How to Pitch The Media & Win Over Influencers on A Very Tight Budget

Beauty pr, Brand Awareness, collaborations, digital content strategy, How to Do Your Own PR, Influencer marketing, Marketing Technology, media relations, Owned Media, press liaison, Public Relations, Uncatergorized

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,,, 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.


How to Work with a PR Agency without Losing Your Mind.

Communications, Content management, digital content strategy, Earned Media, PR Agency, press liaison, social media marketing

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.

Your Story in the News

How do do your own PR, media relations, press coverage, press liaison, Public Relations, social media marketing, Start up Success

Getting press coverage about your new health, wellness, nutrition or fitness brand will help build trust and fill the credibility gap instantly. This week I had a chance to chat with Adam Brown of Sircle Media about how to approach top tier journalists and reporters on social media.  We get into the tactical and practical of building media lists and what an editor is looking for in a valuable and shareable story.

Are you building your own health and wellness brand? I would love to hear more about it. Comment below and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more.

How to Score Press Coverage with this Free Service

How to Do Your Own PR, press liaison, Public Relations, Star Powered PR, Uncatergorized


Other than word-of-mouth marketing, press coverage is one of the best ways to help build your brand and for those of you who haven’t heard of the free service “Help a Reporter Out”, read on and watch the video above for best practices and winning tips.

Do this First!

1. Write a brief bio about you and how to reach you. Save it on your desktop or in Evernote.

For example

I am Madeline Johnson, a marketing and PR professional based in NYC and I help health & wellness brands grow. I love working with people and products that make us look and feel good. You can read my full bio here

Follow me on Twitter @MarketCouncil and check out my marketing blog at

I hope this response helps you with your story. If you want to connect further, the fastest way to reach me is by phone (212) 729-XXXX or send me a Tweet.


2. Go to

3. Sign up to receive HARO’s daily emails and read the rules!

4. Follow HARO on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

5. Set your phone reminder to read the emails at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. ET

6. Take note of these recommendations

  • Respond within 5-10 minutes to the Query, regardless of the journalists deadline.
  • Read the query TWICE and notice any special requirements before responding.
  • Your subject title should include the journalists query.
  • The email should be BRIEF and include answers to the journalist’s questions.
  • Do not send attachments.

Pro Tip

I also like to quickly Google the writer to get a sense of their voice, energy and stories they have recently written.

There are some pretty great contacts on HARO from the Wall Street Journal to CNN to the Huffington Post although I do see many of the same writers using the service daily.

Additional Rules from the editorial team at HARO

Violating any of the below rules will result in a first time warning, and upon a second violation, being permanently banned from the service. HARO works on mutual trust and support.

  • Do not spam reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.
  • Do not pitch products in your source request reply unless the source request specifically asks for a product.
  • You may forward queries to others via email or social media. As a matter of fact, the HARO team encourages it!
  • You’re not allowed to harvest any reporter information provided in the HARO emails for any reason.
  • Reply to source requests with complete, relevant answers to their questions, include a short bio and your contact information. Do not reply to source requests with incomplete information or solely, “Would like to talk to you about this.”
  • If you are replying to a source request on behalf of your client, directly reply with your client’s response. Do not reply solely with “My client can speak about this.”
  • Do not include attachments in your reply to a reporter source request. Attachments are automatically stripped from the email in order to protect reporters from viruses.
  • If you have relevant supplemental information or collateral that is helpful to the story, use a service like Dropbox to send links to the reporter in your pitch.
  • “Anonymous” queries are often larger outlets that choose to anonymize their listing to alleviate spam or deter story poaching. Reply to these queries as detailed above.
  • Media professionals are encouraged to perform additional due diligence prior to pitching.
  • Be excellent to each other.
  • There are more than a half million people using HARO right now.
  • I get a placement about every month. If you get more than that, share your tips.

I would love to know how this post helps you, please respond in the comments below or send me a Tweet @marketcouncil

How to Get Press Coverage for Your Brand

How to Do Your Own PR, media relations, media relations expert, press liaison, Storytelling

Watch and learn how to pitch a news story that gets picked up in this quick tutorial.

I am making these videos because I am filming a class for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners who want to connect with bloggers, journalists, reporters and writers so they can build brand awareness through editorial coverage.

Why You Never Get a Response from the Media

One of the biggest challenges is that most of the stories that I see being pitched are way too self-serving. Brand owners who don’t have a media relations background need to understand the importance of pitching correctly. It’s not difficult, it just takes a bit of understanding. The media is not going to write a story just about your new product or service. They need a story that is important to their readers and viewers.

Two Things That Help Your Business Grow

There are two things that will help your business grow. The first is word-of-mouth marketing and the second is great press coverage. Press coverage from a journalist, reporter, writer, vlogger and blogger covering your industry.

So glad I caught you before you send another email pitching your new product.  Most pitches fail because they aren’t really helpful to a writer.

For stronger pitches, the type that get picked up by the media, use these filters to make sure your story idea/pitch meets the following criteria.
1. Is this story new? Wait, is it really new?
2. Is it newsworthy?
3. Is it timely and on trend?
4. Is it fascinating and shareable?
5. Is it completely factual? Can I back it up w/ studies? statistics?
6. Is it relevant to the journalists reader/viewer? Why would they care?

Need help crafting better pitches for more press coverage. Follow my blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates on when my course ThePRPlaybook will launch.



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

What Really Gets Press Coverage?

Earned Media, editorial know how, media relations, media relations expert, PR Agency, press coverage, press liaison, Public Relations

Blog Post Visiual

And the question of the day is –  what actually gets press coverage from the media? If your product isn’t getting the earned editorial props it deserves, perhaps it’s just a matter of telling your story in a different way.

  1. Billion (and gazillion) dollar space research gets press. Is your product “breakthrough” or innovative in anyway?
  2. Scary scientific studies that can kill us or make us very sick for a very long time gets press.  Does your product or service help save us or the planet, if so, how?
  3. People doing bad things – now that gets way too much press.
  4. How technology and the big, bad Internet is always changing everything we do, want, need – gets lots and lots of press.  Does your product fix a big problem? Maybe a problem we don’t even know we have yet?  Well, how big is that problem?
  5. Things we can relate to, like “13 Smells That Every New Yorker is Way too Familiar With” @BuzzFeed  What exactly does your service do to make people feel at one with it?
  6. Things we should worry about  or not worry about, now that gets press.
  7. Trends in fashion, music, food, cars get press. Is your thing a part of a regional or worldwide trend?
  8. Native advertising (an advertisement disguised as a news article) like this pen and paper combo with livescribe app gets a different kind of confusing press. This is not real press.
  9. Stuff that may or may not happen, but we should be anxious about – gets press.
  10. Useful, fun tips and life advice gets press. Can you offer tips, tricks, hacks when using your service?      Need help putting a little spin on your story. Drop us a line at

Microvideos: Get On Board or Get Lost at Sea

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Micro Video Blogging, Microvideos, PR Agency, press liaison, social media marketing, Star Powered PR


Microvideos are taking the social media helm and these bite-sized bits of entertaining videos are popping up everywhere. Sharing streamlined messages of hyper-edited audio-visuals to a growing number of viewers has become standard. What started with Vine (6-second looping videos) has ended with the growth of competitors; Instagram video (15 seconds), MixBit (16 seconds), Tumblr GIFs (short animated images) and a flood of imitators.

In a world where immediacy, convenience and short attention spans are omnipresent, its imminent to jump on the microvideo bandwagon and continue to story tell your brand.


How to get started?  Weave microvideos into your social media campaigns and embed them in emails. Embrace the power of the microvideo and make your social media come alive.

 1. Compelling Content – Whether its comedic, artistic or a fast sequence of DIY steps, make every second count. The concept in its entirety must persuade viewers. Create a video you yourself would re-post. Referencing the rise of the micro video, Forbes’ article, The Top 7 Social Media Marketing  Trends Dominating 2014,” explores the success of Saatchi’s anti-smoking campaign, reaping over 50,000 likes and  26,000 re-Vines within the ad’s first week. According to UK’s Marketing Magazine because these short films are at present, push mediums, the content must be entertaining, informative or intriguing.

 2. Homegrown VS. Outsourced  On a budget and feel you have the creative eye in-house? Use one  of Scientific American’s recommended 12 Microvideo Apps. From free apps like Viddy to Snapchat coupled with smart phone high quality technology, these short clips could be done in the luxury of your own workplace. If you want to leave it in the hands of the professionals, consult sites Behance or Le Book. At MJMPR, we recommend NYC-based film production companies Legs Media and Matte Projects to realize your microvideo dreams.

3. More Brand Reach – If users avoid ads like the plague on YouTube and Facebook than microvideos are the holy grail of marketing. They offer less commitment from the viewer than traditional online video. Microvideos are short and therefore, brands must select simple visual cues that make the brand transparent from the start. Short snips actually share more.

4. Need ideas on what to Film and Edit?- How about a quick how-to about your product or service or a series of product tutorials? Maybe a time-lapse video of your brand’s evolution. Launching a new product? We recommend a brief company announcement. Take your iPhone or Android for a fast video around company headquarters. From filming the manufacturing process of your best seller to video teasers for upcoming events, the possibilities are infinite. Mashable shares the top 4 hot apps for microvideo blogging; Keek, Tout, Klip and Viddy, while each varies, they all specialize in editing and sharing short videos.

5. Share, Share, Share – According to a recent Marketing Profs article, video integrated emails will massively increase user click-through rate. After its creation, the short clip can be  cross-promoted seamlessly through all social media platforms including emails. If it’s got the creative grit, who knows maybe it will go viral. Tweet it. Gram it. Facebook it. Vine it. Tumble it. 

Cultivating Your Brand’s Voice: Know Thyself

award-winning companies, Brand Awareness, brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, PR Agency, press liaison, social media marketing, Star Powered PR, Uncatergorized

tipografias-marcas-moda-chanel-comunicacionydiseno.es_ tipografias-marcas-moda-givenchy-comunicacionydiseno.es_ NIKE_SIZED-2


Building a brand from inception is no easy feat. You’re sitting at your desk, contemplating and plotting your next social media move yet nothing comes to mind. You have a hype-worthy product and an idea fully committed but publicly vocalizing your brand stifles you.

What do I post on Instagram? Is this “on-brand”? How do I get more followers? Is this how I should talk to my customers via Facebook? Is that tweet really retweetable? With so many platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, Youtube, does it ever end?) and so many varied users, how do you cultivate a voice of your own?

In order to make it as the Nikes and Chanels of the world, its invaluable to firmly internalize your brand’s identity. If you cannot fully, confidently and fluidly answer these questions, it’ll be tricky expressing yourself across the board.

1Who are you? As a brand, its imperative to eat, sleep and breathe your mission statement. What are your roots? What’s your story? Why do customers choose to be loyal to you? Hone in on your core competencies and centralize what makes you different. If you don’t know who you are, nobody will.

2. What’s your purpose? What did you set out to do? Yes in due time your goals will inevitably shift but stay true to your initiatives. We promise it will be easier to express yourself from the inside out. Are you here to serve up the best organic and natural lifestyle products to environmentally conscious consumers? Know why you’re here. 

3. Who is your customer? There’s a gap between who you illustrate as your ideal customer and those individuals actively buying your product. It’s critical to shift attention to the latter. Do your research and know you customers. What do they do in their down time? What are their values? What music do they listen to? Once you know them like you would a friend, you won’t think twice before tweeting and Instagramming content they’re into. Get to know one another.