe you were laid off, looking for a new job, searching fo a way to make extra coin or you are having a hard time figuring out how to do so. These rules encompass what I have learned so far from helping others build their dreams.
It’s not all about making money. How boring. Set out to meet and work with interesting people. Network like hell, join Meetups, free workshops, seminars and lectures on Eventbrite. Strike up conversations. Don’t be shy, ask interesting questions. Take the focus off you. That will make you less self-conscious.
In the beginning, say yes to everything, thank you, Derek Sivers, so you can say hell yeah to what you really want later. Do it. The small, the tedious, the boring, the ridiculous, the uncool. Unless it’s really illegal or something that could hurt someone, say yes to every project you get.
Now work for five-star reviews. Client not 100% happy with the job you did? Need to put in another weekend to respond to their requests and questions and remake that thing you created for them? Do it. Do anything you can to score a five-star review on your profile from a satisfied human being. Be of service and do it well.
Give away your best ideas for free. All of them. Seriously. All of that research you did to help you become better at what you do. What you learned from the courses you paid for and all the takeaway lessons from the hours spent fine-tuning your skills. Write it, film it, document it and give it away. Gracias James Altucher.
Slow down. Don’t rush. Create quality. Approach everything, every project, whether it is personal or professional with a grateful mindset. From doing your laundry in between UserTesting gigs to getting out for a mind-clearing bike ride between blog posts. How you do anything is how you do everything. Focus. Train. Practice. (Tim Ferriss)
Don’t be rigid. Be flexible. Flexible about everything. How much you get paid, how long a project will take, who you choose to work with, your relationships and what you learn. Think like Bruce Lee. Be water, my friend. Be water.
Do not try to be a thought leader, expert, guru or God forbid, an influencer. Aim to be helpful and valuable instead. That’s it. Oh, and be yourself. Comb your hair first. Sometimes I forget to do that.
All advice starts with “Be true to yourself”. Do what you’re passionate about. That’s hard to figure out. How about starting with being frank and honest. But do it in a kind way. Don’t be snarky and condescending, but be real. That is how you begin to remain true to yourself.
Take some time each day to feel your feelings. Don’t just work like a beast. For God sake, be vulnerable. Don’t hold that shit in. Being vulnerable will help you attract better clients and build stronger relationships with people. People like honest people. So, learn who you are and what you stand for. Self-awareness makes for an improved portfolio and body of work. I think Gary Vee agrees.
When you land that project, take a moment to ask yourself – How can I do this in a better way? Reexamine your approach to projects. Learn how to be more productive, more efficient and more creative.
Expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then bring those ideas into your realm. Steal ideas from the best. Blatantly rip them off, don’t forget to put your spin on it too.
Choose yourself, start hustling today, because honestly no one except your mom and dad or family you actually get along with really care. The idea of security and safety in a job in 2017 and beyond is a false narrative.
There are just a handful of old skills you can bring to the new economy. So everything that got you through your last job, well yeah, no. You need to build an arsenal of talents. Carry over the timeless and true but plan on learning something new every single day.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the money. If you are nervous and don’t feel quite confident about your value, ask for a little at first. Don’t worry, you will get tired of making peanuts for a living and competing with half the world that lives on $2.00 or less a day. Work, learn, build, upgrade. Repeat. Then ask for more.
Sign up for all the new bank-disrupting ways to get paid. Stripe, Square, Shopify, PayPal, Venmo, ACH, Wire transfer. Hell, take cash when you can.
You are only as good as your last gig. Seriously. A review or case study older than a month is old news. Keep on working, building, creating, repeating. Share projects you are proud of on your website and social media. (Omit names and specifics when you have signed an NDA)
Hello there, I am Madeline Johnson, a marketing and media strategist based in NYC, specializing in health and wellness. I love working with people who are creating products and services to help us look and feel our best. I also strive to be 1% better each day. That’s it, I take baby steps because it’s hard and I suck at a lot of things, but I do it anyway. It seems sinful not to. My quest to make sense of it all Undisputed Origin.
Oh and I have a course for you. It’s only two hours long and it will help you understand how to be a better interview guest, collaborator, and freelancer, while scoring media and influencer coverage for your new company. It’s called The PR Playbook. If you are just starting out and on a budget, hit me up @marketcouncil on Twitter or @madelinemariejohnson on Instagram for a free promo code. I know what it’s like in the beginning.
Note: This case study is a summary of a very successful three year public relations and media outreach campaign that I single-handedly created and executed, landing media and influencer mentions in US Weekly, Elle, Shape, Fitness, Allure, W, Health, Prevention and many, many more. It is packed with story ideas, pitches and ways to reach out to the media and influencers for press coverage for your new brand. While I love working with health, wellness, fitness and nutrition brands, these tips are for anyone trying to connect with the media and build their market. If you are looking to build press and influencer connections like a pro, you should probably check out my course The PR Playbook.com as well.
Why Vanity Metrics Matter
Everyone knows that influencers can actually sell through your product, bring real return on investment to your conversion funnel and actually have you making some money off your new business, but you tell me, how do you plan on paying for all that sponsored media? You need a balance of both blogger and persuasive top tier mentions and connections to convince and convert.
Same Problem, New Solution
I digitized these press clips and organized them into case studies with helpful tips for you to demonstrate that the news cycle in health, wellness, fitness and nutrition is a continual loop of how to look and feel our best. What is old again, is new again.
How to Pitch Like a PR Pro
It is not enough to tell the world you have built something brand new. You MUST share the problem you solve and why your product is the ultimate solution. In order to do this consistently like I did, with press in every media outlet imaginable – from Brides to Marie Claire; Town & Country to Oprah and Travel & Leisure to Vogue, you have to be very, very creative. No blogger, vlogger or journalist in their right mind wants a mass blanket pitch.
One of my first clients in beauty was a complex collection of skincare products (read: over 125 SKUs) from a brand called Yon-Ka Paris.
The challenge: Accumulate international brand awareness and celebrity cult-like status for an obscure, botanically-based skin care line created by two eccentric sisters living in the countryside of France without heat, electric or plumbing.
- Create an influencer & celebrity worthy experience while delivering five-star results at a world premiere event, like the Cannes Film Festival.
2. Don’t just focus on the masses. Branch out and persistently and consistently land press coverage in specialty (niche) media like I did here with bridal and new moms.
3. Pitch story angles around each individual product for additional reviews and inclusion in specific problem/solution stories.
4. Build upon product coverage and reviews by promoting spa and retail partners to build a clip book of the best of spa and wellness experiences in top tier media outlets, like Allure, Vogue and W.
5. Stay on top of all consumer trends and connect the brand to everything that is “hot”, on newsworthy, while climbing the charts – always sharing with media outlets in a timely fashion.
6. Create a charticle and/or listicle with products that offer solutions for every health and beauty challenge under the sun.
7. Never miss an opportunity to let the world know that your product is coveted by insiders “in the know”. Yon-Ka featured here in The NY Times.
8. Research, uncover and reveal blogger, vlogger, model, celebrity and influencer hacks, secrets & ways to look and feel their best. Then share it with those who want to look and feel like a star.
9. Highlight and tout exotic ingredients, or even every day house hold items and edibles like grapefruit as the next super food, miracle cure and foundation of youth, while sharing the benefits backed by science.
10. Show everyone short cuts to reduce stress while recreating an at-home mindful spa & wellness experience.
More ways to create story ideas around your products and brand . . .
- People can never have enough ways to eliminate the signs of anxiety and exhaustion.
- Help followers, customers & prospects pack for travel and another season and reason of self-care.
- Vet products, curate collections and share other complimentary brands in your story.
- Offer up new survival tips and products for every day annoying, yet common problems, like dark under eye circles.
- Collaborate with all-stars, including your strategic partners, retailers and professionals for added press coverage.
- Reposition your products for a new market – like men’s skin care.
- Position your more expensive, luxury product as an investment.
- Make sure your products are in good company and in the hands of professionals – and share their know-how with the world.
- Niche markets like “pregnancy” may have a shorter customer lifetime value, but they are open to product suggestions and recommendations. Especially when positioning your product as safe and effective for everyone.
- You’ll build more trust when you sound believable, so keep it really real. Don’t just make up your CEO’s quotes. Let them speak from the heart. Be believable.
- Popularize a certain part of the body and zone in on care for that one particular area.
- Promote soothing, safe, natural ingredients – like botanicals for specific skin conditions.
- Take an age old problem, and propose a new way to deal and heal it.
- Sampling sizes always work to give customers the opportunity to try before they buy.
- Does your product have an exceptional color? texture? Share the beauty of what’s inside the bottle.
- Understand your customer persona. What is her personality type? Naturalist? Futurist? or maybe just pure Becky. It doesn’t matter, just be sure to pitch to the media he/she reads, views, likes and shares.
- Go local – Connect with city guides in areas of dominant influence.
- Even in an age of influencers by the dozen, stars and celebrities still have pull.
- Plan an amazing product giveaway for your audience, fans and followers.
- Plan a splurge vs steal story – and include products at every price point.
- Help people get ready to reveal more for a new season – summer slim down and beach beauty prep.
- Have experts speak on your behalf. They need the publicity just as much as you do.
- Promote your product by lifestyle – cross over with fashion and accessories. Create the ultimate beach guide.
- Notice an ingredient trend before an influencer does? – help them select products for a round up .
- Have you opened a new retail account? Launched in a new online store? Tweet and share the news.
- Even if you are not pitching a story or new product it is important that influencers know what you are up to – so they can include you in their upcoming stories. Stay in touch with your VIPs.
- What happens when you have a fierce sales team, a loyal customer base and a winning marketing team – it’s a recipe for magic – it’s explosive.Work together.
- Show people how to relax, de-stress and unwind during distracting times.
- Help people transform themselves. Read: A complete vegan makeover.
- Are your products in a new hot destination spot? Promote it.
- Added tip: Make customization as simple as possible. As a matter of fact. Make everything as simple as possible.
- Take one ingredient – like geranium – and promote the hell out of it.
- Get people out of a bind – like when they over tan or burn their skin .
- Keep it exclusive and promote win its aka “contests” to attract new audiences.
- Promote B2B and B2C – which also helps boost employee morale.
- Promote experts from within your company to speak about their skill set.
- Seed out your products to celebrities.
- Offer tips on how to choose the best products in a category – like self-tanners.
- Go niche – pitch to smaller media and combine products with partners for the ultimate story mention.
- Pimp out celebrity users when they are launching a new movie or track. They need the publicity now more than ever.
- Reveal confessions.
- Ask your followers what their favorites are and report on that.
- Enter awards for your brand and promote the honors.
- Focus on problematic issues, like sensitive skin.
Want more ways to build your brand with media coverage? Check out my on line video course, ThePRPlaybook.com a short cut to learning how to pitch the press like a pro.
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.
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.
Yes you need press coverage. No you don’t need a press release. What you need are answers to the most important questions that writers, reporters and bloggers want to know.
In this video, I quickly move through the top 20 questions on every media influencer’s mind.
The Top Three Questions on every writer’s mind. . .
- What makes your story newsworthy right now? Why is it so timely?
- What problem does it solve? And, is it a big problem?
- Will readers and viewers want to share your story?
If you need help reaching out to bloggers, vloggers and writers about your brand story, check out The PR Playbook, a crash course in winning over the media and collaborating with influencers.
Writers for top tier media like The Huffington Post are generally very curious people. If you are going after media coverage and you’ve landed an interview, be sure to share the problem your business helps solve. Share your personal story as well. Did you create your business because of a problem you were having yourself? This is what makes your story more interesting, authentic and possibly more shareable.
Need help sharing your story with editors and journalists? Reach out for a complimentary brain storming session with me. Send me at Tweet @marketcouncil
What’s keeping me busy these days involves writing and filming digital news kits for startups and new brands. I have a lot of fun helping them shape their brand stories as I prime them for interviews and news coverage.
Watch this 45 second video above for one of my best tips on how to share a more authentic brand story that influencers and journalists what to hear.
Like these tips? Want more? Sign up for my media relations 101 course for start ups and entrepreneurs, launching this September 2016. Check out ThePRPlaybook.com
Almost every entrepreneur and marketing director out there knows that getting press coverage and influential writers to share their start up business story is important. Press coverage can open up their brand to a whole new target market and potential for sales.
What they don’t know is how to pitch a story to a journalist, writer or reporter.
Where to Find Me –
As a marketing & public relations expert and social media pro I help businesses grow.
Learn more about my career and professional background here.
Subscribe above to my YouTube channel for sage tips, hacks and recs about marketing and social media and follow me on Twitter for health, wellness and fitness insight & news.
Follow me on Instagram where I post inspiration for startups, entrepreneurs and hustlers in health and wellness. @madelinemariejohnson
Let’s connect on LinkedIn & check out the video wake up call that will increase your self-awareness and storytelling abilities.
For those interested in studying self-awareness, join the growing community at Undisputed Origin.