Crafting Your Publicity Plan
I think all of you here are ready to start doing your own publicity. And in order to be really ready, you need to have a plan. So over the next 40 minutes or so, we're going to talk about crafting your publicity plan and how to actually set it up. So I wanted to share another quote with you, and it's another one of my favorite quotes. But if you don't know where you're going, you're certain to end up somewhere else. And this is so true. I experienced this and all of my businesses, and every time I think I could do something without a plan and I couldn't just wing it or try it, I often end up somewhere else where I was not intended or intending to go. So you really need a plan, because again, magazines work far in advance. If you missed their deadline, you have to wait another year before you can actually pitch them again. Um, and this goes the same with bloggers as well. If you are trying to maybe picture products on a blawg and they just wrote about the same subject and you didn't pla...
n in advance, then you're sort of out of luck because they're most likely going to say no because they just cover that a previous on block posts or in a previous article. So you guys need a plan before you move forward with your publicity efforts. So plan is basically it might sound really fancy, but it could just be a piece of paper. Were you just write your the best combination of media to achieve your objectives. It could be an Excel spreadsheet. Um, it could be in your email. I mean, it couldn't really take a lot of forms and whatever works for you. I know when I first started, I usually just write out something on a piece of paper, and I think about the main ideas that I want to accomplish and the types of magazines that I want to reach out to. And then when I'm really ready to narrow down and work on it on a weekly basis, then that's when I put everything into a spreadsheet and, um, I have something a little more formal, but it really could just be a piece of paper with your ideas and your timeline and the types of magazines you want to contact. So as I mentioned, it doesn't have to be complicated. It could really just have your goals and your to do so you might say something like, I want to be featured and holiday gift guides. And my to do is to find out the magazines that I want to be featured in and sent out that email. Um, and or if you're a blogger and let's say you want to speak at a conference, maybe you can decide. You know, I only want to do to speaking engagements a year, and those happen, Let's say in January and in September, and then you look at their deadlines and what those deadlines are for speakers, and then you couldn't sort of work backwards. And if their deadline is in August, and you could maybe make sure to pitch before that. But knowing when deadlines are and how that all fits and with your goals is definitely a great way to be really successful at this whole publicity thing and doing it on your own. And this also is going to allow you to measure and track results, because if your goal was to get in five magazines for holiday gift guides and you got in five magazines. You can check that off your list and know that it's done. And if you didn't get into those five magazines that maybe you can say, all right, I only got into two magazines. Maybe I'll pitch on extra thing for this month to get into the Mother's Day gift guides or something like that, Or if you wanted to do to speaking engagements and you pitched yourself to a conference and they said no, then you're going to know, OK, I need to put another one because my goal is to have to this year and I usually like to plan 3 to 6 months out. I found that planning I start out trying to plan for an entire year. Um, and I found that to be a little overwhelming at first, and sometimes you know you don't know what you're going to do tomorrow in your business. How can you possibly plan ahead for an entire year? So if you start out of three months, sometimes you can go up to six months. Then that could again break it down a little bit seamless, overwhelming, and the less overwhelming it is, the more likely you are to actually do it. So, yeah, 3 to 6 months, I think, is a good starting point for you to start to thinking about this, and this is just a really simple example. But this is a spreadsheet. This is when my spreadsheets look like when I pitched for the media. And again, it's super simple. It has a day to pitch the outlet, the story idea for what issue that's gonna be in, who the contact is, whether email is and that any comments and this is just something you know, you can have one thing a month like this. You can have one thing a week. You can do it. Whatever works for you. I was mentioning before that sometimes get a little excited and I'll pitch, you know, things on a weekly basis. And sometimes I decided to cut it down a little bit and just do on a monthly basis and sometimes with my soaps just a couple of times a year, because that's what I find would work best for me right now again, this can change any time. Um, and this is another great way that If you already have a plan for this year, next year you're going to do this. A lot of it is gonna look very similar to this, and you already are gonna have all of your ideas in one place. So you know what's working? And the most important thing about this is the common section. Or you could noted whatever else works for you or whatever speaks to you. But I find that if I write comments on who responded, what they requested, what their response was, it's a lot easier to keep track of, especially if you're getting a lot of different requests. I know with my soap business, I send out a ton of emails and I got over 100 people to request samples back and what Howard to request samples from me. And what happens is, if I didn't have this spreadsheet, I wouldn't really be able to remember who said yes. Who said no, who said Maybe so when the issue comes out on newsstands, then I can actually know what to look for and I could know. For example, Kiwi magazine said yes, So I'm gonna be looking for They're December issue on Oprah magazine, you know, said no. So I'm not gonna be looking for that because it is your responsibility to get a copy of the magazine rather than ask the editor to send you a copy. Because just imagine what happens if they feature hundreds of products in each magazine, especially if it's a national magazine and they have to send out a copy to every single one of those companies that's gonna take a lot of their time. And if they're published, told issues a year, they're probably gonna need one person on their team just to be sending out magazines for products that were mentioned. So it is your responsibility to buy a copy of it, or a lot of times now they have it online, so you can just downloaded and put it up in your press section. But it's definitely not your responsibility to email the editor and say, Hey, I wanted to follow up on this. Are my products finally going to make it? And can you send me a copy? Here is my address. That's definitely, you know, because you're not giving them any value. You're asking them to do more work for you. So having the sheet is what it really allows you to keep track of. Who said that they would publish your products in their magazine? Or, um, I have this to for any time I do a podcast or I get interviewed, So I know to look out for it. So I couldn't tweeted and shared with my audience and shared on social media instead of emailing the person who interviewed me and saying, Hey, can you send me a link to that? I just automatically know that on this date, I'm gonna be going over there to see if the article was or if the podcast went live. Yes. Um, is there ever instances where the editor doesn't let you know you're being featured? Yes, there is definitely a lot of instances when that happens and what I usually dio. Sometimes if they request the product, the chances that you'll be featured are pretty high. So I'll put it in the comments, and I'll say, you know, requested a sample and on this date and haven't heard back yet, So if it's a having her backyard, then I'll still make sure to. Even if I follow up Teoh, ask them and say, Hey, did you receive everything? OK, do you need any more info? Do you need photos? And sometimes they're not going to respond to that either, because either the they're past the story, they've already done it. They've moved on to something else. Or maybe they didn't get your email cause it's in their in box with hundreds of other emails, so they're not always going to respond. But if you keep track of who you send samples to, then and you're gonna know which issue you sent it for, right. So when that issue comes out, you can just go to the new stands or check their website to see if it's there, so there will be times when they won't respond. And again, the no response doesn't mean they're not going to feature it. It just means that they're super busy. They might be working on a different story, and they don't have time to get to get to your email, so they could have featured your your company or products in there, um, log and does not have informed us. So there's there's a piece of the about you you don't even know. Yes, totally that happens. You know one thing, and I'm glad you brought this up because one thing I recommend for everyone here and everyone in the online audience is to set up Google alerts. And I don't know if you guys are nodding your heads. You're all familiar with Google Alerts, but are you familiar with, You know, I have a set up, but I don't know if it instead of correctly or something, because I have received information and me being the company being featured before, but it Google Earth and pick it up. Yeah, Sometimes that will happen. Um, you know, sometimes you can just google yourself and you're going to see some things that Google alerts missed. Um, especially if it's maybe on a smaller side. But I highly recommend that everyone signs up for Google alerts and away. When something is published about you on a website or on a blawg, you're likely to hear about it from getting the Google alerts. Otherwise, you might be missing it out and again. They don't always send your stuff when something happens, but at least you'll know more that way than if you didn't sign up for it. to begin with. So that's one way to sort of keep track of what's going on, especially if you're doing Ah lot of different things and being interviewed, you know, and sometimes there's blog's writing about my products or my services that hides it uneven approach. That's a great way to know who's doing it so that I could email them and thank them for taking the time to mention my company and thank you's really go a long way to I'm going to talk about the etiquette of contacting editors and why you should send a thank you note. Um, but yeah, if you didn't have this spreadsheet, it would really be hard to keep track of all of your different press mentions trays view with the comments. And is there another section that says here you followed up on another? I mean, how do you How do you keep track of you? Because you have to read the comments every time Do you just trying to think of Ah, I guess you can tweak it toe, however, expressed for you, But yeah, actually, that was gonna be my answer. Whatever works best for you. So for me, if I don't hear anything back. I'll just leave that blank. I won't write, never heard back. But what I do is in this first section here. I'll just put a comma after here and right the second day that I followed up with them. But you know that works for me. If you want another column here that says Follow up or second pitch, then you could do that, too. So whatever, really, Whatever system works best for you, I would I would recommend doing so. See, sometimes I found out if I put two money comments, it was just so much extra work because I had to read all of these things. But if I leave it blank, if they don't answer, I'll just know they didn't answer, and then I'll know to pitch them again. So whenever there is nothing in the comments, it just means they didn't answer. No, I'll just send them a follow up email. You have a question from the chat room? This Maybe somebody. Daniels. This is Alisa's downwind. Dan's wife, a very original name there. So releases. Dan's wife is asking if after one follow up, you let it go. When do you pitch again. She's very interested in the fact that you persistently pitched Oprah magazine until you finally got it. Or would you just ask again for something else? Maybe not the same thing next time? Yeah, I wouldn't ask for something else in the same email. Um, and usually I look at what's appropriate. So, for example, if the holiday gift guy didn't work for me or I got or no or no response, and if there's a fit for the Valentine's, they give guide, which is two months later, then I'll pitch for that. But you know, it's a rare that I'll pitch someone every single month for the same thing. I usually just do maybe two or three times a year on different different pitches. Or I'll page a different editor with the same story. If the story doesn't doesn't have a timeframe. Um, so something, for example, let's say from pitching an article on healthy lunch ideas for kids. Um, I'm not gonna be pitching the same editor every single month. I might be going to a different editor, maybe an assistant editor, the first time associate editor, the second time, and maybe a senior editor the third time, but you don't want to be in constantly emailing someone every single month or every single week. I would say the Max would be like 34 times a year to the same person to follow up. And if they're not interested and you still want to be in that magazine, just find a different person to two pitch. Sometimes I've had lock with just moving on to a totally different person at the magazine who was more interested in my products. And it can also just mean that even though let's say the fashion editor didn't answer, maybe the lifestyle editor might be a better fit. So some of it is just trying to see who would be the best fit for your product. Add the magazine. And I know some of the smaller magazines have just an editor in chief and then a senior editor, and they don't have different section editors, for example, for fashion or lifestyle or beauty. I'm so in that case, you have fewer people to pitch. But maybe you can pitch the editor in chief and then the senior editor later on. So I hope that makes sense. Yes, yeah, all right, So let's talk about some questions to ask yourself if I haven't given you guys enough questions to ask yourself yourselves today. But as you're getting your publicity plan ready, these are some questions you should keep in mind. So what is your budget? Do you have no budget at all? Maybe all you can afford to do is to send out product samples to people that requested. Or do you actually have a budget? Maybe if you want to speak at a conference and you know it's not a conference where they're paying for your travel, then maybe you can put that in your budget. But if you don't have the budget, then it wouldn't make sense to do something that would ask you to spend money that you don't have. So thinking about your budget and how much money you want, how you want allocates to this is going to be really important as you're deciding what things to do. I know sometimes, for example, if you want to get your products on a celebrity and there's an opportunity to do a gift lounge and we're gonna talk about those on Day three, those can cost a few $1000 so you can if you have a few $ to allocated to the celebrity gift lounges. That's great. If you don't, then maybe you need to try a different strategy. So think about your budget and what makes sense for you and what your goals are. And then you can determine whether or not you should be, including this in your plan or not, and then think about your goals. I know this on is an obvious one, but are you trying to launch a product? Are you trying to get more speaking engagements? Are you trying to launch a course and be launched it with guest blogging? What exactly are your goals and what are you trying to dio in order to meet those goals? And all of that is gonna fit really nicely into your publicity plan? And then we've talked about your target market a lot today, but you want to know who your target market is, so you know what type of outlets you are pitching again? You don't want to pitch a biking magazine for a product that has golf products, even though they can both be considered sports and they might be a magazine that's in the same category. But you want to get really specific about who your market is, so you can pitch directly to them. And I know then you're talking about your market being women 50 and up. Then the more specific you can get, the better you know exactly who you want to pitch. Then, lastly, how do you measure success? Do the success to mean having five mentions a month doesn't mean getting 200 people to your website or 100 people to sign up for your email list doesn't mean having five celebrities that are worrying your products by the end of the year. So what does success mean to you? And how can you measure that? And sometimes, you know, success couldn't just be sending out 200 emails a month, for example, or 200 emails a year, and not necessarily what you actually going to get back from. It is just the practice of actually doing this and putting yourself out there so your success can change at different times in your company and different times throughout the year. And, um, the more specific you can get about what success means to you, the more you can draft your plan so that you can actually be successful and measure that So you know what's working and what's not working. And if it's working, I've said it before, but if it's working, keep doing it. If it's not working, just try something new. So here are some ideas about 12 pitch. This is also called a Leeds time. You guys probably have heard about Lee Times, but this is a nice little chart about how far in advance the media is working on different things. So if you're pitching a long lead magazine, which is a magazine that's being published in, UM, annual basis, or maybe a quarterly basis, where they move a little bit slower than maybe a local magazine that maybe gets published weekly or so then they usually work 3 to 6 months in advance, so you'll know that in July or August they're working on their they're December issues. So if you want to get in the holiday gift guides and you're pitching in October, it's probably gonna be too late. So you want to give yourself that window off 3 to 6 months and what I like to do here is that I like to start six months in advance, even though it's a little early. But that gives me time to follow up again a week later. And if I still don't get a response, it still gives me time to follow up with or to pitch a different person at the same magazine. And I have that three month period when I contrived different people and see who's bus responding to my pitch. And if you're working with short lead magazines and a lot of the local magazines or, like regional ones, usually work on 123 month basis, and their issues don't really hit newsstands until the actual month. Whereas the long lead magazines, you'll see the issue the month before. You'll see the issue on newsstands the month before, but that's a little bit different for more of the local and the short lead magazines. If you're working with newspapers and whether those are weekly or daily or community newspapers, sometimes they can turn things around in a day if it's really breaking news. Although I doubt some of your products are breaking news that need to be written about right away. But if let's say you are, I don't know a tech person and a new technology comes out. Or maybe the new IPhone comes out or something like that, that's totally newsworthy. And you could picture local magazine about tips on how to use this new technology. And if it's something that's really timely, they might publish it the next day. So it just really depends on what kind of product you have and what's going on in the news to see how how long your lead time should be there. If you're working with daily newspapers again, it's the same, usually about one day to a month away. And, um, they I would say the average would be about two weeks or so. So give yourself some time, give them a little bit of time to work with your story and get it in there. Now. The difference here is that if you are pitching the Internet or something online, it's usually a lot more quicker, and I put there a day to three months, even though ah lot of it is much quicker than three months. But if you're talking about on online gift guide or something like that that takes a little longer to prepare. Or some bloggers air really popular, and they're constantly getting requests for other bloggers to post on their site. Ah, lot of times they'll be working a few months out and scheduling their content a few months out because they have a lot of the man and they already have content for the next three months so they can fit you in there. So that's why I put that in there. But usually, you know, it's it's a lot shorter than three months unless you're working with a really popular blawg that has hundreds of thousands of readers. If you are going to do radio or TV, it sort of similar with the Internet and the online, they could do something really quickly. If they already have content, it might take a little bit of time. I know I interviewed for a radio show one time, and it took about two months for it to actually go up because it was they were preparing for a different type of story and a local event that that they were running and they wanted this interview to be along that so again, it really depends. You have a good idea. Once you start pitching and want to start hearing back, Ah, lot of editors will think, Oh, this is great. Well, we plan on using it and in our August issue, um, and you I keep hearing that over and over again. So you know you're pitching at the right time. And lastly, if you're doing an event, some of them could be really quick last minute. Other events can take up to a year in advance. I know if it's a really popular event, they have all of their speakers booked up way in advance. And unless someone cancels and they're looking for someone else, you might not be able to get on there and some of them if there's a last minute cancellation and you just happen to pitch them that day or maybe that week and they're looking for someone to fill in last minute, it really could be as quick as a week that you could be on their I know for a conference that I spoke to or that I spoke out earlier this year. I e. I pitched them my my topic that I was gonna talk about and they said, You know, this looks great, but I'm so sorry. We're already old Book that speakers, you know, contact us again next year at the same time, or maybe a little earlier. And then what happened is a month before the conference, one of the speakers dropped out, for I'm not sure exactly what reason. So she contacted me and said, Hey, one of the speakers dropped out. Would you be interested in coming to speak instead of her? So it's something that happened, took a while to get there, But once it happened, it happened super quickly. So you want to think about whether, if you're doing divines, whether you're prepared to do that and then also to plan in advance as well. So now let's talk about some sample media plans, and this is my plan. When I was pitching weekly, you don't have to pitch weekly if you don't want to, you can do it monthly or you can do it ah few times a year when it's appropriate. If you do pitch weekly, it can get really, really expensive, especially of ah, lot of people are interested and they all want samples and you have to get the samples you have to pay for shipping. Sometimes they want them overnight, which could get really expensive. So if you have the budget and the energy, you can definitely do it every week. Otherwise, I would recommend Is visiting this on a monthly basis? Yes. Is are there ever times where a lot of people are asking for samples and you pick and choose who you send them to? Because, I mean, it's just hard to send him to everybody is so do you just take the ones that really I can relate to what you know? Don't Yeah, what a good question. And I think you know my answer to that would be yes. You could definitely pick and choose, Um, and you're going to see what happens if you get featured. Let's say you do a giveaway or a product review with a really popular blogger. Well, a lot of times, other bloggers read their blonde so they can get product ideas and things that they could write about. So after a huge feature on a blogger, often get a ton of emails from people saying, Hey, I just saw your products on this blogged. I run this blawg and I'd love to feature your products. Can you send me some samples? And if it makes sense, or if I have the budget for that, or if I haven't already gone through all of my samples that have allocated for press, then I might not do it. But if it makes sense, if it's a big log that I think, or even a smaller block that has more specifically my audience, then I couldn't decide if I want to do it or not. And sometimes I've had to turn people down because he was really, really small magazine. And especially now during the holidays, when my soaps are almost sold out and there's a magazine with people circulation as opposed Teoh some that have you know 100,000 enough. There's nothing wrong with the small magazines budgets. The timing wasn't right if they had contacted me. When I had juice for a gun, first got my soaps in stock, I probably would have sent it to them because they had a great audience. But as I'm running out, it doesn't really make sense to do it right then and there. So you totally can say no or yes to whoever whoever you want to work with you. So this is just unexamined all of what my publicity plan looked like for the month of July for my T shirts and you'll see that every week, you know? But I didn't build in. There is the follow up, which I usually on Week two. I follow up with everyone on Week one, and I'll send out all of those new emails as well. So I didn't put that in there. You can if you want to, but for me, just following up was automatic, so I didn't need to put it in there. But this is just a quick example of the first week I would pitch to women's magazines the second week. Because July is people are starting to get ready to go back to school, and bloggers have much shorter lead times and in July, there, working for their back to school to school, August issues. So for that week, I would decided to pitch bloggers for their back to school articles. The third week I just pick something random and the gift under $50 to parenting magazines. But again, this could have been a different type of gift or gift gifts that give back and pitch those two women's magazines again. Again, you could just decide one makes sense for you. And then the last week, I decided to pitch TV shows and pitch for an audience. Give away with a popular morning show and some of these I got a lot of grief things, some of them. Nothing came out of it. But that's totally fine. Because you have a plan, you can see what's working. And if you see that your pitching morning shows over and over again and nothing's happening, then it's probably time to focus less on that and more of the stuff that is actually working. And if you have a service based business, this is what your publicity plan could look like for that. So you can maybe pidge to your local news. I think for any service entrepreneurs, the local news is a really great way to go. It's a great way to sort of test how you feel in front of the camera, see if you like it. If you don't like it, then you don't have to do it again were entrepreneurs because we want to do what we love. So if your day it's full of things O r. If your day spent just doing things that you hate doing, there's really no point and starting a business because you want to focus on the things that you love to dio. And the more you focus on that, the more successful your business is gonna be. So if you try it out and you realize you know it's not really for me, this is not working with my schedule or my strategy than just ditch it and do something else that you love to dio and something that's working. And then so you'll see here for all of the different ways. You know, it's local news conferences, influential bloggers and then pitch to magazines as well. So it's a good variety. You don't have to do all of these in one month. It could seem like a lot, or you can if you really want to get out there and you're just launching something and you wanna build your awareness of your brand or build your list. This is a great way to actually get out there and do as much as you can when you have the energy. And when you're super excited about your business, I always like to start a really strong and then sort of scale back after I just doing initial push out there. And lastly, I want you to start thinking outside the box. So go ahead and think about as many angles and pitches and stories as you can and just ride them all down. It doesn't have to be a plan right now. You don't have to assign it to a specific week in July or a specific time in December. I just tried everything down and then look at all of that and see one makes sense and think about OK, do I really want to do this? Or was that just an idea that I had, um and should I be really pursuing this? But the more you can think outside the box, and I think I gave you some ideas in a previous session about all of the different angles you can take, the more the easier it's gonna be to actually get out there and to get your products featured from different angles