Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Melissa Cassera, a PR expert who works with savvy, female business owners to help build, grow and market their creative businesses. For more than 10 years, Melissa has helped biz ladies carve their own neich and promote their own expertise through one-on-one consultations, workshops, and, most recently, an e-book guide. Today she offers us some of her techniques for leveraging press coverage into actual sales. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your insights with us! —Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump…
Getting upgraded to first class + scoring a free night at a luxury hotel (room service included).
Coming home to a bouquet of stargazer lilies from a mysterious admirer.
Discovering that root beer floats have anti-aging antioxidants.
Yeah — getting your first piece of major press coverage feels kinda like that. Whether it’s a coveted spot in a national magazine, a guest post on a big-time blog, or a 15-second sound bite on a hot morning talk show, press coverage can bring boatloads of credibility and recognition to your business. But for many entrepreneurs, that initial bubble of euphoria bursts pretty quickly. Because big-time press does not always translate into big-time sales. And no amount of root beer floatation makes that feel any better.
Fortunately, all is not lost. As a publicist + business strategist, I’ve walked (literally) thousands of entrepreneurs through a few simple techniques that can help you turn media attention into cash — not just clout.
The secret? It’s all about leveraging your newfound fame to help on-the-fence customers make up their minds — not just waiting for orders + inquiries to (magically) come pouring in.
Here are three ways to leverage press like a pro:
Tip #1. Use press as a “happy excuse” to follow up with your “maybe” customers.
Sell products? How many times have you pitched a retail account, gotten some interest, and then never received an order?
Offer a service? I bet you get inquiries all the time from eager would-be customers … who never follow through and actually hire you.
The good news? Press coverage can be just what you need to take prospective customers from “call me, maybe” to “let’s start NOW!”
Here are two tweak-able scripts to make it happen:
For a product-focused business:
Dear [name of wonderful shop owner],
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful [season!]
When we last connected, you expressed interest in purchasing [product name] for [their shop.] A bit of exciting news: [product name] has recently been featured in [media outlet], and it’s looking like we’ll also be featured in [another media outlet] in just a few weeks.
We’re expecting a flurry of interest in [product name] from this press placement, so I thought I’d swing back to you to see if you’d be interested in placing an order for [product name].
I’d be happy to send a copy of the [press coverage] along with your order, ready to hang on the wall in an artsy frame — so your customers can see the [name of media outlet] endorsement up close + personal. :)
If this sounds like a “definitely yes,” email or contact me at [phone] and we’ll get your order packed + shipped, pronto.
Thank you for your consideration,
For a service-based business:
Dear [name of brilliant-but-indecisive customer],
I’ve been reveling in your work — especially that [mention something specific they’ve done, recently: a blog post, product launch or collaboration]. I just adore what you’ve been up to, lately.
It’s been a few weeks since our last back ‘n forth, and I thought I’d swing back and re-open our conversation on jamming together.
I was recently featured in [media outlet] talking about [topic], and I know you mentioned this was something you wanted to learn more about. Here’s the [name + link to press coverage] if you want to [read/watch/listen] over your morning java. :)
I’d love to gift you 15 minutes of “pick my brain” time this week and explore how we can work together to [describe the benefit of working with you]. What day + time works for you?
Tip #2. Plop press coverage wherever “buying decisions” are made.
Everyone’s done it: you prowl around a website, load up your shopping cart, get to that final checkout screen, and then suddenly decide … naw. Never mind. Control-Q + bye-bye!
By placing press coverage right at that final checkout stage — the “buying decision” moment — you can help tilt fickle customers towards an enthusiastic YES.
For example: if you sell handmade notebooks and one of your notebooks was featured in Real Simple magazine, spotlight that press mention right next to the “BUY” button. Could be as easy as writing “As seen in Real Simple magazine” in the product description.
If you’re selling a service — like a consulting package — you can spotlight your most recognizable press coverage right in your service description. Nothing complicated: just include a line like “My advice has been featured in Glamour, Elle and The Huffington Post.” (Even smaller, lesser-known publications can still do the trick.)
Tip #3. Don’t just share your press coverage — share the back story.
Imagine finding out that your favorite local hair salon got written up in a national magazine. You’re genuinely happy for them! But it doesn’t exactly alter the course of your day.
Now imagine finding out that your favorite local hair salon got written up in a national magazine — and thanks to a tell-all, behind-the-scenes blog post, you get an inspiring tour of how it happened, who was at the photo shoot, and just how ECSTATIC the salon owner was when the media rolled up for the interview.
Now you’re not just mildly interested — you’re emotionally invested. You’re so proud! And you can’t wait to book your next blow-out to congratulate the salon owner, in person. Done + done.
Facts tell, but stories sell — and everyone loves a great behind-the-scenes story.
Instead of simply “announcing” a piece of press coverage to your audience, share a few juicy details about how it happened — how did you make contact with that media, or did they contact you? What was it like to be interviewed on-camera? Did you feel nervous? Excited? Eerily calm? What happened afterwards? How did you celebrate?
Your customers l-o-v-e living vicariously through you — and even if you don’t think your life is particularly glamorous, it doesn’t matter. Other people’s success is always fascinating when you lift back the curtain + reveal how it happened.
To seal it up:
Remember: press doesn’t automatically equal an avalanche of mad money — unless you take the initiative to turn that coverage into cash.
Choose one (or all!) of the methods we just rolled through, and watch what happens. (I predict a lot more glossy magazine features — and fierce revenue — in your future.)