Building Brand Awareness for Health, Food & Fitness Startups

Brand Awareness, branded content, Content strategy, entepreneur, instagram, Key Messaging and Talking Points, LinkedIn, madeline johnson, Press Kits, Star Powered PR, Uncatergorized

Note to reader: I have included examples of digital press kits and timely news angles in this article that you can download. They may be helpful for you as you build out your stories to share with top tier media and influencers.

Examples from the Front Lines of Digital Marketing

One of the reasons I continue working with startups and emerging entrepreneurs is because it keeps my ear to the ground and in touch with the true pain points and biggest challenges that many new brands struggle with when it comes to marketing and promoting their products and services. The obstacles they face become my opportunity to help.

Case Study #1  – The More They Burn, The Better They Learn


Matt Gardner is a physical education teacher and health and wellness professional speaker from Novato, California. Championing kids to be more active and healthy on a daily basis, Matt has created PEbyDesign,, a program to help elementary school teachers get their students moving in the classroom for at least 60 minutes a day (a requirement from most states and the federal government).

I have been helping Matt build his side hustle, working with him on everything from his website user experience to building his own authentic voice while creating his digital press kit and all of his social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Right now I am conducting one-hour consulting calls with Matt and screen sharing video web chats with him to help him build out his social media strategy.

Case Study #2 –  The Best Place For a Financial Wellness Check up

financial Wellness

The best place to start your financial future and an empowering tool for financial wellness, I have helped R.J. Irving, a former Morgan Stanley advisor launch this SaaS platform to help Millennials understand how much to allocate to their 401K savings, health plans, and rainy day, emergency accounts. I created his digital marketing decks and press kit and scheduled and executed his strategy for Twitter and LinkedIn.

A sample of marketing collateral and digital press releases in a downloadable PDF file here Melius General Presentation-2.

Case Study #3 – Celebrating The Millennial Home Buyers Journey


Hearth & Beam’s creator Kyle Rothschild hired me to write his digital press kit, timely news stories, and social media strategy.  Hearth & Beam was created to document and share everything that makes a house a true home.

Hearth & Beam’s downloadable digital press kit here. A writing example of a creator profile Kyle Rothschild,,

An example of FAQ’s for the media and influencers here Media FAQs

My fact sheet writing sample here Hearth and Beam Fact Sheet

And timely and newsworthy story angles here News Stories

Case Study # 3 – Artisanal Gourmet & Organic Condiments 


Brown Dog Fancy is the purveyor of artisanal gourmet mustard.  Made from organic ingredients and sold online and in stores, I helped the owners of this condiment brand with their marketing collateral, digital press kits and social media strategy for #HowIFancy

Here are examples of a healthy food digital press release that I wrote for Brown Dog Fancy to share their story Brown Dog Fancy Story

Here, timely, news angles and ideas for reporters and influencers Brown Dog Fancy Story Suggestions

More writing samples including answers to media FAQ’s Brown Dog Frequently Asked Questions  and more indepth information about the founders behind the brand Brown Dog Fancy Creators

Win Over Media & Influencer Like a PR Pro

collaborations, Digital Newsroom, How to Do Your Own PR, Key Messaging and Talking Points, press coverage, Press Kits, The PR Playbook

I am very excited to be editing a course that will help fitness, health, wellness and nutrition startups build their businesses with

This is your essential guide, basically your road map to growing your business while winning over top-tier media and your very favorite influencers.

You know that building buzz and sharing your journey will boost brand awareness and consumer engagement that leads to an increase in sales for you. This is your marketing manual for success and it was created for people who don’t have the time to spend on social media 24/7.

If you are struggling with finding customers & clients, then this course is for you. If you need more eyeballs on your website then enroll your ass in this course right now.

Whether you’ve written a book, built an online course yourself or you’re opening a new retail store, maybe an e-commerce shop or you have created a breakthrough product or service, you will learn the most critical and effective marketing and PR tactics to reach your audience and audiences you never knew you would attract. Yes, that is right, the people who want to buy your stuff.

You will learn how to grow brand awareness about your business with press coverage in leading media like The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and USA Today and how to collaborate with influential bloggers and vloggers to reach new customers and clients.

I created this course to help startups and new brands cut through the clutter of repetitive, abundant and downright confusing marketing advice and understand and execute only the most productive marketing activities to build upon success.

Who am I?

My name is Madeline Johnson and I am a Marketing & Media Strategist & Consultant based in NYC. I am a no BS PR pro who specializes in health, wellness, fitness & nutrition. I have over 15 years of experience working with amazing brands like Reebok, Fairmont Hotels & Spas, Aveda and startups in the world of health and wellness tech.

I enjoy working with startups and entrepreneurs who are basically creating anything that makes us look and feel great. Send me a Tweet @MarketCouncil


Is Your Brand Story Newsworthy?

Brand Awareness, Communications, editorial know how, media relations, media relations expert, press coverage, Press Kits

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.

I disagree with some growth strategists when it comes to getting the media and influencers to cover your new brand story.  Some will tell you to start small, contact the less influential bloggers and websites first. That might work if you want to be a one hit wonder, but not if you are building a brand that is built to last.
In my years of experience, all top tier media want the scoop first. Whether it is a writer from The Huffington Post or Fox News, they are looking to be the one to break the news. I have worked with many media members – from editors of The New York Times to Vogue and GQ, and I will tell you right now, they don’t want to be the second or third to share your story.
When planning out your media strategy, target your list of influencers. Create a top target list and pitch them first.
Note: If you have been covered by other websites or influencers and you are pitching those in the big league, let them know. They will appreciate your honesty which will eventually build trust and a long lasting relationship, which is what you want with the media in the first place.
Doing your own public relations and media outreach involves building writer relationships and those relationships start with being open and transparent.
Are these tips helpful to you? Be sure to sign up for The PR Playbook, your essential guide to brand growth  launching this September 2016.

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.

How to Do Your Own PR Part 2

How do do your own PR, How to Do Your Own PR, PR Agency, press coverage, Press Kits, press liaison, Public Relations, Public Relations Plan


Last week I posted the first How to do your own PR announcement here. Before I begin, if you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comments section below.

Now you probably already realize that media attention will lead to more sales, clients and customers for your business and/or brand, otherwise I can’t imagine why you would be reading this in the first place, so let’s dive right into this great big opportunity of PR.

Basic Skills 101

While tools and technology change, the basic skills of public relations stay the same. They’re the foundation. They give you the ability to leap from a press release to Instagram in a single bound.

The Tools

In public relations, capability translates to using whichever tools and tech will successfully grow brand recognition, media coverage and engagement. Sometimes, that means Instagram or newer tech like Meerkat and Periscope. Other times, the method might be a press release, augmented by photos or video and social. Often, it’s a mix of platforms. I find that most journalists are on Twitter.

In the following weeks, I will cover PR in the Digital Age 

  • Crafting Your Story and Writing Press releases that Work
  • Building Your Targeted Media Outlets as well as Lists of Thought Leaders and Influencers for Your Speciality
  • Approaching Editors, Producers and Journalists – Pitching story ideas Appropriately
  • Community engagement via social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and more
  • Creating Your Own Digital Newsroom
  • How to Measure Your Return on Investment

SocialMedia-354829_960x368Industries & Markets – Choose Social Media that Aligns with Your Audience

Industries and markets that benefit the most from social media strategies include entertainment, retail, marketing, consumer technology, education, traditional journalists, executive recruiters, small businesses, fashion, real estate, travel and hospitality and restaurants.

Facebook is right for your brand if you are building a community presence or want to reach as broad a network as possible. It is still the most popular social media platform and has proven to drive consumers to your website.

LinkedIn is your best bet if you have services to offer other businesses. This platform now prompts you to share you status updates and blog posts as well.

Instagram, Tumblr & Pinterest is ideal if your business is very visual, ie. interior design, fashion, nutrition, hair salon and spa.

Twitter is great if you have news and trends to share. Hashtags work well here, so I suggest you first look up Twitter trends and your key words to see what others are saying about your industry. Aside from celebrities and professional athletes, #finance #technology #airlines #telecom are very popular on Twitter.

YouTube takes a bit more commitment but if you are in the business of “how to” anything and your not camera shy – then demonstrate your prowess via video.


How to Do Your Own PR Part 1

Earned Media, How do do your own PR, press coverage, Press Kits, press liaison, Public Relations, Public Relations Plan


This will be the first of many posts on how to do your own PR. I am also going to turn this into a video class for those of you that are interested. This post is for start ups, small businesses and pioneering entrepreneurs who are on a budget and can’t afford a seasoned public relations professional to represent them.

It’s also for marketing directors and medium sized businesses to help them better understand what to expect from their PR agency or press liaison. It’s all about best practices for the maximum publicity and promotional coverage without paying for advertising or relying on reviews.

Know the difference: “Advertising is saying your good. PR is having someone else say your good.



Tips from a True PR Pro

I have maintained a long and profitable career in PR and have built relationships with the editors of top tier media outlets including AllureGlamour, ElleHarper’s BazaarVogueTown & Country and W Magazines as well as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and influential digital media journalists affiliated with The Huffington Post, Refinery29, and StyleCaster, etc.

While I have spent most of my time representing premiere lifestyle brands including Aveda hair care and cosmetics; The Spas at Fairmont Raffles Hotels; YonKa Paris skincare, Rene Furterer Paris; Carthusia fragrances;  Nasomatto and Morgane Le Fay perfumes, these best PR practices apply to any industry.

Ever Expanding Universe of Media Options

As consumers get closer and closer to their favorite brands on social media; the proper PR strategy deserves extra special attention. Staying on top of the most useful ways to spread the news involves exploring new, innovative ways to amplify your messages and strive to fully leverage the ever-expanding universe of media options, marketing channels and technological innovations that have forever changed the practice of PR.


The PR Skills You Will Build

My intention is to show you the best practices for building a media list, crafting a pitch, approaching a journalist and answering tough interview questions, using the best tech tools so you receive the best possible editorial coverage for your products and services in the most efficient way possible.


boorstinThe Importance of PR 

Yes social media matters and digital marketing is very important for building brand awareness. Equally important is television, print, digital and radio/podcast coverage that validates your company’s existence as a relevant market leader.  Getting media coverage is not easy and takes time, energy and persistence. If you are going to do it yourself, you are going to spend time writing, photographing, recording and documenting your brand’s products and services and training your spokesmen and key ambassadors.





Market Before You Manufacture

The best way to begin is to build a market before you actually manufacture. Get the word out before you hit store shelves.  You don’t want to wait until your product or service is “perfect” because you know it never will be.  However, as Steve Jobs once said, what you want to do is create relevance with your products, services and PR; not just “awareness.” All great media coverage begins with thoughtful, useful and well-designed products and services that make a difference in people’s lives.

Please follow for more How to Do Your Own PR and post your questions in the comments below.


You can also follow along on Twitter  @marketcouncil

Getting the Message Out – The Perfect Press Kit

Beauty pr, Press Kits, press liaisons, press release writing, Public Relations Plan, Star Powered PR

Yes, digital press kits including fact sheets, company profiles, high and low resolution photos and press releases are still very important when communicating with any form of media (newspapers, television, magazines and websites).  These tools help you connect in a more productive and relevant way. As a matter of fact, if you want your story told correctly, they are absolutely necessary. Update these documents frequently and make them easily available to members of the media.

What’s Your Story?

Consider adding your hopes, dreams and aspirations for your business to your backgrounder so that writers can understand your vision for the future. Where is this company headed?

Feature Your Spokesperson

A profile and photo of the founder, CEO or best person to go on camera while representing your company as you get the message out. What are their areas of expertise? Include a sample video so producers can see and hear how they present themselves to the public.

How New are You?

Don’t underestimate the power of new. Writers are looking for something that hasn’t been covered before. Something that their readers/viewers haven’t already heard about. You can get away with calling something new for about six to nine months after it hits store shelves. After that, it’s old.

Make it Easy to Read

Create headlines for each section of your company profile to make it easier to see the milestones along the way (and make important moments like awards and  new avenues of distribution stand out.)

Get Your Facts Straight

Add the description, benefits, ingredients, instructions, size, price, distribution and launch date to all product and service fact sheets. Don’t forget to position your products for your target markets. Who will be buying these products? Who were they created for?

Share Photos and Illustrations 

Neatly organize all of your product and company photos. Clearly label them and place them in low and high-resolution folders. If their not easily accessible on your website than share a Dropbox with writers.

A few weeks ago, we actually had an editor of a popular online magazine tell us that she wanted access to all of our client’s product photos now, because she keeps the photos on her desktop for last-minute stories and deadlines. No need to email us, she has everything (including captions for the photos) at the click of the mouse.

Great Expectations – PR That Delivers

Beauty pr, brand reputation, Earned Media, Marketing Mavens, marketing plans, media relations, Press Kits, press liaison, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

As your brand ambassadors, your PR Agency is given a decent amount of power to help you grow your brand . They’re practically partners, the face and mouth of your company, talking to those who can make your products and services known to thousands and millions of new customers.

With that relationship comes your great expectations – a Vogue exclusive, appearance on Ellen, that Harper’s Bazaar feature, blown-up Facebook fans.  You know, the things you dream about at night.

Here’s a realistic list of what you can expect after you have media-trained your experts and created all of the proper tools for great placements.

Earned Media Coverage

What to expect from your agency? A steady stream of television, newspaper, blog, magazine and radio placements as well as fans, followers and engagement.  Trade and consumer. Continual mention of your brand in the targeted media outlets that speak to your customers.Your agency should be effective at amplifying your message while also helping you listen. They should also be able to prepare you with the proper tools mentioned above, like media training.

Market Knowledge

Engagement with your company and an interest in everything you are working on and launching in the future. The ability to understand your market better than you do. A passionate knowledge about your products, your customers and your competition.

Passionate Confidence

The confident ownership of their position as your spokesmen/women with an authoritative and influential voice that will help to promote your  messages. Ask yourself – are they as enthusiastic as you? as your sales team?

Genuinely Creative Ideas

The development of a flexible PR plan that integrates traditional and digital communication strategies to deliver stronger coverage results with genuinely creative ideas that can help increase your brand awareness, sales and traffic.

Measurement Tools

The ability to supply you the metrics that will evaluate the success of each PR campaign/placement that integrates traditional and digital tactics.

Socially Savvy

A true up-to-the-minute understanding of all social media strategies, channels and tactics. An understanding of the five P’s of marketing – product, placement, pricing, promotion and people. Remember they should be teaching you.

A Fresh Perspective

Willingness to share the good, the bad and the ugly; while giving you a fresh perspective on how your services, products and brand is perceived by the public.

Warriors not Worriers 

The ability to stay calm, cool, collected and confident – all the time, even during a crisis.

Press Kits Made Pretty

PR Agency, Press Kits, press release writing, Uncatergorized

If you want your story told correctly, you still need a press kit. It’s like a road map for the writer.

 Flash drives are fun, but a truly customized usb can be costly. Custom USB and USB Promos are two companies that get pretty creative.

Take a look at some of the newest customized flash drives being produced at Molotalk.


Most companies need a modular press kit to accommodate a fluctuating amount of information. Companies that are growing have information that is flowing, so it’s important to update frequently, if your printing your kits, take a look at these award-winning companies –

Flash Reproductions

Rhino Print Solutions

Graphic Direction


You can get as creative as you’d like with your press kit, but keep in mind that journalists will expect certain basic elements. These include:

  • A press release announcing new product/service launches
  • Company backgrounder with milestones
  • Founder profiles and company milestones
  • High and low-resolution photos
  • Industry research/trends/statistics

The easiest way to make your press kit available 24/7 is to put all the documents into a PDF or a ZIP file and put a download link to the file on your website’s media/news/press page. This page works best when it’s in your website navigation, preferably on the homepage. The idea is to make it easy to find.