On Tuesday, I announced the Blogging Workshop for People Who Love Fabric that will happen in January and February of 2011 at New Pieces in Berkeley, CA.
We’ve been hashing out the details (what to say, who to include, when to have it) for a couple weeks. So it was exciting to finally see the announcement go live on my blog!
And then about two hours after it posted, I got the jitters. What happens if no one shows up? Pretty funny, since it’s my job to help people believe that if they follow a PR formula, they will be successful!
That got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a checklist you could use to make sure you remembered all the options every time you had a new product or service?
What are the resources that are at our fingertips that don’t require fancy press releases, expensive media purchases, advertising, newspaper, or direct mail?
Well, here it is!
STEP ONE – DEFINE YOUR NEW PRODUCT OR SERVICE OR EVENT
Write a paragraph that explains what your product, service, or event is.
- What is it about, and who would want to use it or attend?
- What’s the price point?
- When does it happen?
- Who else will be there? People often judge whether or not to attend an event by who they’ll be rubbing shoulders with. Help them visualize.
- What is the “takeaway” – meaning, what benefit will the customer gain by purchasing or attending?
Take pictures or create images. If it’s an event, maybe you can find pictures of similar events or a photo of the place or people involved.
CREATE A CALENDAR
The best PR doesn’t blitz for one day and then go away. It needs to ramp up and extend over a period of time. Depending on the size of the event, that could be 10, 14, or 20 days. I like to print out a calendar template (from Word or Entourage/Outlook or?).
- Write in the launch date.
- Look at today’s date.
- Fill in the steps that need to be taken.
- Try to keep the workload to less than 1 hour each time you need to work on the project.
Can you do it all yourself? If you need help, write in the names of the people who will assist you by the task. Make sure they have 48 hours notice so you don’t get burned by last-minute schedule conflicts.
THE PRODUCT LAUNCH
Publish news about your service or event on your blog. Use the information you developed when defining your new product. You don’t have to tell everything at once. Start with a few key wows. Be excited in a way that sparks enthusiasm in others.
Make sure the link goes to:
Also, is there a place this information should live within your business website?
Does it belong under “products,” “services,” “gallery,” or “what’s new”?
Is it possible to put a blurb and an image on your home page with a link to more info deeper in the site?
SAY IT AGAIN
In a relatively short timeframe, post it on your blog again, but this time from a different angle. If the first time you introduced the product, then the second time, you could talk about how people who are buying it are using it. Or you could talk about where it is being sold. Or you could talk about how your product is making your customers happy.
Think not just sales pitch, but inspiration. People will read your blog if it inspires something in their lives to be more fun, easier, save time, or improve their ability to get their work done. They’re going to look to you for expertise, so share your insider knowledge.
Calendar 3 to 4 times to feature your product on your blog. Sometimes you might choose to only mention the product while talking about something else. That’s fine… finesse when selling is an appreciated artform. Just be sure to include a link back to the original post that is rich with more info.
Constant Contact makes it easy to get your message right to people who’ve opted to engage with you. Sending this type of email regularly (say, every 2 weeks) will establish a relationship because people will get used to seeing you regularly, but not so frequently they want you to go away (aka, “unsubscribe”!). I like an email that has not too much text… just enough so that you can see what the offer is, a photo of what it looks like, and a link to more info. This link can go to your blog or your website.
FOCUS ON ACTION
You’re going to want to make sure to include “a call to action” on your promotions. A call to action tells the person reading how to take action. It can be as functional as a button that says, “Sign up now” or “add to cart.” Or, if you don’t have all the tech tools in place, at least say, “Call us” or “come in” to take next steps.
CROSS-PROMOTION: OTHER BLOGGERS
Do you have partners in your industry who would promote your event on their blog?
Will they add a link to their Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In?
Could you guest blog? Often, if you will write the article (1-2 paragraphs + photos) and the relationship between you and the host makes sense to their customers, they’re happy to get fresh new content for their blog.
Not everyone is going to come to your blog or read their email on a regular basis, so you need ways to reach out in person.
- Do you have a retail outlet?
- Can you advertise near where people check out?
- Can you hand them a small flyer or postcard that clearly promotes your event?
- Do you have sales staff?
- Do they understand what the new product or service is?
- Are they excited about promoting it?
- Would they feel comfortable introducing the product or service in a conversation with a customer?
- Once a customer is interested, do you have an easy way for them to buy?
NETWORKING NEVER FAILS: GROUPS, GUILDS, ASSOCIATIONS
What groups do you belong to? Would your product or event benefit them? My measure of thumb on this one is, If I didn’t tell them about the event, would they be missing out on an opportunity? Would they regret that they hadn’t known about it?
If you could benefit them, then get the information posted on their website, blog, or even newsletter. Figure out who the contacts are for this type of information, and build a relationship. Say “hi” when you see them in person, and then, for the most part, it’s best if you can send them information via email.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
For entrepreneurs, some of the best media contacts are people we already know. They want us to succeed, and they’re more likely to put some brainpower into sourcing ways to help. Pick 10 people you know who could spread the word, and approach them. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell. You can just say, “I’m launching this event, and I really want the first one to be a success. Do you know people who might be interested in attending?” Just starting that conversation will tell you whether or not this person can help you at this time.
SAY IT AGAIN
As your project gains momentum, tell people! Your PR must establish your business success in your field. Each product or event is a stepping stone to developing your brand and your long-term viability. When you connect those dots, your growth will come exponentially!
What resources or techniques do you use? Leave a comment and tell me what you did that was really helpful to growing your business!