A lot of people think that marketing is expensive and that they have to throw a ton of money out there to get business, but as you will see in this great blog by, Brian Roberts, that is not always the case. Sometimes it’s the small things that will help you achieve your goal.
Do your marketing right, and your email will rise to the top of the online slush pile. That’s exactly what you want.
What if I told you there’s a way you can get in front of millions of potential customers, drive highly-targeted website traffic, catapult your sales, increase your search-engine rankings and bolster your credibility tenfold . . . for free? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it isn’t. I would know: Using this method alone, I took my former hip hop jewelry brand from zero to six-figures in sales in less than a year.
So, what’s this remarkable tactic that led to such explosive growth? Publicity. In fact, one of the first emails I sent as a founder — one which took just 20 minutes to write — led to over $20,000 sales in my first month alone. My cost? Zero. That’s how powerful publicity marketing is.
But, there’s a problem. Publicity marketing isn’t some big secret. Whole industries are dedicated to getting businesses press coverage. Bloggers, writers, editors and journalists are inundated with pitches. I speak from personal experience: I’ve had the unique experience of being both an entrepreneur who did the pitching and a writer who’s received countless pitches.
Thankfully, there’s an upside here: Most so-called “pitches” are terrible. They’re boring, irrelevant and presented poorly. In fact, the publicists who are often paid thousands of dollars a month from founders hoping to secure press coverage, send some of the worst pitches of all.
That might sound like the antithesis of an “upside,” but it is, because using the method I’m about to outline, your message will rise to the top of the pile. You might not get press coverage from every outlet you solicit. But you don’t have to, because all it takes is one feature to change everything.
So, step one: Securing that press coverage starts with asking yourself these five questions:
• Am I targeting the right media outlet?
• Is what I’m suggesting new and fresh?
• Are the newsworthy elements clearly outlined?
• Do I have high-quality visuals to go with it?
• Is all the above put together into a concise message?
This step is the most important. You have to first make sure the media outlet and specific writer or editor at that outlet whom you’re reaching out to, is the absolute best person to contact. Otherwise, the remaining four steps will be for naught. It doesn’t matter if your idea, product or service is the greatest in the world. If it’s presented to the wrong person, it’s worth nothing.
I’ve shared the email templates I’ve used to get press coverage from dozens of top blogs in my ecommerce guide, but here’s a basic overview:
Find the right blogs. You find the right blogs much the way you find a good business idea: You explore what people in your market are talking about via reviews, blogs, comments and threads. When doing this research you should document all the article sites, article categories, article authors and of course, available author-contact information (email and social media) for later use.
Do more research. All of this information can be found just by reading up on competing brands or seeing what the blogs in your niche are covering. Reverse-search your competitor’s strongest backlinks via AHREFS or OpenLinkProfiler. You can also reverse-search their images on Google and see what top links are returned. Once you know whom to contact, it’s time to fill the war chest.
Write your online press release. Write up a press release that highlights the noteworthy bits of your offering. Include high-resolution visuals, plenty of supporting content (walkthroughs, videos, lifestyle images, etc.) and sample social media posts.
Debbie Sterling of GoldieBlox, a successful entrepreneur I met through Shopify, calls this a “playbook for sharing.” In short, you want to make your task as easy as possible for the recipient of your message to publish it, share it or both. This means providing that recipient all the information necessary to piece together a successful story.
Don’t overthink it. If you’re stuck here, the short version of another strategy I use is this: Don’t overthink it. Just take off your entrepreneur hat for a second and envision yourself as the writer, reader or customer. From there, you should be able to discern right away if what you’re about to submit is novel and noteworthy.
Write a (short) email. Last, you’ll want to package everything together into a concise, 100-word email. Why 100 words? LinkedIn says people who send InMails get 50 percent higher response rates when they keep their initial communication to under 100 words. My own research indicates the same, with the shortest emails getting the best response rates (in most cases). There are always unicorns and exceptions to this rule, but it’s best to keep things short at first.
Last word of advice? Remember: Writers and editors are busy people. Not only does a concise pitch demonstrate you have clarity, but it shows respect for the recipient’s time. That alone will help you build a stronger relationship with these people, and that’s something you can’t put a price on.
Brian’s former fashion brand shipped tens of thousands of products to customers in over two dozen of countries, was stocked by a Fortune 500 retailer and featured in countless media outlets all across the world. He now writes for top business publications on all things entrepreneurship.