5 Ways One Media Placement Led to 1,600 Customers

 

Before I tell you how one media placement led to 1,600 customers for a business, I want to remind you that public relations is not sales. It’s marketing. The sales come afterward.

I don’t like it when people rely on media placements to get sales. Can it happen and does it happen often? Yes. But it’s not sales. It’s marketing… and sales are a side effect of getting attention in the media.

One Media Placement Led to 1,600 Customers

In SparkToro, Amanda Natividad told a story about her time at NatureBox, a snack food brand.

Break your goals down.

She broke down her earned media goals into two buckets – long-term and short-term. One focus was on building a reputation and the other was to try to sell the product.

To build the brand reputation, she focused on trade outlets and mainstream outlets.

To get infront of potential customers, she focused on getting media attention in niche outlets and getting positive reviews for the product

Build your media list one by one. 

I also think it’s important to mention that she did not build a media list with expensive software. 

Instead, she read a lot of articles by food writers and went to Twitter to follow a lot of journalists who may be interested. She took this information back to her CRM and added notes while she worked her new contacts.

Pay attention to who your audience is.

Also part of her job was seeing what people were saying in the comment section of the brand’s social media… and one group of people stuck out to her – the hacker and gaming communities. She realized this after doing some research, AKA internet stalking.

These people were commenting things like, “I’d eat these if you sent these to me.”

Pitch one journalist or writer at a time.

So, Amanda got the idea to see what kind of media outlets hackers and gamers were into. She found a gaming site and tracked down a guy who wrote for the site on Twitter, send him a box of snacks, and hoped for the best. 

It worked. A writer there wrote a review. They were able to track hundreds of orders from that review.

Then, she went to Lifehacker next. The audience seemed like a fit and they’ve reviewed the food brands competition before. So, she sent them snacks and an article was written. It shared more about how the brand automates keeping you healthy by sending you snacks on demand.

Keep track of what happens after the media is earned.

In the next four months, 1,600 customers were tracked from that article.

I love this story for a few reasons and you can replicate what Amanda did by focusing on what she did that worked well.

First, they were ready for conversions. When you’re ready, do this… and in this order.

  1. Break your goals down (long-term vs. short-term and brand vs. sales)

  2. Pay attention to who your audience is.

  3. Build your media list one by one. 

  4. Pitch one journalist or writer at a time.

  5. Keep track of what happens after the media is earned.

Hello. Welcome to Become a Media Maven. I am your host, Christina Nicholson, and in this episode, I’m going to tell you how one media placement led to 1,600 customers for a brand. 

 

But before I get to that, I want to remind you that Public Relations is not sales. It is marketing. And the sales come after the marketing. I don’t like it when people rely on media placements to get sales. Can it happen and does it happen? Yes, many times.

 

But it’s not sales. It is marketing. Sales are a side effect of getting attention in the media. I just got a message sent to me on LinkedIn from somebody who was talking about her friend’s business. I think she made handbags and she was saying — look, she’s just about ready to close her business down. She needs all the help she can get. Can you share contacts for some of your media outlets so she can try to get coverage? 

 

First of all, that’s not how this works. You don’t ask the owner of a PR agency to share their contacts. Even if I gave you my contacts, if your pitch sucks, it’s not going to land. And two, that’s just not how this works. 

 

But the big point here that I want to make is if you are desperate for sales, you don’t try to get media coverage as a way to save your business. That is marketing. It is not sales. If you want to make sales, you need to ask somebody to buy something. That is sales. Getting attention is marketing. There is a difference.

 

And it drives me a little crazy when I see people with their job openings or their titles, and it’s always marketing and sales or sales and marketing. And I’m like, well, which one is it? Because there’s a big difference between the two and you can’t be doing both of those things and everything under both of those umbrellas because that’s a ridiculous amount of work. So I just wanted to make that distinction. 

 

Now, getting into this story… There is somebody that I follow on Twitter who is fabulous. Her name is Amanda Natividad. I hope I’m saying that right. I love her last name because it makes me think of Feliz Navidad. But it’s Natividad.

 

And she works for SparkToro, but has built an amazing personal brand. And in SparkToro, she told a story about her time before she worked for SparkToro. She was working for a company named NatureBox. It’s a snack food brand. And she broke down her earned media goals when she worked there in two buckets. 

 

One was long-term media goals and the other one was short-term. Then when she was pitching, one of her focuses was on building the brand’s reputation and then the other focus was on ways to try to sell the product.

 

So one was — let’s build the reputation. Let’s get awareness out there for the brand. And the other one was — let’s see where we can get this brand directly in front of the consumer, where they’re likely to click and go back to our website. Okay? Two different goals. 

 

So to build the brand reputation, she was focusing on trade outlets and mainstream media outlets. And then to get in front of those potential customers, she focused on getting media attention and niche outlets and getting positive reviews for the product. 

 

And I also think it’s very important to mention that she did not build a media list by using expensive software. You can invest in Cision, in MuckRack, in Meltwater… there are all kinds, but she didn’t use that.

 

And you don’t have to either, because I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast don’t have thousands of dollars a year to subscribe to this. And you can make meaningful sales from that publicity that you earn without a media list. So instead, she consumed a lot of content. She read a lot of articles by food writers, and then she went to Twitter. 

 

I’m always telling you guys to go to Twitter. She went to Twitter and followed a lot of journalists who would potentially be interested in this snack food product. She took this information back to her CRM, and then she added notes while she worked her new contacts. 

 

So in my mind, I’m envisioning this as a spreadsheet. Like, that’s my CRM. It’s very basic, but it works for me. And I have a little notes tab in the spreadsheet. And it’s like this person, I talk a lot on Twitter or this person’s ignoring me. Here’s a link to this person’s blog post, whatever. That’s what I envision. 

 

And then part of her job was also seeing what people were saying in the comment section of the brand’s social media. This is where things changed for her.

 

A lot of people ignore the “customer service” part of social media because it’s a lot like it’s a 24/7 job to check those notifications and see what people are saying and then click back to those people and learn about those people. But this was the starting point for her and how this all unfolded. 

 

So, one group of people stuck out to her that she kept seeing over and over and over again. And after she did a little research, aka Internet stalking, we all do it, she realized that a lot of these comments, and they were positive comments, people were saying like — oh, I’d eat these if you sent them to me. What? These are healthy. And they’re things like that. They were coming from the hacker and gaming community. 

 

So, people who are into life hacks and then gaming, they’re sitting, playing their video games, maybe streaming stuff on YouTube. They just want these snacks delivered to them. So she obviously finds this out by doing a little Internet stalking on who’s commenting these positive things on social media. 

 

So based on that, she was like — oh, maybe these snacks have this audience I never knew about or even thought of. So she was like — let’s see what kind of media outlets these hackers and gamers are into. So she found a gaming site and tracked down a guy who wrote for the site on Twitter. Again. Twitter people. Okay?

 

And then she sent him a box of these snacks, and she hoped for the best. Probably sent a nice little note about it, probably sent some contact information, all of the things you do when you send products to somebody. And guess what? It worked.

 

A writer at this gaming website wrote a review, and from that review, they were able to track hundreds of orders. Now, this is the good thing about online coverage. If you are somebody who likes to dabble in Google and SEO, you can hop into your analytics and you can see where your traffic is coming from. So that is how they know that that review was a direct start to those hundreds of orders being placed. 

 

Then she went to LifeHacker next. And this audience, again, remember, they seemed like a fit, and they’ve reviewed different foods before, some foods and brands that could be considered competitors of the one that she represented. So again, she sent them snacks, and an article was written and it shared about how the brand automates keeping you healthy by sending you snacks on demand, kind of like a subscription service like the Dollar Shave Club and all of that. 

 

So again, that’s a life hack. You’re saving time and saving money by getting these things delivered to you and subscribing. Okay? That life hack written about in LifeHacker, which was also a form of a review… in the next four months, 1,600 customers were tracked from that article. 

 

Again, remember, this is happening in Google Analytics. You can see this stuff. I’m not sure when Amanda did this. It was obviously before she worked at SparkToro because she worked for NatureBox at the time. 

 

But I do want to let you know that if you have a food brand, and we just started repping one at Media Maven, and before we brought her on, I had to make sure she had some kind of affiliate program because this is something big. 

 

In the past few years, if you do not have some kind of affiliate program for your product on the Internet, you will not get coverage. Because this is how a lot of these sites are making money. One by traffic, two by ads, three by affiliates. So nine times out of ten, probably more than that. 9.9 times out of ten if you have a product and it’s not on Amazon or you don’t have ShareASale or Skimlinks or something like that set up to where somebody who writes about you can get a kickback when they link back to your product and somebody buys it, you’re not going to get coverage. So if you have a product, keep that in mind. That’s another podcast for another day. 

 

But I love this story for a few reasons, and I want to share a couple of things, five things, to be exact, on how you can replicate what Amanda did by focusing on what she did that worked so well. 

 

And I also just want to leave this little bonus tip before I get into the main five. This brand was ready for conversions. They had a link. Maybe it was an affiliate link, maybe not. Don’t know those details. Amanda, if you’re listening, let me know. 

 

But they had a link to send people who wanted to know more. When people got to that destination, it was easy for them to buy. There are so many people and so many brands and so many businesses who want coverage. But I’m always like, okay, you want coverage, but what’s the end goal? Like, why do you want this coverage in this place? 

 

And as you heard, Amanda was very clear on her goals. One was to build the brand’s reputation. The other one was to translate to sales in front of potential customers. So this was obviously one of those goals where we’re getting in front of those consumers who can click and buy. So they knew they had to make it easy for people to buy. Once they clicked, they were ready for conversions. Okay? So keep that in mind. 

 

But now I’m going to break down five ways that you can replicate what Amanda did here. Number one. I want you to break down your goals. Look at long-term versus short-term. And if you don’t know what’s long-term and what’s short term reach out, let me know. 

 

I can do a whole episode on this. I can write something in my newsletter for you on this. And you have to remember things like Oprah, when she does her favorite things… like, that is done by now. By this point, like end of July, she is done with her list of favorite things. That would be a long-term thing. Okay?

 

Short-term would be something online. Most things online are short-term just because the space is unlimited, and we can quickly type something and get it up there. Okay? And then you also want to look at what the end goal is, why you want the coverage. Please do not say you want the coverage to look cool or you think if you’re seen here, it’ll build your business. Let’s get more specific than that. 

 

You can build your personal brand. You can build the business brand, the company brand, the product brand. You can try to get sales. You can try to build your email list. You can try to get people to walk into your local brick-and-mortar. You have to be very specific on the goal that you want, because if you’re not, you’re kind of doing this for no specific reason. It’s like throwing a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and hoping a few things stick. So get specific on your goals and break them down. 

 

Number two, pay attention to who your audience is. This sounds like an obvious thing, but as you can see, she had this untapped audience that she didn’t even know existed and would not have known existed if she did not click and check up on those people leaving social media comments.

 

So when people are commenting, go back and look at their profile. Nothing on the Internet is a secret. People are pretty damn open about things on the Internet. 

 

And before I get to point number three, I just want to quickly shout out Dave Wakeman. He left me a review on Become a Media Maven in Apple. He said he listens to every episode. Shout out Dave! “For a business podcast, this is one of the most useful and informative ones I’ve found in a long time. Christina does a great job of making the episodes actionable and informative.” Thank you so much, Dave. I hope you’re on my email list, because I have more stuff coming every Thursday for you. 

 

Okay. Number three — build your media list one by one. So many people think they’re at a disadvantage because they can’t afford or don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for the software. I get it. I don’t want to either. 

 

And there are times in my business where I don’t because building a list one by one is more helpful because you’re more thoughtful about it. And when you’re more thoughtful about it, you’re more thoughtful when you pitch them. Do what Amanda did — read articles, follow people on Twitter. Yes, it’s time-consuming. That’s why it costs a lot of money to hire a PR agency because if they’re doing things the right way, they’re doing things like this. 

 

And this leads me to number four. That’s why I’m going to breeze by number three. You want to pitch one journalist or writer at a time.

 

Again, I’ve told you many stories about when I was in the TV newsroom it was so obvious that I was one of 500 people getting the same email at the same time. 

 

The ones that stood out were the ones where my name and my email were the only ones in the subject line. My name was the only one in the body. Something was said that was super specific to me or what I covered. It was just very obvious that it was a thoughtful pitch and I was the only one receiving it. This is why it’s beneficial for you to pitch your media list one by one. 

 

I mean, I almost think you should get your spreadsheet out, whatever you’re using. If it’s not a spreadsheet, Asana, Trello, Monday, whatever… and always keep that window open. I don’t know if you’re crazy like me and you treat your open windows on your laptop as a list of your things to do, but I kind of do that. I will always leave it open. 

 

And when I hear a podcast or I see something on Twitter or I read an article and I’m like — oh, my gosh, that person would be perfect. I’m just going to link to whatever it is I’m seeing in my spreadsheet, and I’m going to write their name there, and maybe I’ll block off time later that week to go through and get the contact information. 

 

That is how you should be building a media list, honestly. Not through the software like that, because that makes it easier. When you pitch that journalist or that editor or that booker or that podcast host, you have something super specific to share with them, and it’s just easier to pitch them one at a time when you build your list one at a time. 

 

And finally, number five — keep track of what happens after the media is earned. So many people think it just ends when the publicity is earned. Like, oh, we got it. We’re done. We don’t have to do anything. 

 

One, there’s a lot to do. Check out episode 40 for 35 things that you should do after you earn media exposure. But two, what’s working and what’s not? That’s when it’s good to look at your Google Analytics to see who’s clicking over, see what’s happening. Is your email list growing? Are your Instagram followers growing? Are you getting more orders? 

 

And some of this stuff is hard to track. Like, this is the biggest problem with PR is a lot of it’s hard to track just because it’s a very word-of-mouth referral sort of thing. And that stuff, just by nature, is hard to track. But when you have a backlink in a very popular website and for four months after that backlinks is placed, you have a surge of orders, that’s pretty easy to track. Sometimes these things can happen. 

 

I had a client on the Today show, and for the next few days, they had an influx of orders. Well, that’s because a lot of people saw them on the Today Show.

 

We can make that assumption because we know what media is being earned, where it’s being earned, who the audience is, and what’s happening right after. But a lot of this stuff, too, sometimes it’s slow to grow. It’s a marathon. You’re taking little steps at a time to reach that mile marker. So try to keep track as best as you can so you know what works and what doesn’t. 

 

I will leave a link to this story that Amanda wrote in SparkToro. I saw it, I thought it was too good not to share with you, and then also share those five ways that you can do what she did to replicate this in your business.

 

Just like I told Dave. Thank you, Dave, for leaving that rating and review on Apple podcasts. You can do that too. I will shout you out on an episode. Please do so. 

 

And then don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, MediaMavenAndMore.com/newsletter. That is where you can hear more stories like this and get more strategies on how you can get more exposure without advertising. Okay? I’m sharing different things there than I am here on the podcast. Lots of content created being over here and I think you would really benefit from consuming it.

 

So head over there, subscribe to the newsletter while you’re at it, and thank you for listening to this podcast. Please share it with a friend or a colleague if you think they will benefit from it. And I will see you again here next week on Become a Media Maven.