This is How to Get Publicity For Your New Business With Christina Daves
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This is How to Get Free Publicity For Your New Business
Today we have another PR expert, Christina Daves on how to get free publicity for your new business. Christina Daves is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and has run five successful companies over the past twenty years. With no resources remaining, she launched her latest venture CastMedic Designs. Christina has taught herself everything she could about generating her own free publicity, which basically provided free advertising for her business.
We should talk about what CastMedic Designs is. It is the boot that you wear when you have broken your foot. Is that right?
The doctor prescribes the boot and then CastMedic, has what’s called medi-fashions, which are the accessories that go on them to turn that ugly boot into something fashionable.
Nice. I actually had one of those boots when I turned my ankle. We are happy to have you. We were just talking before going live about hearing about each other. We finally connected because of a complementary idea. I would love to hear first about your experience doing your own PR and how you were able to get free publicity for your new business and also your experience about helping others get their PR too.
I speak a lot. I speak a lot to big groups. One thing I noticed that women do differently from men, is that women collaborate. You and I do the kind of same thing. You invited me on your podcast and you are going to be on our podcast. I love that about women. It is complementary what we could do for one another. That is why I think that women in business are going to change the things in the world in a couple of years.
I love that idea. I think that is true. We call that “coopetition.” We are competing but we do some things that another person doesn’t. That is a wonderful way to start a PR campaign to get free publicity for your new business. Let’s talk about PR because sometimes people have an idea but they are afraid of publicity. I love what you said. “Just act, the worst you are going to get is no.” My mantra is anything is possible.
But I love what you said, “The best time for PR is when you are new.” A lot of people who have just begun their business would be terrified about that. Talk a little about how someone new in any particular business can get free publicity for their new business as much as someone who is experienced.
Don’t be afraid. If you are experienced too, do not think that because you are not new that you can’t recreate yourself. You can make yourself new. I will use my business as an example. I ordered too much inventory which most of us do when we start out in a product based business. I can’t really create new designs right now but I heard cammo was hot fashion for women last fall. So I took my cammo sock which is actually a men’s version and I put a hot pink rhinestone flower on it. I flipped that out as my new design and I got media coverage for it.
That is great. Cammo like military. You put pink on it. I love that.
Going back to being new. People are so afraid of the media. I tell them that if you think of the media today as running 24/7, 365 – these journalists have to fill all of that space. Not only do they have printed edition but also the online edition too that needs to be updated every single day. Media outlets are just constant. If you can put together a good pitch or a good story idea about your new business and submit it. Especially if you are a local business. Local media is dying to hear about a new local business. That is the easiest way to get publicity. I have a three-pronged approach to get free publicity for your new business.
- Be news worthy.
- Create a great hook.
- Find the right journalist.
If you can put all those three in place you can really start having a lot of success in getting free media exposure for your business.
I love your three points on how to get free publicity for your new business. Be news worthy, write a great pitch, and find the right journalist. I just want to add one to that. Find the right journalist or producer who is going to introduce it at the right time.
What is good about what you said is that if you don’t hear back does not mean it is a “no.” It is a “not now.” I’ve gotten that several times where I pitched something, I did not hear anything. But a year later, they came back and they said that it now fits into what they were doing. I have interviewed the features editor for the Parade Magazine and I asked her specifically if she has a file of good stories that don’t fit right now. She said absolutely. I think most producers and journalists keep that kind of file of good ideas that just don’t fit right now.
I think that is really true. Before I was a media trainer, I was a publicist. I can tell you that there were many times I finished a campaign, a 3-6 month campaign for someone. Then 3-6 months later I get a call from someone I pitched and they wanted to book my client after that.
All that work that I did and I often get those kind of calls after my clients campaign is over. Of course I would connect them. It’s so true that “No” could mean “not now.” It could also mean that you did not create a great pitch. How do you put together a great pitch because if you can’t create a great pitch, you are not going to get to the next step in being able to get free publicity for your new business which is getting an email or actually talking to a journalist or a producer.
The most important thing is to know is what media you are pitching to. If you are going to pitch the Today Show or Good Morning America, you better know that program from the inside out. Make sure that whatever you are pitching fits into their format. If you are trying to get an article in a certain section in a magazine, business magazine, fashion magazine, whatever that is, make sure that you know what they cover and what they write about or the kinds of stories that they like to cover.
Some people don’t take this advice even if this is one of the most important things. I remember when I was teaching a course on how to get booked on Oprah, I had people coming to the course without even knowing anything about Oprah. Some had never watched the show. It is the same thing. You really need to know that format, how long it is, what they would like to cover, the way they like to cover it, their style, and their coverage. So that you can create that pitch that is exactly what they will like.
For example, the Today Show every hour is a bit different. The earlier hours are the hard news and the 10 o’clock hour is a lot more fun. On television a segment is about three minutes. Don’t pitch a 15-minute organizing tips for closets feature. You are not going to get the 15-minute tips in 3 minutes. So you really need to think about what you are pitching and what type of publication it is. If it is an airline magazine which is a long read, you can absolutely have 15-20 tips or something like that. But that would not work on television.
It’s maximum five tips for the four minute TV segment, of which you only get two or three of those four minutes. Tell me what you think goes into a great pitch.
I teach. I do workshops and trainings. I tell people two things. Look at magazine covers. Those people get paid a lot of money to get you to buy that magazine. To make you want to know what is inside by reading that blurb in the front. I think AARP is brilliant at it. That is one of the best magazines. They put those kinds of things in there because they make you want to read their magazines.
For television, it’s when they say, “Coming up next.” I have teenagers who do not like reading over the summer. So on the local news when they said, “Coming up next, the book that will make your kids actually want to read this summer,” it makes you want to go sit through the ads, stay on board, and come back with them after the commercials. Those are two great resources you can use that provide a great feel for what makes a great hook and a great pitch.
TV people are masters at it for keeping you viewing. I’ve got an O Magazine right in front of me, , for instance, the three things you could do to make your face younger today, the bra of your dreams, the simple trick that might save your life, you are not alone, or starting a conversation about anxiety, health, and more. Those are just the things that are small but they are huge teasers. Under the bra of your dreams it says, “practical and pretty.”
Those are all things that make you want to read that. The goal when pitching to the media is you want them to want to read your email. I have client who did a pitch like that they actually used her exact headline on the cover of First for Women magazine. The title that she pitched was, “Sure cure for the wired and tired.” She is a doctor of naturopathy. They actually wrote an entire article based on her methods and what she was talking about. They put it on the cover of the magazine, “Sure cure for the wired and tired.”
Imagine that, not only do you get into a magazine but you get your story idea on the cover. I know I have a formula for writing hot hooks, but am wondering if you have any formula for writing a great pitch other than reading magazines that are brilliant at this and watching TV. Do you have any formulas to write them so people can follow those formula? You are natural in these kinds of things and also with helping your clients on these. I don’t think it is easy for most people to read all these covers and to do it for themselves.
I don’t have an exact formula but I have some tools and resources that I could recommend. Hub Spot has a blog post generator. You put in three nouns and it gives you some ideas. It could get your creativity going and you would get an idea of what a good hook is. There is another one that I send people to. It takes about 5-15 minutes to go through this but when you are done they will give you a hundred headlines. 75% of which are really good. It is called contentideagenerator.com.
I also think one of my clients did that for one of her speaking titles. It would stand out more because we keep hearing the same things. I wanted her to get new speaking topics. I heard you on one of your trainings where you talked about why having a blog is important.
People think that blogs are just one more thing to do. If your goal is get a lot of media, and as you’ve said, I’ve been in 250 media outlets and have gotten so many sales from it, it is absolutely 100% worth it. But when I am pitching in the media there is 95-99% chance that that journalist is going to come to my website before they reach out to me to make sure that I am an expert in my industry and I can speak about what I’m pitching. If you have blog on that website that has a content on there, it shows them that you, in fact, you know what you are talking about. I try to use a resource. I do try to write in the blogs myself, but sometimes I run out of time.
There are only 24 hours a day so I use a resource called textbroker.com. You basically pay them to write a blog for you. You give them your topic and some bullet points since you obviously know your industry pretty well. They will research it and they will write a blog for you. It is like $15, I go back and tweak it to my voice. They check it for plagiarisms, so nothing is copied. So this is actual “your” content that can be put out there.
Do they do the research for you? If you need a statistics for a given topic.
They can do all of that.
That is fantastic for $15. No excuses for not having blog posts. For blog posts you want to have it in your voice. They can put it in your style and voice. A journalist not only looks for the information but they are also looking for “you” as a thought leader and as an expert that has something different from your competitors.
That’s why I go through it to make it into my voice. That is a lot easier to have the content there and then I just tweak some sentences to sound more like me.
Can you share some stories from beginning to end about some of your clients on how they were trying to get some publicity, how you helped them, and how they got it?
It is all about knowing your media outlet. I have one client who is an entrepreneur who wrote a book called The ADD Entrepreneur. It is about how he built his repair car service into a 20-million dollar business and sold it. He used the traits of ADD to build his business. He could not have long meetings with people because he would always be distracted. It is a great book. It is a great story. We heard that one of the local news anchors have been diagnosed with ADD in her mid forties. So we thought, “What a perfect pitch.” She covered it and she loved it.
Another client who is a product entrepreneur, she lives in Oklahoma, and by doing research we found that one of the morning shows wanted to highlight a home-town hero type of thing. As she manufactures her products in Oklahoma she uses people who can’t get jobs and college students to actually put the product together, and they loved the story. So it is really important to know the media outlet you are trying to get into. Pay attention to what’s on it, who’s on it, and the stories that they like.
Home-town heroes are really underused ones. It is super fabulous for local publicity and it is a really nice way for you to showcase somebody who is a user of your product or service who is the hero versus you. Sometimes people don’t want it to be all about me but what if sometimes it is your customers or clients that have the fantastic experience and something changed because of you. They can get highlighted. It can make them feel good. Journalists love that. There is never a deadline for home-town heroes.
If you are pitching somebody else for that and tie yourself to it that is another thing. We talked about collaborating earlier. The media likes that. Talking about pitching these crazy holidays on non-traditional calendars. I was on for National Healthy Foot Month. I have a lot of clients on national Honesty Day and Kindness Day. There are a lot of things you could pitch in for that. There is bakery in Minnesota. The created a pitch for the National Doughnut Day and talked about the Salvation Army being the reason why we have doughnuts. In World War I, the Salvation Army went to France and brought this fried dough and brought it back to the US. So they collaborated on the story. It’s a win-win. It’s a win for the bakery. It’s a win for the Salvation Army because both were able to get covered about it.
I did not know that.
Do your homework. Look into things that you could spin it into and look for more people who you can bring in into the story. The media likes that. If you can have something like that, it’s very news worthy.
It’s called PR Press Pass. If you go here, that’s one part of it and there are ways to create hooks in there. It has over 125 media contacts which we update it quarterly and you can always have access to everything once you are in there. The people in media move around quite a lot these days. If people buy these in a list, then they become obsolete in a month. If you purchase this, it is constantly updated and you will always have access to it. So you have the most current contacts.
We update the calendar. Yes we put it all together. It really works. It is just a creative way for clients to get ideas that the media love. For National Healthy Foot Month I pitched my local Fox station and the journalist, the anchor loved my product but could not figure it out how to tie it in to what they were doing. This was February and come April it was National Healthy Foot Month she said, “I love that.” The opening cue states that, “Did you know that April is National Foot Month? I did not know either but no matter the weather it is never fun to wear a medical boot.” Then it goes to the story of how I’m a local business person and what I have done. Just be creative and come up with something different.
I love that because most of the people are just focused on the major holidays. Like Valentine’s Day and it is very competitive right? These little days like the National Foot Month is not going to be quite as competitive as Valentine’s Day.
One of my favorite ones that I use in my presentations is a local bakery here in DC. They were on for National Bacon Day because they launched a maple bacon cupcake and they launched it on Bacon Day.
There are all these little days, like, who has heard of National Bacon day? Much as I love bacon I’ve never heard of it. People have created these kinds of days for just about everything. So it is like 365 ways to tie in your product. You could find some of the days that fit into what you are promoting. Right?
I have to say that probably at least five people I have worked with in the last year, we got on for some crazy holiday. We got something coming up this year already.
That is great. How do you keep up with this sort of thing? You got your finger on the pulse of media. Is there any way for other people who can’t afford a publicist keep their finger in the pulse of the media to get free publicity for your new business?
The goal is to stay in front of X number of journalists in your industry. The people that could use you over and over again. I have been on my local Fox station for five times for the same thing which is the medical boot. We just spun a different angle every time. Don’t think that you can’t do it. People will think that a medical boot would be a “one and done” on TV. But we have done it different every time on different segments and different approaches.
I tell people to take a Sunday afternoon, spend a couple of hours putting a plan together for the year. What are twelve evergreen pitches that you could do? Use the non-traditional calendar, use seasonality, anything that is related to your business and find five journalists in your local area, local business publications, trade magazines that would be beneficial if they covered you.
This way you are pitching them once a month. I have interviewed many of them and they say that it is fine as long as you are pitching them a different idea; you don’t want to keep giving them the same idea over and over again. This way you are staying front of mind. Say something does happen like breaking news in your industry then they will remember you and go, “Oh Susan, she’s been sending me something every month. She’s going to know about this, I’m going to reach out to her.” They could even use you as their source. That’s building a relationship.
That’s very smart and doable. People really get overwhelmed when they think about doing free publicity for their new business. They set their sights at the top before doing anything local. I like the idea that you have been on Fox five times for your medical boot. In five different ways. Whether it is your local news or a trade publication. Trade publications could be really powerful.
I am working with a client right now who has a really unique product. If you are a runner or dancer or whatever you are, people often lose their toenail. They have a patented type of Band-Aid that goes around your toe that you can paint and looks just like your toe nail whenever you need to go somewhere important like a wedding or it’s summertime. That’s what we pitched. We pitched it to a magazine called Lower Extremity Review which is read by podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons. The magazine came out two days ago and they already have an order for it. The minute the magazine came out, they saw it in their mail, and they opened it, and placed an order.
[Tweet “Set your PR sights on the local level before trying to tap national TV]
Not just the consumer but obviously someone like a podiatrist would be very interested in something like this.
Just think outside the box. I go on my local NBC station because I actually went backwards. Usually you don’t get started on national television, you start on local television shows. My very first television appearance was on the Steve Harvey Show. When I knew when the show is going to air I went to my local NBC affiliate and I said that a local business is going to be on this and that. The local news would be a great lead-in to that national appearance. It’s a win-win for everybody. They loved it and kept me on. They said bring everything you have and I had 20 decorated medical boots for that segment. It was amazing.
That’s amazing how you are coordinating your local publicity with your national publicity. Your local stations will really love that because they already know it is a big story since it is being booked nationally. They will get a big story just like a national level.
Anything national that you are on make sure that your local station knows about it.
I just want to reiterate what you said about PR being overwhelming when you are trying to get free publicity for your new business. Christina said that you should think about 12 evergreen pitches. Evergreen means that they are good all year round. They are not necessarily tied to something that is super topical. Using the nontraditional ways of looking at the different days, different angles or just being creative in your head, then to get free publicity for your new business find five journalist or five producers, whatever your preference, and pitch once a month. Use that kind of consistency. Pitch something different every month.
If television is your goal, like national television is your goal, you have to be accessible right then and there. That’s what you are doing. If you are going to pitch that way, have your cell phone number on there and answer it. Because if you don’t they are going to the next person.
I remember working on getting a lot of people on Oprah. The philosophy is that who the right person is for the show, is the person who’s available now. You might think that you are hyper-qualified for this that you are the best person. But if you are not available in that moment and they find another person because you did not pick up your phone. They would go with the available person because they are on a tight deadline.
When they chose me to be on the Steve Harvey Show they contacted me that morning then I had to be interviewed by the producers throughout the day on the phone. 9 o’clock that night as I was getting out of a booster meeting at the high school as I was walking out, my cell phone rang and it was from the Chicago area. It was the Steve Harvey Show and they said we would love to have you in the show. They said that they will fly me out the next morning and asked me what is you airport of your choice and the name on your driver’s license. Of course I went. If that is your goal you need to be that accessible person.
It happens more often than you think. It happens to a lot of people. It’s Oprah, it’s Steve Harvey, it’s for a lot of the talk show. These talk shows are ready to go. They want you there. It will be like jumping into a plane the next day or that same day.
I have a, colleague who went to Chicago. She is a regular on the Today Show. They sometimes call her at 5 o’clock and they say that they need her to hop on a plane right now to be on the morning show. Because she has said yes every single time that is probably why she is on once every other month.
Even though she is on regularly they still make her jump at the last minute.
It’s the 24/7 news cycle that we are on. Everything is in the last minute. You just need to be that accessible wonderful resource for your media contact and they will reward you for that.
Your answer should always be “yes” to getting free publicity for your new business. Hopefully you will have someone to help figure out the logistics especially if you have kids in school or you have clients lined up. Hopefully they will understand and you will get it figured out.
The last time I was on Fox was last November. Same thing, they called me about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and said that we need you here for the [9:16] segment in the morning.
Fantastic. What do you have in your jump bag to be ready for the media when you do free publicity for your new business? What do you bring on your media appearances?
Depending on what’s it for. If it’s for CastMedic, then I will have decorated boots that are ready to go in a rolling bag that could contain 15-20 boots. I always have my book ready sometimes for business segments. They love that. They love authors and to say, “Best selling author of [Name of your book].” It is an added credibility not only for you but for them to be using an expert. I have some videos for that on my website.
I would also say that you should know how to do television make-up, that is critical. Local television does not have hair and make-up like they did on the Steve Harvey Show, and I did not know that. So I was down Texas, I was in white shirt and wore my normal make up. I looked horrible, like a ghost. If you want to be this local media expert, make sure that you know what the right colors to wear in terms of clothing. You should not wear patterns on television. Learn how to do your make-up. Have a make-up bag that has TV make-up that is ready to go.
Do you use false eyelashes too? Do you know how to put them on?
Absolutely. I use individual ones. I don’t use the whole strip. I am very lucky that a friend I grew up with has been with Fox News as a make-up artist for 20 years. She taught me a lot on what to do. If this is what you want to do, it is worth making that investment. You can have your make-up done but if it a morning time then it is probably impossible. Go to a MAC store in the mall or hire make-up artists to teach you what to buy and how to put it on. It has to be a heavier make-up. You have to wear a lot of powder and lipstick. Even men. We also have videos about make-up for men. They need to do so as well. They can put a little mascara on their eyelashes and eyebrows.
Powder for no-shine is a must.
We joke about the men’s make-up bag and we tell them what to pack.
I was talking to some stock analysts about make-up. They were all just looking at me. I said, “If you dare, you can even wear a little mascara.” Go to your local favorite make-up counter. Get TV make-up because the powder and the foundation is totally different from the normal make-up. False eyelashes make your eye pop and stand out. The kind of colors that are good for you should be solid. No dangling earrings. Your hair should always be done.
It is nicer when somebody else does it for you. It is really important. Just think about the impression that you are giving. If you look good and professional people are going to hire you and work with you.
You always see you wear great colors. I see you in peach and pink.
Know your colors, know what you look good in.
If you know your colors just like Christina wears the peach and the pink which are great TV colors if you can wear those. Choose colors that would look good in you because they really work well on TV like blues. In your website which is PRforanyone.com and yourPRacademy.com, I love this idea of your PR Press Pass to keep current in that. It makes it so easy because it is current. You said something about spending a lot of money buying lists and then discovering that they are not updated.
I can’t tell you how many times as publicist when I used a database, at that time we were on the phone 24/7. I hated it when there were pauses when I asked for someone and they said, “I am sorry, but he is dead.” I heard that so often. I didn’t ask how long has it had been since he passed away because the data base promised to have been updated every year. I would just then say I’m so sorry and ask if someone else has taken his place.
LinkedIn is just a great resource just to check quickly. My assistant and I use that all the time. Most media people are on LinkedIn, so if you are not sure if that a journalist is still working for that publication you can just check where they are now. But you could just check LinkedIn for who the right contact is.
I actually just did that. I was updating O magazine and one of the editors that I thought was still there was not. She was working for a new magazine. I checked her on LinkedIn profile. You are right and I found where she is currently. So that is a great idea.
Is there anything you want to add about free publicity for your new business that I didn’t ask you? These is all wonderful information. Especially for people who are new, experienced, or those that have been wanting to start in PR who have been holding back for fear or whatever reason or thinking that it is just too much work.
Once you get into a flow it gets very easy. One of the things I would like to recommend wholeheartedly is to Help A Reporter Out. I have goodie boxes from them because apparently I am one of their biggest success stories. I have continued to have success with them. That’s how I got on Steve Harvey Show.
I went on another show, Dr. Oz, because I built a relationship with a producer from a HARO query. Just a couple months ago Forbes did an incredible article for both of my businesses. I saw a sales spike in CastMedic and my book went back up to best seller status.
That can be overwhelming. I get that. Three times a day you get email queries and if it fits, you respond. You need to be quick to respond. There are some things that I figured out though, and I have a free PDF how I do it and my success story.
It is a gift and you can download it at freegiftfromchristina.com. It is a four page PDF that shows you a step by step process of what I do like be timely, be brief, address it to the person if they have their name on there. You just have to cut and paste. If there is a good query that fits your topic and expertise, then answer it. I don’t usually spend a lot of time on HARO — just 5-6 minutes per day.
Helpareporterout.com is great resource. I actually have client who is using it right now. She’s gotten a couple of articles and booked radio appearances which is great free publicity for your new business. Also, she’s gotten in some gift guides. It is great but you have to respond very quickly because it is very competitive. You have to remember to put in your bio.
67% of people who responded did not have contact information in them. If you are going through all the trouble to write the pitch make sure to give your phone number and your email.
That seems so basic but a lot of people forget it. Make sure you put your telephone in there if you want to get free publicity for your new business. So if they decide to pick up the phone and talk to you immediately they can. They may also want to look at you too for TV so put your website and blog URL on there.
Is there anything you wanted to add about how to get free publicity for your new business? So it is helpareporter.com it has free queries. Which means reporters that are working on articles right now are looking for experts to comment or feature whether on an article, radio, TV show, or a blog, or looking for experts. By the way experts are not about how much experience you have but how well you fit for what they are asking and how quickly you can respond to them and if they can use your response.
Exactly. Help A Reporter is very quick and very easy. Just type in your name and email address and you will start getting queries.
Absolutely. So we have a lot of resources and I will be putting the links that we talked about, in the resources section at the bottom of the podcast episode. Christina Daves’ link is prforanyone.com and we will put the other special links in the podcast post as well. So you will be able listen to this and get all these great resources. Thank you so much for all this fantastic information on how to get free publicity for your new business and for your enthusiasm, passion, and excitement for yourself and your clients. You are clear in your advice.
Thank you. It was really fun and I enjoyed it.
About Cristina Daves
Christina Daves is a serial entrepreneur who founded and has run five successful companies over the past twenty years. With no resources remaining, she launched her latest venture CastMedic Designs. Christina has taught herself about generating her own publicity, which basically provided free advertising for her business.
Since you launched that in 2012, you have gotten publicity for your new business in over 250 different media outlets. Including national and local publications. That is a lot of media. Congratulations for that. That is a lot of experience and a lot publicity for your new business. As a result of this Christina launched prforeveryone.com and prforanyone.com to help other small business owners. Together with her clients, Christina has generated seven figures in sales relating to publicity. She is also the author of the bestselling book PR for Anyone 100+Affordable Ways to Easily Create Buzz for your Business.
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