From 4 clients to 6 million fans: a case study in what the media can do for you

It was summer 2013 and Samantha Hess was in a dark place. She had just left her husband of 13 years and though she was sure of her decision, she felt a lingering sense of yearning. Of being unfulfilled. Her loneliness was compounded by the lack of satisfaction she felt with her office job at a security firm and she found herself craving a change.

At around this time, she read a story online about how someone set up a stall at a farmer’s market offering “Deluxe Hugs” for $2 to tease a fellow hugger who was giving his away for free. The article talked about how the guy selling hugs had a lot more clients than the one giving them away. And a couple of days later, when Sam read about The Snuggery, the two ideas collided and a lightbulb went off inside her.

She decided that the answer to her sense of both professional and personal unfulfillment was the same: she was going to be a professional cuddler. mediahero

She immediately got to work building a website (something she had NEVER done before) and trying to find legal waivers online that made sense for a professional cuddler. There were none. She cobbled one together from those she found for yoga studios and rock climbing gyms and paid a lawyer to fill in the pieces and make sure everything was kosher.

Then, three weeks into it all, Sam got laid off.

Suddenly, she had no choice but to make Cuddle Up to Me work. She had to find a way to become a professional cuddler and charge $60/hour or she was going to starve.

She got to work printing business cards and flyers and walked around Portland dropping them off at laundromats, studios, cafes, etc. She pinned flyers to telephone poles and hoped.

And waited.

In her first month of business, she got one client. The following month, she had 3. Then a TV station out of Seattle called her. And things began to happen…

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This could be you! (And I can show you how to make it happen)

Last week, I received the kind of email that put a smile on my face that NOTHING could wipe off. It goes to show that using just a few simple tips can radically change the kind of results you can get with your media strategy.

Here’s what Victoria wrote:

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“Last year, we got zero response to our Serve press release and had a few journalists show up the day-of. This year, we were featured in the following media sources, both before, during, and after the event: CBC radio: Daybreak, CBC television, Cult MTL, Global News, The Montreal Gazette, CKUT, Nightlife.CA, CTV, VTV, and 24h. To give you a little perspective on this, this media response was larger than when we re-launched an entire program (our Street Work program) back in October…

I just wanted to share this success with you, and thank you for your pertinent, realistic, applicable, and effective tips! I’m actually about to meet with a co-worker who is working on a press release for a Head & Hands event coming up in a few weeks to share what I learned! Thanks again for helping us re-vamp our approach and get the media coverage we want!!”

– Victoria Pilger, Funding and Partnerships Coordinator, Head & Hands

I want to point out that although I shared some strategy and tips in my 30 minute presentation, Victoria and her team and 100% responsible for those amazing results. They are a tiny, under-funded (but wildly passionate) team and they did it all by themselves.

So let me ask you this: what’s holding you back from getting the kind of media exposure that can put your brand or nonprofit front and centre with your target audience? You don’t need to be a writer or have a degree in media relations. You don’t need a huge budget (Head & Hands certainly didn’t) and you don’t need to be investing hours and hours (like you have to do with social media). It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

If you think you’re ready to make this leap (it’s actually just a small step sideways), I’d love to invite you to my FREE webinar this coming Thursday at noon. Make sure to sign up by because I’m going to do my best to record the event and send it out to those who are on my list.

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Of course, if you show up live, you get to ask me questions and get one-on-one advice. But I get that not everyone can take an hour off at noon. So don’t forget to put in your email and I’ll send you all the registration details.

And one last thing: If you know of an entrepreneur that’s struggling, someone who could really benefit from some media exposure so they can continue to add value to the world, please share this invitation with them. Together, I want us to create a four-way win: small businesses, solopreneurs and nonprofits get the coverage they need, the media get the stories they’re hungry for, I build an audience for my upcoming book and training course and consumers get connected to their local small businesses which keeps resources in the hands of those who most benefit from it.

To our success!

🙂 Geeta

Why you need to be doing your own PR

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I cannot tell a lie. I have worked in the PR industry (most journalists who go freelance eventually do). And my experience was… well, not the happiest. As I’m sure it wasn’t rainbows for some of the clients I took on either. And I want to really give you a raw look at why small business PR is such a dissatisfying mess for both players. And why, having worked as an independent PR professional, I will never hire one myself.

Note: This whole post is very specifically geared towards solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Obviously, if you’re the marketing manager of a large firm with 20 employees and a $15,000/month budget, a PR company can be a fantastic fit for you. But that scenario is not where most of us start (or find ourselves today).

Let’s break it down step by step:

 

 

 

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Are you actually READY for media attention? Use this checklist.

5893445This is a question that every entrepreneur asks themselves a million times on their journey. So take the quiz and find out if you’re ready!

Media exposure can be a huge boost to any business. Doh, right?

When your business is featured on TV or in your local newspaper, people suddenly see you on the same platform as the trusted journalist that they turn to for information every day.

Even if the piece isn’t an actual feature (ie it’s not directly about your company or brand), if you’re interviewed as an expert, people are now more likely to see you as an authority. After all, when the media need specific, in-depth information, you’re the person they chose to ask about it.

Plus, this opens the doors to you bounding up the ladder of credibility I discussed in my previous post.

IF, that is, you’re ready for it. Here’s a checklist of things that will determine your answer to that question. (more…)

The media’s dirty little secret

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I’ll tell you what makes me crazy. It’s when business owners with FABULOUS, inspiring stories think that the media is not interested in them.

“But Geeta,” they’ll say, “I hired a PR wire service to write a press release and/or I paid big bucks for a newspaper ad and no one ever called me back.”

It’s true. It happens. And unfortunately, when you don’t have a clear media strategy and use the “spray and pray” method of writing a generic press release for the wire service, it happens even more.

But here’s the thing about the media that most green business owners would be shocked to learn: They NEED you.

You heard me.

Here’s a direct quote from a TV producer I interviewed recently, “Don’t be discouraged. Just because a news desk has passed over your idea, it’s not a reflection on the merit of your company / non-profit group. Keep pitching your future ideas. And thank you. If it weren’t for people pitching ideas, we wouldn’t have much content.”

Doesn’t this make you feel different about the entire way you approach the media? What if, instead of feeling slimy or aggressive or opportunistic, you could actually PARTNER with the media to gain visibility. What if you could tell your story in a way that is HELPFUL to the media (which makes producers want to book you over and over)?

It’s possible. Here’s how… (more…)