Who’s your target market?
It might seem like an obvious question. But many entrepreneurs and companies struggle to get their message across and find customers. Why? Because they haven’t really defined who that target audience is, what they need, where they go for information, and what will motivate them to choose a particular product or service over another.
In this episode of Process Makes Perfect, Adrian Salamunovic, who literally wrote the book on how to get free PR for any company – regardless of size or budget – walks us through the process of creating user personas and building a profitable PR strategy.
Yes, for free.
Know Thy Customer
Before you can target your customer through the media, you have to know who that customer is.
According to Adrian, who has bootstrapped several companies to eight-figure sales without venture capital:
“One of the first things that we do both in our PR Bootcamp and in the book is really asking people who’re your target market?
If you don’t already have user personas, I highly recommend that’s where you start. It’s really understanding fundamentally who your client is, where he or she goes to read information, what influencers they follow, so on and so forth.
The more you understand about your audience, the more you know where they go to get info, and where they go to get info is where you want to be so can you work backward from the customer up.”
Once you’ve locked down your user personas, it’s a matter of following a digital trail of breadcrumbs to the media outlets they prefer.
The $50,000 Wired Article
How much would you be willing to pay a PR professional for a single media placement in a publication like Wired?
Like many entrepreneurs, Adrian initially invested thousands of dollars for professional PR services with little to no results to show for his investment.
While hiring an agency or an in-house PR person might become necessary as you scale, you don’t have to have a big budget or a contact at The New York Times to get into the paper, as Adrian points out.
A single targeted, well-crafted pitch to the right editor or writer can get you mentioned in a major publication – and the visibility, credibility, traffic, and sales that come along with it.
That’s the approach that Adrian took with DNA 11, one of his niche companies that created unique art from a person’s DNA.
After a little research, Adrian realized that Wired had the perfect audience for a product like DNA 11. A little more research helped him find the right section and writer to pitch, and the result was a story that generated over $40,000 in sales. No ads, no professional PR services.
Finding the best media outlets to pitch for your products isn’t rocket science, but it does require a process (as all good things do).
How to Get Free Media Mentions
Once you know who your users are, and where they’re getting their information, you can determine what publications, websites, and media outlets to pitch.
Adrian includes a template for crafting professional pitches in his book. But most journalists and editors can be reached through Twitter and their professional bios -which usually include an email address – is the best way to pitch them.
See what’s trending to get some ideas, and take a cue from what Adrian refers to as “look-alike” companies. These aren’t your direct competitors, but companies that operate in a similar space or offer a complementary product or service.
If someone is writing about them, chances are they will be interested in writing about you too.
Leverage Free PR Across Your Organization
A story in a major publication or media outlet is valuable enough on its own. But Adrian recommends leveraging your earned media even further by creating a featured blog post on your site to capitalize on the traffic and keep the momentum going well after the news cycle has moved on.
Ultimately, no one will be as passionate about or tell your story as well as you can. Get creative, and think big. As Adrian points out, your company doesn’t have to be revolutionary; it all comes down to how you tell your story.