10 Ways To Get More Buzz For Your Business

Damon Schechter

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Do you really need a PR firm to get your product or service noticed by the press? Maybe not. If you are willing to spend a little time developing your story and business relationships, you may be your own best option.

My company, Shipwire, works with a lot of up-and-coming product companies and as I recently did a customer tour, it became obvious that some of our customers have built incredible buzz for their products and services.

The following are 10 suggestions for getting buzz on your own:

1.Tell your story, the whole story

Don’t hide how you developed your product or the trials and tribulations experienced during the creation process. The press and bloggers love those stories, so share them! Just look how the founders of Kickstarter turnedtheir storyinto great press.

2.Target your media outreach

Decide what customer you’re trying to reach and work from there. What do they read? How do they engage? Then choose 5-10 channels and focus on getting your story in those outlets. (Keep in mind top mainstream reporters are bombarded with pitches more often than niche or trade outlets). Don’t act like the guy standing on the corner pitching his product to everybody who passes by. Instead, be smart and tactful: make a list of the few influential people with whom you want a relationship and then determine how to personalize your approach and develop an angle that is most useful to them.

3.Think like a reporter

Why does this product matter? What problem is it solving? What’s the story behind it? And why do my readers care? These are the questions that matter most to the media when they are considering covering a product. Help them to quickly understand why your product is unique versus the competition, and how it impacts the lives of your customers. If you can tie your product and/or story into a bigger trend, you’re more likely to capture the interest of reporters.

4. Less is more

Writers are busy people too. When you start out, you may just be trying to start a conversation with them. And it’s good to treat them like people, not speed bumps to go over. Consider that one good relationship will pay dividends for years. So approach them like a person, or better yet a future friend.

However, before you spend hours crafting e-mails, remember less is more. Keep e-mails and voicemails short and to the point. Make sure they can get everything they need in less time.

5.Bait your hook

A hook is the sound-bite of your idea. It is the most interesting way you could frame your idea in the fewest amount of words. It needs to be interesting but brief, especially since you may be communicating to them via Twitter or Facebook. Even in a format that offers longer messages, like e-mail, it’s better to get the point quickly. If you bury your hook at the bottom, you’re more likely to lose them.

6.Be polite

If a writer recently wrote about a comparable product and you want to be noticed on the same blog, don’t write a diatribe about why your product should have been included. Use your comment like an introduction and nicely add why you think your product is relevant. Say your piece and hope they cover you the next time. Leave an e-mail address, so they can reach out if they want. You just may get a relationship with the writer.

7.If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures

Show people how to use your product; persuade your early adopters to submit videos of themselves using it. Then post these videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Add links for where to find—and buy—your products.

8.Let your customers tell their stories

Letting your customers share their experiences helps you to not only get useful testimonials, but also to turn these customers into evangelists who promote your product for you. When we started Shipwire we found that press people didn’t want to talk about us specifically, they wanted to talk about our customers growing their businesses. So we adjusted. Now we lead with our customer stories, with a minor mention of Shipwire. Our customers love it, and the press gets real stories about real business owners.

9.Start yesterday...

The people you’re trying to reach are busy, and they get more e-mail than they know what to do with. So it’s better to start early and build relationships now. You may get politely rejected a few times or over a few months before they realize you have a great product or idea.

10.Package your story (not just product)

You want to make it easy for the press to cover you and find the most relevant information, as well as recent coverage or announcements. Make sure your website has a place for press and bloggers to quickly get access to the following info:

  • The basics: company, product and mission statement (think elevator pitch)
  • Customer quotes and related links
  • Bios and headshot for the founders and executive team
  • Product specifications and images
  • Contact info for press inquiries and sample requests
  • Your Twitter handle and Facebook pages
  • Recent press releases or product announcements
  • Links to recent press coverage
  • Company logo

Do even half of this, and you should be able to create a lot of buzz on your own. If you then end up interviewing a PR firm, make sure they come up with even more creative programs.

Article courtesy of OPEN Forum

About Damon Schechter

Damon Schechter is the Founder and CEO of Shipwire an e-commerce product fulfillment service. Shipwire offers growing businesses instant access to outsourced storage and shipping services globally.