How to Do Smart PR For Your Product
Our Guest Blogger, Aneisha Howard, is relentlessly pursuing success with her invention - Bubble Gear, a unique line of trend setting handbags. You can visit www.bubblegearfashion.com to check them out!.
She wanted to share some public relations and marketing tips with the readers of AmericanInventorSpot.com.
Here's her article:
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You're here because you are an inventor or perhaps consider yourself an entrepreneur, big idea person, go-getter or habitual pipe dreamer. Either way, you're here because if you're anything like me - you believe in the idea that creativity does always prevail! The most rewarding feeling in the world is the day you get to see your idea come to life in the form of a real, marketable, sellable product. Then what?
For me, when I finally had my product in hand and was ready to jump into a Public Relations and Marketing strategy, we had completely run out of money. So, what's a girl to do? What I wanted was for my "Big Idea" to become a raging success without paying a gazillion bucks for advertising or twice that much for the fancy PR agency that wanted a monthly retainer just for gracing me with their presence. That one has always perplexed me by the way...
Oh but I digress. In 2004, being the eternal dreamer that I am, I came up with a fashion accessory line called Bubble Gear, which in the spirit of saving typing time will from this point forward be referred to as BG. On the world's shortest shoe string budget, I decided that BG would be my golden ticket - the thing that would secure my family's future and finally prove to my parents that they had been wrong about me after all : ) Although the fashion world, manufacturing, distributing, national marketing and PR were all new to me - I knew I had two options. 1) Raise a million bucks to hire professionals to turn my dream into a gold mine or 2) Fly by the seat of my pants, get on the web and teach myself everything I would ever need to know.
It turns out, I'm pretty good at flying by the seat of my pants. Once I had taught myself how to write a business plan, tackle prototypes, negotiate manufacturing and figure out accounting I was ready to introduce BG to the world. After I called about a dozen PR agencies around the country, I quickly discovered that most wanted retainers of $2000 to $7500 per month! Wow, for the price of a small ad in a national magazine, or a nice used car - I could have my very own PR guy. Unfortunately I couldn't afford any of it so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I networked, I begged, I bartered, I also did a ton of research and I started compiling lists...GIANT lists! Lists of every single solitary person that had anything at all to do with the media! No one was off limits - writers, editors, producers, journalists, stylists, even celebrities. I was consumed by the very thought of possessing the largest PR list on the planet. The name of any person imaginable that could possibly have even the slightest, most remote chance of helping me turn BG into the raging success that I had been dreaming of. Obsessive? Maybe, but my obsession paid off and through relentless research, passion for my plan and a revisiting episode of hypo-mania to keep me up till 3 in the morning - I succeeded in creating the ultimate media list.
With list in hand, I moved on to researching what the heck a press release was in the first place. I considered every angle, from examples I read on the internet to actual published stories and then I tried to imagine what types of headlines and content would grab my attention if I were that overworked, underpaid, deeply jaded journalist scrolling through 200+ email pitches each day. I decided that following "pitching protocol" was probably in my best interest, but that I would also have to give my press releases a little something extra. Maybe some graphics, possibly something a little edgy or even something a bit tongue in cheek to give them that shiny star potential. Yes, I knew I was onto something.
So what works and how did I do it?
1) Write a compelling press release
2) Hand pick your contacts, personalize the pitch.
There are all kinds of resources out there to help you find the right contacts. If your dream in life is to get on Good Morning America then call the studio and ask how they prefer press releases to be submitted, look up the site on the internet, find contacts! A great site out there for networking is Jigsaw - they have a free membership option and they give you access to phone numbers, addresses and even email. 99% of all media people prefer a press release via email - they will give out their email address just to get you off the phone!
3) Wait for the response.
After emailing the press release and as tempting as it may be to pick up the phone and follow up, try to resist the urge. Most don't appreciate being bothered and chances are you'll call right in the middle of the single most important and hectic 2 minutes of their life and subsequently they will hate you for eternity! Although many email pitches do go un-noticed and unread, chances are if they are interested, they'll let you know.
The exception to the no-phone call rule would be if you need to ask for their email address or mailing address should you want to send a product sample. Oh and if your product is inexpensive and you want it in Oprah's magazine or in Cosmo...send a sample to the editor!
Now that I've answered that one big question that you've been asking yourself (it's the same questions EVERYONE has when they think of PR):
"Where do I start?"
Just follow those three steps and you will get results. Trust me, I did and so will you. In fact, things started going so well with my PR efforts for my own company that one thing led to another and before you knew it there were people all across the country that wanted me to do the same thing for them - and I did. Mania PR was born (don't ya just love irony).(More...)