Did you ever notice posts about marketing start with the author telling you how amazing they are? Yeah. I’m not going to do that. If you want to know more, I have a Wikipedia page that’s 99% accurate.
There are two things I’m going to share with you, and if you can incorporate them into your marketing strategy, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by not having to hire anyone to do publicity for you later. And who doesn’t want to save money in this economy of ours?
1. Start your marketing efforts on day one. How? Your product should be designed in such a way that it does the marketing for you by being awesome. Yes, “awesome” is subjective, and I can’t tell you what it means for you and your product for that reason, but the idea behind “awesome” is simple enough to understand and act on: You want someone to use your product and immediately tell their friends about it. That’s what makes it awesome. Assuming that you have figured out what awesome is for your product, the day it’s out is the day you start promoting it to customers because the product will do the promotion for you. (For tips and suggestions on how to be awesome, I recommend Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Dr. Jonah Berger.)
2. Going for press coverage in D.C., New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles is the most challenging part of any PR professionals job. The issue is that the bigger the market, the more national you have to think in terms of how you pitch your product to these outlets, and the honest truth is that, no matter how awesome your product might be for customers, many products are simply not ready for prime time in terms of press coverage on day one.
So how do you get ready?
The trick is to start as locally as you can and expand out until you reach the outlets you’re gunning for. For example, when Social Media Is Bullshit came out, although I did appear on CNN, TechCrunch, and CNBC, that’s not who I contacted first. The first media outlet I contacted was North Country Public Radio in Canton, New York. Do you know where Canton, New York is? Probably not. But I do because I went to college at SUNY Potsdam, which is right next door to Canton. By picking a small media outlet, I was able to rehearse my main talking points and work out any kinks there might have been in the presentation about my product. From there, I reached out to The Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, New York, and thenThe Albany Times Union in Albany, New York, The Times-Herald Record in Middletown, New York until I made my way down from Canton, which is located at the top of New York State, to New York City.
Identify what markets you have a connection with, find the smallest, and then start there by contacting each outlet, all the while playing up the angle of your local connection. Then move to the next market. And then the next one. And then the next one.
As you get more press coverage, you’ll get more press coverage, which sounds like a redundant statement, but it’s not. Media coverage breeds more media coverage. I’m an ordinary guy with an “ok” book. There’s nothing special about me, and I have no real connections or wealth or other ways to cheat the PR system. I did all of this simply by using the tactics I’m encouraging you to follow here. Put another way: If I can do it, you can do it. There are no excuses.
Make your product awesome for customers and keep your press coverage localized at first. Then expand and make tweaks to your product as needed until it’s ready for prime time. And when it is? Then you go to the big outlets with your previous press coverage and awesome product. It won’t guarantee you’ll get coverage, but it’ll up the odds and not cost you a thing. That’s what I think you and I would call a win-win.
Image by Peshkova via Shutterstock.