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

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 Pitch Your Story to the Press

media relations, media relations expert, press coverage, Public Relations, Star Powered PR

Here are a few real tips for developing fresh, new story ideas that will intrigue the media, get you press coverage and include your business, brand, product or service in their story. Your ideas should serve the journalist as well as their reader and viewer.

1.Know who you are pitching and learn what stories are popular
Research what your targeted media reporter or writer has already written. What piece received the most shares? What articles and segments were most popular? Think of new ways to tell the story. New angles. You certainly don’t want to pitch them an idea they have recently covered.

2. Do the research. Save them time.
Do all the difficult background work for the reporter, journalist or writer.
Save the editor time, their most precious commodity. Get your testimonials together, photos, b-roll, everything in one place, before you pitch the story.

3.Remember generic stories don’t sell
Specific stories do. What stories do you have that no one else can offer? What can you give them access to, that no one else has?

4. Be an observer. Take notes and think like a reporter.
Think like a reporter. Be curious. Keep an Evernote file of observations, conversations and every day moments that are distinctive and unique, and also common. Observe what is happening with your clients and customers. Be a spy, listen to conversations. What are they talking about online or in your spa, gym or practice. What stands out?

5. Write and communicate in the style of the media you are approaching.
Pitch in the tone and voice of the particular media outlet you are trying to get coverage in. If their voice is snappy, snarky and a bit skeptical, then serve up your pitch in the same way. Perhaps they report using statistics and studies? Then do the research and site your sources. If they report quick micro-bites of information, then do the same.

6. Always keep your pitch brief.
Keep your story pitch short, sweet and to the point. Include what is important and a quick way to reach you.

7. Stay ahead of your industry
Read trend reports from sources like Mintel, Euromonitor, Trendhunter and Zeitguide. What will be the next new thing in health, wellness, nutrition and fitness? You don’t need to be “trendy” but you need to know what is trending. What’s your take on these trends? Do you offering anything that is similar? Perhaps you know they are just fads. Maybe you have alternatives that work better.





and stay ahead of what is trending on Twitter, Google and Pinterest.

How to Get Press Coverage

media relations, press coverage, Public Relations, Star Powered PR
Watch these tips on how to position your brands as the type of thought leader that the media wants to interview.
Our media relations tips include best practices for developing respectful, long term relationships with reporters, journalists and producers.
  • Be ready to predict trends
  • Know what is coming next in your market
  • Share insider insight and knowledge
  • Be on top of your game in your industry
  • Target the right kind of media
  • Know where you want to be
  • Build relationships with journalists, influencers and writers
  • Be easy to work with
  • Aim to build trust
  • Back up your surveys, statistics and studies
  • Don’t over exaggerate
  • Be a clear communicator
  • Avoid industry jargon
  • Be a first responder and meet the reporter’s deadlines
  • Know that media relations is very competitive
  • Offer them an exclusive news tip
  • Don’t get upset if you don’t make the cut
  • Always thank the reporter for the opportunity
  • Be patient and generous
  • Don’t be diva like
  • Make sure your online profiles are active and up to date
  • Be completely engaged in your industry
  • Take notes of every day conversations which can be great pitches
  • Keep an editorial calendar that is timely
  • Just because you created something doesn’t make it newsworthy
Have a marketing question, let me help you grow
@marketcouncil on Twitter
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It’s So Not About You

Guiding Principles for Success, Real Time Marketing, Star Powered PR, Storytelling

It may seem like common sense, but the same bad story pitching keeps popping up everywhere.

Rule #1 when reaching out to a media outlet, a journalist, a reporter or directly to your audience, remember it is not about YOU, it’s about the value you bring to solve the problem that the television viewer, the magazine reader, the blog follower and the Facebook fan had in the first place.

Focus on them. Not on you. More tips on pitching yourself as an expert @Forbesphoto-5

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. 

Let’s Get Featured in 2014 Holiday Gift Guides

2014 Holiday Branding, Holiday gift guides, PR Agency, press liaison, retail marketing, Star Powered PR

gift wrap 1

If you are like most companies with a product or gift-able service, you are eagerly positioning your brand for a spot in the highly coveted holiday gift guides in larger circulation monthly magazines. Or maybe not. Maybe you are just too busy dealing with shipping schedules, high-maintenance accounts, office politics and trying to take a day or two off in August that you haven’t even thought about Christmas or Chanukah yet.

If you haven’t started preparing, yes, it’s later than you think. Closing dates for November and December 2014 issues are creeping up. InStyle Magazine’s November Best of Digital and Thanksgiving Party Guide closes on 8/25 and is on sale 10/17 and December’s big holiday gift guide closes on 9/22.  Most gift guides for print are finalized by September.

All of you DIY PR start-ups can take the long, arduous route by checking out this “to do” list

Oh and added tip – you need great photography and simply “buying a media list” is not a guarantee to get you into any guide, ever. Most gift guide editors and writers change each season.

If you want to try to reach magazines like InStyle with 1.7 million potential new readers/customers, without spending the 2/3rd page vertical equivalent of $145,200.00 you also have to be prepared with the following –

  • Consider that magazine creative directors will group gifts by texture and color scheme. Make your gift-wrapping as neutral yet festive as possible to increase your chances of getting photographed.
  • Unless you are pitching to Town & Country, The Robb Report or Departures, think stocking stuffers (under $25.00) and inch up in increments of $10.00 from there. Group gifts by price.
  • Assuming that you are starting off with an amazing product to begin with, make it even more irresistible with professional high resolution photography (wrapping included) and persuasive copy.
  • Optimize your pitch for each individual audience. Consider their readers’ lifestyle and incorporate details about them into your copy.
  • Remember to include price, size, availability and both brick and mortar and links to websites.
  • Have samples on hand of each gift to send to reporters and editors.

It’s not too late for digital, broadcast and daily media coverage. They typically have a four to eight week lead time. Social media has also changed the way people shop and over 50% of shoppers use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to find gifts for their friends and family.

Need help getting in the (holiday gift) guides? That’s what we’re here for. Send us an email or a tweet @marketcouncil. We are here to help.

The Customer is #1

brand reputation, building brand trust, PR Agency, social media marketing, Star Powered PR


When building a brand, it’s vital to reflect what is in the best interest of your core existence; the customer. They are the fuel to your fire and without them let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here. The question often surfaces, how do you leverage your social media to have customer influence and therefore, maximize retention and purchases?

A good place to start is knowing your customer inside and out. Discover their likes, dislikes, behavior and why they chose to be loyal to you rather than others. Answer customer FAQs via Facebook and Twitter. Stimulate them with riveting visuals on Instagram and Pinterest. Avoid trying to use your social media platforms solely to push your product. Be an interactive exchange, champion their interests and cravings by discovering their outside wanderings independent of your brand.

With such an overwhelming presence of digital and physical advertising tailored in emails and creeping in every breathable space, customers are seeking authentic, conscious and engaging brands. At MJMPR, we place our client’s customers needs at the forefront of our initiatives. For our client Surya Brasil, we understand our customers are environmentally conscious, anti-animal cruelty with a need for natural, all-organic lifestyle products. In inspiring them, we share the best all-vegan restaurants in local cities and DIY at-home projects using renewable and recycle materials. Customers are like friends, act like one and you could be friends forever.  

Normal Will Get You Nowhere

Beauty pr, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, social media marketing, Star Powered PR


Brands and more specifically, the people behind them have difficulty rationalizing PR and advertising budgets, questioning whether they will get the most bang for their buck. Bang being ultimate publicity; New York Times covers, celebrity ambassadors, etc. Well, here at the MJMPR, we believe it’s always good to dream big but don’t serve blah, serve bling. 

To get editors, bloggers and top influencers to spread buzz about your product, you have to have a certain wow factor. Remember, they are here to tell a story, so spin it right and they’ll spin it around. Make your product hype-worthy by telling the world something fresh and different. Looking back at our track record, MJMPR landed previous client Townhouse Spa on the cover of Time Out for inventing a weekly spa indulgence for New York natives called the ‘7-Hour Sunday Massage.’ And when we created the Bang-tox vs. Botox Today Show segment, a new hair style for hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda for Eiji Salon. Or when we created the 24 Karat Gold Facial for Fairmont Spas. It’s critical to think outside the box because normal will get you nowhere. 
Having trouble developing a story? Need a new angle? Give us a call at 212.729.1948 or drop us a line at