January 24, 2010
Be Heard, Seattle Chocolate Company
I’ve decided to celebrate memorable sound bites I read in the media as a way to draw a distinction between “boilerplate” comments and “really great” comments.
For example, this one — ”Skittles. It’s What’s for Dinner” — is one that captured my attention in an article about the proposed new candy tax. Being a huge fan of premium chocolate, this article certainly earned my interest.
There is a “boilerplate” way to make a point, and there is a “really great” and memorable way to make a point. A sassy sound bite is a “really great” way to get the job done. “Skittles. It’s What’s for Dinner” is a memorable way one side of this argument for the candy tax made his point.
Seattle Chocolate Company CEO Jean Thomspon, on the other hand, said the candy tax is bad for her business. Plus, chocolate is actually healthy and has more anti-oxidants than blueberries, she said. “It actually is a food,” Thompson said, “And it’s an important part of people’s mental health when there are not a lot of luxuries available to them.”
Am I in favor of the candy tax? Absolutely not. But sassy sound bites like these sure are bound to get a lot of people talking. And that is a big part of using the power of publicity to share your message far and wide.
Authentic Visibility Question of the Day: Where do YOU stand on the proposed candy tax? Premium chocolate lovers such as myself would love to know. Let me hear from you!
August 2, 2009
Seattle Chocolate Company
Seattle Chocolate Company CEO Jean Thompson with Seattle Sounders Bars
Seattle Chocolate Company Owner and CEO Jean Thompson looks fabulous wrapped in a Seattle Sounders scarf as she shows off her company’s new chocolate bars that highlight a new licencing agreement with the hottest soccer team on Earth in this front page business story in the Puget Sound Business Journal. The photo was taken by Stephen Brashear.
This newspaper has an ongoing series called “Counter Currents” that shines a light on companies that are doing well despite the challenging economic circumstances. Thompson saw opportunity to bring custom label chocolate bars to the fans of the Seattle Sounders and acted upon her inspiration, resulting in a big splash among soccer fans in the stadium and this weekly business journal that reaches thousands of business decision makers every week. An even bolder marketplace impact will result as distribution for these delicious, fabulously packaged bars extends beyond Qwest Field.
DIY Publicity Tip: Is your business doing well, despite the demands of the current economy? What actions have you taken to bring about these results? And what lessons have you learned from which others can profit? Put your story together for the business journal reporter in your trading area and see what media magic you can manifest for your delicious news.
July 22, 2009
Media Savvy 101, PR Beyond the Backyard, Seattle Chocolate Company
I love ProfNet. The media queries come to my in-box. I reply to those that are a fit for my commentary. And media results flow. This time, my own name and company name got the ink in the Washington Post and well beyond, thanks to a story by a reporter for the Associated Press.
The media query was seeking people to comment on the adjustments to be made when managing kids and pets, while running a business from home. Here is how I replied:
I started my boutique PR and DIY publicity training and tools company in February of 2001 during one of the toughest recessions on record in the USA. Because of the recession, the PR firm I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, we were working with a lot of high tech companies that failed when the dot.com bubble burst. Undaunted, I put out my shingle in pursuit of clients in the “comfort and joy” space, including Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates Ltd., Olympic Hot Tub Company, Affirmagy, and Seattle Chocolate Company. When folks aren’t buying high technology, they are most certainly comforting themselves with premium chocolates hot tubs, affirmation blankets, and the like. Business is still going strong, almost nine years later, as we face a recession even more daunting than the last one. There have been powerful lessons learned along the way.
* You have to build a “dream team” of players that includes someone to support your information technology (IT) needs, a webmaster to manage website issues that require expertise you don’t have, a lawyer to set up your business properly, a bookkeeper to keep track of the money, and a CPA to make sure you are doing the right things consistently.
* Working alone can be isolating. It’s important to join a professional networking organization or trade group so you can connect with other like-minded professionals, access quality referrals to clients and service providers, and have your pulse on the marketplace so you can invite the right opportunities to serve and contribute. It’s also important to apply discipline and focus to your goals every day because your success or failure rests squarely on your own shoulders.
* If you’ve worked in a corporate office for any length of time, you have to get used to the fact that there isn’t anyone waiting to take your calls for help. You have to learn to do a whole lot of things on a DIY basis, and that can be daunting at times. Be patient with yourself, stay with it, and be sure to keep your eye on the revenue generating ball at all times.
* Never tell a client you have childcare issues to contend with. Rather, offer several windows of availability to meet by phone or in person, without offering detailed explanations about why. Clients want their work done in a winning way on the timetable that suits their needs. As long as you meet their needs in a timely manner with quality leading the way, you and your clients will be well served.
* If the dog barks, simply laugh and say that having your golden retriever by your side is one of the benefits of working independently.
* The buck starts and stops with you. That means you have to evaluate every expenditure carefully, being mindful that earning return on that investment is a priority as a result of the impact you create in the marketplace with whatever it is you are bringing to market.
Most businesses fail within five years, Michael Gerber – author of the E-Myth Revisited — has written. Most people “Escape from Cubicle Nation” — with credit to Pam Slim — with hopes that they can specialize on their genius. What many soon find is that running the business is equally as important as exercising the genius. One without the other isn’t good enough. Almost nine years later, I am still running a profitable, home-based business that serves clients in my own backyard … and beyond. I’ve learned to work on and in my business, and there are still new lessons to learn every day. If I can be of more help to the story you have brewing, it would be my pleasure. You can learn more about me and my company at authenticvisibility.com.
My telephone number appeared in the signature line of my email. A day or two later, the reporter called me. We had a nice chat, and some of my comments earned a place in her story.
For this business owner who would very much like to welcome awareness about Authentic Visibility among publicity-seeking business owners well beyond my own Bellevue, WA backyard, this is a very good thing.
Study the pitch above to see how it addressed the needs of the query at hand, and then start responding to HARO, PR Leads, or ProfNet queries following a similar recipe. The next thing you know it, your comments will traveling beyond your own backyard through the power of free publicity. People will check your website to learn more about you, and wonderful new opportunities will be yours to make the most of.
May 19, 2009
Event Promotion, product publicity, Seattle Chocolate Company
I’d have to say my subscription to Gift List Media last year was one of the key contributors to the fabulous national media placements I earned for Seattle Chocolate Company in 2008. And the best of all of them was none other than O The Oprah Magazine for October. I even explain how I did this in a video, which you can view right here: Chocolates and O Magazine
Many of these placements resulted from me seeking out the perfect product placement opportunities and sharing them with the editorial decision makers I learned about while using my Gift List Media subscription. There is nothing quite as credibility-building as earning Oprah’s attention, and many business owners have attributed millions of dollars in sales from media placements just like this.
My colleague, public relations specialist Margie Zable Fisher, of Zable Fisher Public Relations, would like to help you do that — quickly, easily, and most importantly, inexpensively.
Now most people don’t wake up one day, make a call, and get their products in O Magazine, or Good Housekeeping, or Woman’s World. But after years of doing this, and getting thousands of publicity placements for her clients, Margie Zable Fisher has learned some pitching secrets and tips, to help you make that happen.
Of course she knew you’d also love to hear from actual Magazine Editors from top media outlets, so she asked some to participate on this call.
Announcing her New Teleseminar:
TOMORROW – Live, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 – 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern Time
Ready to sign up now? Sign up here.
Margie put this teleseminar together in May because that’s when she starts her big push for fourth quarter holiday gift guide placements, since many top media outlets have a six or seven-month lead time for gift guide submissions. But here’s what you may not know. These same Magazine Editors are responsible for product publicity throughout the year, as well as fourth quarter holiday gift guides.
You will learn:
• What types of products top magazines are looking to feature
• What to include in a pitch to get the attention of top Magazine Editors
• How to find the right media contacts to pitch your product to
• The five pieces of information you must include in your pitch to make it successful
• Examples of successful product placements – and why they got in
• And much more!
Questions and Answers:
Q. I Can’t Attend Live – Can I Get It as an Audio Download with Electronic Transcript?
A. Yes, you will get the Audio Download and Electronic Transcript if you sign up before the May 20 live teleseminar, but she may not be offering it after that.
Q: Is there a money-back guarantee?
A: Yes. You can use this information for thirty days, and if you don’t see the value, just let Margie know, and she’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
So, while this teleseminar can be worth thousands of dollars to you, you can get it for a ridiculously low price of $99, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you could spend $99 to learn how to be successful with Gift List Media and earn YOUR place in O The Oprah Magazine, that would be a pretty amazing return on your teleseminar investment and whatever you pay to subscribe to Gift List Media. For my money, it’s a no brainer. It’s the best money you can spend.
After all, no one ever regrets being seen, heard, and celebrated in O The Oprah Magazine and the other well read magazines that we all love to read and share with others. Would it help your business to earn this kind of publicity? If so, what are you waiting for? Sign up now.
April 21, 2009
Seattle Chocolate Company, Social Media Marketing
If you have a product to share that is perfect for Mother’s Day, why not reach out to bloggers and offer your products as a blog giveaway prize? One way you can do that is by signing up and making your products available for review via BloggerLinkUp, a new and free service that debuted on April 20, 2009.
Another way you can do that is to suggest it when you respond to HARO, PR Leads, or ProfNet media queries.
About a week ago, I received a ProfNet media query asking for last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas to review. I responded right away to suggest some of the delicious, exquisitely packaged gift ideas from Seattle Chocolate Company to meet her need. What followed was a quality email exchange that resulted in the creation of a blog contest that offers premium chocolate lovers across the nation the opportunity to win a Fleurish Heart Box as a result of entering.
What I love about this contest is that it requires that contest entrants visit the Seattle Chocolate Company online store and share in their contest entry the item they love the most on the contest blog. Since chocolate is a passion product, this contest reinforces desire, builds buzz, and offers the opportunity for one lucky entrant to win.
Contest entries are sharing wonderful comments about Seattle Chocolate Company on this site. They are also entering on Twitter, Facebook, and spreading the word via their blogs. What a great way to spread good news about a very delicious opportunity.
Visit this link to read more about the contest and enter. The contest is also posted on the home page of My Shopping Connection. And, if you would rather just treat yourself and all the moms in your life with a gift of the Fleurish Hat Box from Seattle Chocolate Company, here is even more great news. The product is on sale now for just $9.99 at the company’s convenient online store. Make your purchases here so all the moms in your life will be seen, heard, and celebrated … with premium chocolate this Mother’s Day.
Next time you submit your product for review, why not suggest a blog contest like this? That could turn a single product giveaway into a much bigger, buzz-building deal for everyone involved.
Speaking of sharing passion comments, if you are among the thousands of people who love Seattle Chocolate Company, your comments are welcome and appreciated on Yelp. This is a site that makes it easy to share your reviews of all the products and services you think are just great — including those you find at Seattle Chocolate Company. Ask YOUR customers to post reviews here about how you serve, and watch your rankings on Google grow to new heights of visibility.
April 3, 2009
Seattle Chocolate Company
If shopping for your Easter chocolate — and Mother’s Day Gifts, too — is high on your priority list, visit the online store for Seattle Chocolate Company. You’ll find adorable, all natural chocolate bunnies to delight the kids and a whole lot more to make yourself happy. And, when you place your $75 orders by April 12, you enjoy free shipping.
If you write a shopping blog or other media column and are looking for delicious and exquisitely packaged items that are perfect to share in your Spring gift guide, send your sample requests my way at email@example.com with your name, the name of your publication, the reach of your media outlet, and your specific sample requests. We’d be delighted to earn your editorial consideration and the delight of your readers, followers, listeners, or viewers.
March 16, 2009
Be Heard, Cause Related Marketing, Seattle Chocolate Company
Right about now, just about everyone wants more Prosperi-Tea, and I am launching a fun contest for this week to bring more of it your way. Here is how it works. Make a post to this blog between now and March 20, 2009 about why your business needs to invite more Prosperi-Tea through the power of free publicity. I’ll choose the best reply to receive as my gift the Publici-Tea™-TO-GO! Gift Bundle that includes all the items you see in the photo — plus several high-value special reports you’ll receive by immediate digital download. Your gift includes your own delightful and inspiring Prosperi-Tea mug from which to savor your DIY publicity success soon to come. This gift is valued at $57.
With Spring and Mother’s Day just around the corner, the Publici-Tea™-TO-GO! Gift Bundles make the perfect mind/body/spirit gift to sip, taste, and experience powerful, proven DIY publicity success tips over tea, Biscot-Tea™, and premium chocolates from Seattle Chocolate Company. Best of all, I donate 10% of the net profits from the sale of these items to Northwest Hope and Healing, a non profit that encourages women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
So, now is the time to tell me why you and your business need this gift now, more than ever. May the best blog post win Prosperi-Tea and so much more. Ready, set, go!
March 3, 2009
Awards PR, Seattle Chocolate Company
It’s definitely good news when one of Seattle’s most beloved and well-read lifestyle magazines celebrates the top sweets worthy of their affection on the cover. The even better news is that Seattle Chocolate Company earned first runner up honors in the milk chocolate and chocolatier’s choice competition for its Meltaway Mint and Perfect Peanut Butter Truffle Bars, respectively. Here is a link to the press room to make it easy for you to read the rankings and all the other great press for Seattle Chocolate Company.
If ever you wondered “What Happiness Tastes Like™,” the timing couldn’t be better to put these delicious and beautifully packaged delights in your shopping basket so you can taste and experience what all the fuss is about. Even during these challenging economic times, premium quality chocolate is an affordable luxury that lifts the mood at a price that makes good sense. Who among us doesn’t need a some of that?
DIY Publicity Tip – When a local magazine calls to ask for samples of your delicious and beautifully packaged items for their taste test, be sure to ask for the submission deadline and deliver your goods in perfect condition to their judges well in advance of the deadline. When you win, your product could be sitting very pretty indeed for everyone in your own backyard and beyond to see. What awards and recogntion have you or your products or services won lately? And how have you leveraged your wins to earn even greater favor among your perfect clients? Let me hear from you so others can follow your example.
March 3, 2009
PR Beyond the Backyard, Seattle Chocolate Company, Video PR
Not everyone learns best by reading, so today I am offering a quick video to make it easy for you to learn essential do-it-yourself publicity tips and tools to help you earn a media placement a widely circulated magazine such as O The Oprah magazine. This video was taken by Get Booked on Oprah Expert Susan Harrow at the Grande-Sized Publici-Tea™ Workshop last October. If you haven’t yet read Susan’s books on how to earn Oprah’s attention, I promise that your DIY publicity effort will be very well served by doing so. I know mine has. Check out her high-value offerings at the link above. The media placement in O The Oprah Magazine happened with speed and impact because I purchased a subscription to Gift List Media and used it to find the perfect editorial opportunity to share the Seattle Chocolate Company story. The lessons I learned reading the Susan Harrow book definitely contributed to my success. If you have products that are ideally suited for spring or holiday gift guides, you owe it to yourself and your company’s success to take a look at Gift List Media.
Based on the placement success my client enjoyed as a result of our 2008 subscription, I can tell you that the modest investment required to benefit is well worth it.
February 17, 2009
Blogging Basics, Seattle Chocolate Company
If you have been pondering making your pitch to become a new columnist/blogger for Examiner.com, check out this article I stumbled upon that offers one reporter’s view of the opportunity. Be sure to read the reader comments in response to this post to appreciate the more complete picture.
For my two cents, consider if posting on a widely viewed platform like Examiner is going to deliver the right readers to build the buzz about your particular expertise or if you would be better served to launch a blog of your own. When you join an existing platform, you save yourself the task, trouble, and expense of setting up your own blog. You join an established and fast growing community. However, you may be precluded from using affiliate links and actively promoting your own products or services. You may not be able to deploy revenue generating tools like Google Adsense or paid advertising on your own behalf as an Examiner. These are all factors to consider as you make the moves that serve your interests best.
As for me, I’ve been blogging here for 18 months and appreciate the freedom I have to say what I want and build my readership and my business as an independent blogger. Blogging has been the single most powerful tool I’ve deployed to build the buzz about my do-it-yourself (DIY) publicity expertise. Of that, I have no doubt.
By the way, a story about Seattle Chocolate Company CEO Jean Thompson ran in Betsy Talbot’s Women in Business Examiner Blog yesterday. Today, the Smart Brief for the National Confectionery Association picked up that story, bringing the message to Jean’s industry. You never know how far and wide a story will travel, thanks to the power and impact of internet links.
Best-Selling Author of “What Would Google Do?” Jeff Jarvis says, “The link changes everything.” He also says, “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” Right on.
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