I created a humorous gift item that people can buy online. Who would be best to reach out to help me market my product? I really need PR help with this.
by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space
What you need are two different people:
1) Someone who is really good at getting distribution for all the online and retail outlets that sell your type of product.
2) A great PR person. You are correct in assuming that most of your marketing will come from PR. Marketing a specialty gift product is really hard. Paying for advertising usually isn’t the best return on investment. But a good PR person can get you the attention of the press and bloggers, and that’s exactly what you need.
There are lots of PR firms you can hire, but most of them are quite expensive. $5k and up per month is typical. You can find smaller PR firms and individuals who will work for less, but going below $5k is pretty tough.
Here are some suggestions of where and how to start your search for the right PR person…
1) Look at similar products which have been successful. A lot of times you’ll find the name of the PR firm or person they work with on their website. If it’s not on the website, you can even contact the company and ask to speak to their PR person. Don’t be shy. Just tell them who you are and how impressed you were with their PR effort. Flattery works! Then ask them for advice on how to find a good PR person.
2) Search for press releases going out on Businesswire, PR Newswire and similar services. Find products similar to yours and see who does the PR work for them.
3) Search for PR trade groups in your area and tap into them.
4) Ask everyone you’ve worked with in the past for recommendations on the right PR person for your product.
5) Go to websites that sell similar products and ask them for advice. Tell them about your product and let them know that you are looking for a great PR person. If they are selling lots of similar items, they’ve seen which ones do best and may know whom to contact.
6) Do a case study of similar products that have been successful. Research everything they’ve done and how they caught on.
7) Talk to journalists. They often know who are the best PR people, since they have to deal with them every day. Ask them who would be a good fit for your product.
8) Find bloggers who write about similar products and ask for their advice. Again, they may know the exact PR person you should be talking to.
9) In the process of contacting journalists and bloggers, you may find that you can do your own PR pretty effectively. Lots of bloggers and journalists these days would much rather talk to the founder than a hired gun. So you may discover that you are your own best PR person.
10) Lastly, buy some good books on viral marketing and PR. And if you find a book that really helps, share it with our other founders on our Recommended Books page.
I’ll sum up by saying that good PR is all about story telling. You need to have a story around your product that speaks to people. Bloggers and journalists are looking for compelling stories. These stories usually take two forms: a human story or a trend story. Human stories are usually about the founders and/or the customers and how the product changed their lives. Trend stories are typically about current trends in our society and culture and how a product relates to those trends. If your product taps into a trend, you can position it so that it’s part of a larger story the journalists and bloggers are covering.
Anyhow, a good PR person will help you with all this and get you started. Good luck, and I hope this helps!