15: Successful Promotion: Earned Media (PR)
In this episode, we’ve got a very special guest for you. She’s directly responsible for raising millions of dollars for thousands of campaigns leveraging the power of earned media and the press!
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1. Public relations is best started as soon as possible in order to allow as much time as possible to cultivate vital relationships, but it’s never too late for PR to accomplish some good.
2. It’s helpful (but not essential) to send prototypes or samples to reviewers, especially when such product reviews are arranged in advance during a campaign’s pre-launch phase.
3. Crowdfunding PR (unlike traditional PR) should focus more on short-term fundraising than on long-term positive exposure, which may mean targeting sources that enjoy less prominence but better conversion rates, such as product directories.
4. Crowdfunding PR should involve compiling a list of hundreds of news outlets that serve one’s target market, identifying only one reporter (at a time) to contact at each outlet, pitching to those reporters via e-mail (ideally on Friday mornings but neither Mondays nor holidays), and finally following-up persistently with any reporters who haven’t yet responded.
5. Each such pitch to a newscaster should include a title that will easily stand out among hundreds of others, present content that is brief, “snappy,” entertaining, informative, and highly-customized toward the writing style of each news source, along with the interests of its audience, and also include a link to whichever campaign page is being promoted.
6. It’s easier for popular well-funded campaigns to get featured, especially those with newsworthy elements—and getting featured in one news source (whether big or small) renders it easier to get featured in additional news sources.
7. Public relations is both hectic and “hit-or-miss,” and sometimes rather slow to yield results, but it can potentially raise tens-of-thousands of dollars for the right campaigns.
[01:17] Zach introduces Samantha Adams, who is very experienced at earning support from newscasters, influencers, and others in the media to promote crowdfunding campaigns.
[01:50] Samantha mentions her use of media kits, product demonstrations, and reporter communication to arrange news coverage for clients.
[02:08] Zach and Samantha and Thomas discuss how conducting public relations is normally a long-term activity, but that it needs to operate on a shorter time-frame than usual in order to effectively raise funds for crowdfunding projects, which includes favoring higher-converting product-based websites that cycle through content quickly.
[06:01] Samantha overviews how news tends to snowball, as initial coverage renders it easier to obtain additional coverage, which usually starts with smaller news sources but can potentially start with news larger sources instead.
[07:18] Samantha explains that it’s easier to persuade newscasters to report about popular highly-funded projects, that it’s important to render a product interesting to the specific audience to which you’re pitching it, and it helps to pitch each project in such a way that fits the writing style of the targeted news source, in which case you can sometimes practically write their report for them.
[08:20] Zach notes how crowdfunding creators often love PR, but sometimes seek awareness over than pledges, and Samantha reminds campaigners that raising funds should be their goal.
[10:01] Samantha outlines the PR process from identifying your target market, compiling a media list of hundreds of outlets (perhaps including outlets that you personally visit the most) that serve your target market, selecting an e-mail title that will easily stand out among hundreds of others, composing a “snappy” pitch that’s highly-customized to its recipient and entertaining and informative and includes a link to your campaign page, and following-up persistently with each reporter who doesn’t respond initially, which is especially important.
[15:48] Samantha summarizes the usefulness of targeting product directories, such as Bouncy.news, ThisIsWhyImBroke.com, DudeIWantThat.com, and Gadget Flow.
[17:07] Samantha explains that product review samples are not essential but helpful, especially if you can send them to reporters well before your campaign ever launches.
[18:33] Zach and Samantha acknowledge the hectic nature of public relations.
[19:01] Samantha elaborates that there are plenty of good follow-up templates on the Internet and that, after a week or two, follow-ups may start to note additional developments in the campaign.
[20:16] Samantha advises only targeting one reporter at a time at any given outlet, starting with the strongest contact, but possibly changing targets if your initial contact proves unresponsive.
[21:54] Samantha relays two examples of how one good article in one good outlet snowballed into many, which helped raise over $50,000 for Cubiio from PR alone.
[25:39] Samantha reiterates the importance of both research and relationships in public relations.
[26:17] Zach and Samantha agree that, simply because a campaign starts without news coverage for a while, this doesn’t mean that it can’t still end with plenty of publicity.
[27:31] Samantha invites listeners to contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org, and asserts that it’s best to start PR as soon as possible, but that it’s never too late.
[28:39] Samantha adds that it’s bad practice for two people to pitch to a single news outlet, which means that it’s important to coordinate parallel PR efforts.
[29:48] Thomas notes that public relations is very “hit-or-miss,” and depends upon an unusually-complex mix of factors that affect reporters’ emotions.
[31:23] Samantha asserts that newscasters are typically deluged with pitches on Monday mornings, and that she’s found the most success pitching on Friday mornings.
[31:56] Thomas notes that Funded Today’s company website typically gets a spike in traffic on Monday that dwindles for the rest of the week.
[33:16] Samantha advises against pitching to reporters on holidays, but at least a week beforehand.
[34:29] Samantha urges entrepreneurs to avoid losing their passion, whether in business or in other aspects of their lives.
[35:19] Samantha and Thomas and Zach present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to the Funded Today Podcast. Last time we talked about the single most effective way to generate the best possible conversions for your next big idea, it’s a mouthful but that one was full of data in fact you could take right to the bank. Give it a listen and please spend a minute or two and give us a 5 Star Rating because we love doing the show and bringing you the content and the special all stories to help you get your next big idea funded. Today is no exception we’ve got a really special guest on for you, she’s directly responsible for raising millions of dollars for thousands of campaigns leveraging the power of Earned Media and the Press.
Announcer: (00:34) The Funded Today Podcast is hosted by World-Renowned Entrepreneurs and Business Experts Thomas Alvord and Zach Smith. To get help with your next big business idea or to take your business to the next level go to fundedtoday.com.
Zach Smith: (00:48) Welcome back to the Funded Today Podcast, I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (00:52) And I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (00:53) And in our last episode we had special guest Colton Bybee on the show to talk about the single most effective way to raise money for your next big idea, that one alone to give you hundreds of ideas for how to utilize that powerful strategy to raise big money for your next big idea, give it a listen give us a 5 Star Rating, tell us what you thought about the episode and our podcast so for every 5 Star Review helps us spread the tips, tactics and techniques we personally use to make a lot of money and create great life for ourselves with others. So with that out of the way let’s get into today’s master class we’ve got the Director of Public Relations of Funded Today Mrs. Samantha Adams on with us, if you ever want to learn how to convince the press, media, journalists, bloggers, and YouTube influencers to get excited and actually promote your company and venture for you today is your lucky day Samantha is going to walk us through everything you need to do to bring exposure, branding and money leveraging the power of Earned Media for your next big idea. Sam we are so excited to have you with us today, welcome to the Funded Today Podcast. Before we get started can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Funded Today?
Samantha Adams: (01:49) So, basically in a nutshell my team and I help our clients raise money through using our relationships and knowledge of media to land them articles and placements online. So we do that, we do anything and everything from assisting with media kits, lining up product demonstrations, and to help you contact your dream outlets to promote your project.
Zach Smith: (02:08) Now that sounds amazing, but we’re talking about Crowdfunding you might have 15 days, you might have 30 days maybe the most you’re going to have is 60 days, how are you making this happen in that type of time crunch I mean that seems like the exact opposite of traditional Earned Media right?
Samantha Adams: (02:23) Right so most people when they think of PR they think of building long-term relationships and long extended branding for their products which is still true but in our world we work on a much quicker timeline because those projects only last for about a month. The Crowdfunding arm of public relations is a really unique animal and I feel like sometimes it’s really misunderstood and even hazy to most creators, but it wasn’t really until the last year, so that Funded Today started to carve out a niche and really use it to our advantage for our clients.
Zach Smith: (02:51) Very cool, very cool, so how did you do it in, I mean why is PR important given the time crunch, given the aspect of Rewards Based Crowdfunding how do you make it all happen?
Samantha Adams: (03:02) Yes I think most people when they think of PR they think of building relationships and those long-term extended branding for products and this is still true but in our world we work on a much quicker timeline. The Crowdfunding arm of public relations is really unique, it’s a unique animal and I feel like sometimes it’s really misunderstood and even hazy to most creators. It wasn’t until the last year or so that Funded Today really started to carve out a niche and really use it sort of advantage for our clients.
Zach Smith: (03:28) So, Sam tell me a little bit about why -- like why is Crowdfunding PR unique? What makes it a lot different than traditional Earned Media?
Samantha Adams: (03:37) I think the biggest thing here is really with the goal of our PR is to help bring in more pledges right. So Traditional PR is to get the brand name out there and to build those long term relationships and report with other agencies and companies but with our team and what we do with clients is we really just want to bring brand awareness quickly that converts well to help bring in pledges right now in the moment while the campaign is live, so it’s much shorter term.
Zach Smith: (04:03) So, you’re saying your products actually makes money?
Samantha Adams: (04:06) Oh yes lots of money yes.
Zach Smith: (04:07) Very cool that’s exciting again maybe call me crazy or something but it seems like I’ve always said this the best kind of press, is the press that you can actually see results from and a lot of people will be like well I got featured in Forbes and you go and you look at the Google Analytics and it had 10 clicks and obviously $0 raised and then we might go lend you a piece and this is why I’m broke and it will raise you $5,000 and that’s kind of the difference and that’s what you’re talking about in the sense that the type of PR that you do in Crowdfunding is a little bit different than maybe traditional Earned media is that right?
Samantha Adams: (04:38) Right, right it’s much shorter term and it helps bring in things quickly, and we’ve kind of spun it away and we’ve come up with a process in a way that appeals to readers to buy instead of just oh yeah hey I heard about this company one time, it’s kind of a different pitch.
Zach Smith: (04:55) You mentioned you’re not necessarily focused on a long term relationship because you’re only on Kickstarter or Indiegogo for say 30 days or 45 days and then also the pitch is different, it’s not so much about the brand but maybe the product and driving traffic to get people to click on a link, and go check out the product, is there anything else where the pitch is different or the approach is different from what you would you traditionally?
Samantha Adams: (05:21) Yes I mean obviously we’re still on exposure because with some more exposure usually comes more articles, but typically what we really focus on is making the product interesting right now in this moment and we actually target a lot of websites that cycle through content really frequently instead of Forbes has a big audience but they don’t necessarily buy a lot of products a lot, they’re more kind of just a scroll and read website, so we actually have built relationships with outlets that feature a new content very frequently, so we can convert better if that makes sense, the website’s have better conversion because they’re more product based websites.
Zach Smith: (05:59) Yes that make sense. Sounds smart. Tell me a little bit about the idea that once you land a piece that generates pledges you mention something about a snowball effect tell me a little bit about what that means and how it relates to Crowdfunding in general?
Samantha Adams: (06:13) Yes so typically when I start working with a client we’ll start to pitch kind of smaller outlets first, and once we get a few pieces of press they tend to create more awareness which I call the snowball effect right once it gets rolling we get more and more and more so these big hitter outlets like BuzzFeed and Gizmodo and The Verge they look at these smaller websites to see what the breaking news is and then usually cover something very similar. So if we can already have coverage for a client in those smaller outlets the percentage of us getting more coverage in those bigger guys is much, much, higher because we have that product validation already that those big outlets require to write about our product.
Zach Smith: (06:54) Now, does snowball always go from small to big, or could it also go big to small?
Samantha Adams: (06:59) I’ve seen it usually happens small to big just because those outlets do require some product validation, but if the product is cool enough and its innovative enough and makes a big enough splash I have seen big outlets write about a product write off the bat, so it can happen either way but typically that’s the process I go to from small the big just so we can pitch in order.
Zach Smith: (07:18) What do you think makes the difference I’ve seen a campaign that it lands Press nothing happens and then another campaign that lands Press and then like everybody is writing about it and it raises $200,000 in just a few days.
Samantha Adams: (07:31) Well I definitely think a lot of it has to do with the campaign and the product itself right. So if I have a cool product but the market doesn’t think it’s cool it’s not going to convert very well same thing goes for marketing, paid marketing that we do at Funded Today as well we need that product validation and we need kind of an urgency to buy it, so I think the biggest piece of advice to kind of grab the attention of those big converting outlets would to be to make your product interesting to the audience that you’re pitching to. BuzzFeed has a different rhetoric than let’s say new Oculus does or a Digital Trends does, so what we’ve done at Funded Today is we’ve learned how to craft our pitches and present these products to different outlets that fits their writing style already, so they don’t have to do any extra work to write about it, we can just present them with this really cool product and basically write an article for them, it makes it really easy and really fast.
Zach Smith: (08:21) Sam question that I have for you and maybe backing this up even just a little bit more everybody wants to get press it’s kind of like the dream right? Even when Funded Today gets written about in say Forbes and five people view the article which happens occasionally just because who knows wherever you get featured sometimes it gets exposure sometimes it doesn’t. How do you help to dispel the myth of I got written about in Forbes hey it’s so great versus we need to help you understand that the press it is going to raise you money is the most important press you can have at this time in your entrepreneurial endeavor, your Crowdfunding campaign, how do you work through all of that with clients, and how do you help them have the best shot to land press regardless of the idea whether it’s a fashion product or a tech product or something entirely different.
Samantha Adams: (09:13) I think the biggest thing that we need to help clients understand is why they’re doing the Kickstarter in the first place, so they’re on Kickstarter to help raise money for their product, and that’s what we’re trying to help them do with our press and we’ve been in this game longer than almost anybody in the Crowdfunding world and so we know what works the best is who are the experts. So I think that it’s really just kind of sitting them down and giving them some options and Forbes Article is great for a long-term brand awareness, but based on statistics and based on what we’ve seen before those outlets are going to bring you the pledges that you need for your Kickstarter campaign which is why you’re launching the campaign in the first place, you need pledges. So we have as process and we have different outlets that we work with on an affiliate basis to help get you in front of audiences that are most likely to convert and bring in pledges for your campaign.
Zach Smith: (10:03) Okay that makes a lot of sense, so I think that pairs nicely into the second topic I want to come get into with you today and that is who do I pitch? Where do I even start to pitch my campaign? How do I go about that, what’s the strategy behind that Sam?
Samantha Adams: (10:17) So I think the first thing that you need to figure out is what kind of market you’re wanting to engage if you’re a tech based product you just want to stick into that niche or maybe you can branch out into fashion or maybe you can branch out into something else. So you need to decide that first and then what you need to do is make a media list and that’s basically just a big spreadsheet full of outlets like websites and YouTube Influencer channel names, Instagram handles everything that fits within that niche that you’ve chosen and put it in a spreadsheet.
Zach Smith: (10:44) How do you build those? Do you have a lot of those because of your role at Funded Today have you built them over the years? What’s your strategy for somebody who wants to go it alone, what would they do to build their media database list?
Samantha Adams: (10:57) Honestly I think the best place to start is the places that you read content the most. So if you look at cool products let’s say on thisiswhyimbroke.com start there find a good contact for them and talk to them first but really I think the bigger the better the more the merrier, I’ve built hundreds of media list at my time at Funded Today and they’re all different because every campaign is different, and I’ve also built relationships with journalists over the years that have helped me get in contact with different writers in different realms, but I think really just starting where you want to be featured the most is the most important part of your media list.
Zach Smith: (11:34) I like them it kind of goes to 80%, 20% too, where can I spend 20% of my time to get 80% of my result.
Samantha Adams: (11:39) Exactly.
Thomas Alvord: (11:40) How can I make those cup of contacts happen, that’s great. Okay well now you’ve got the media list, now you’ve got everybody that you want to reach out to you’ve badged it so you’ve got your 500 people that you want to contact let’s go with that number, how do you get in touch with them? I mean these people probably get pitched quite a bit how do you stand out from the masses?
Samantha Adams: (11:57) Oh this is something that I have been working on and tweaking from my whole time in PR but you have to make your pitch stand out, you have to be consistent and you have to be unique. Most journalists you’re exactly right as that get hundreds if not thousands depending on where they write of pitches a day, so you have to send an email you have to make them look at it and say oh that’s a super interesting title maybe I should click on the email, and then once you have them looking at your email you have to be quick, you have to be snappy that’s why I sort of like to call you got to be snappy really funny if you can be yes, and then you have to be informative journalists want good information and they want it quickly, so you have to figure out how to craft your pitch in a way that they can say okay this is a really cool product, I have the information I need to go look out more for an article then once they have the link to your campaign page which I would always include in your pitch if I were you, they can go straight to your page and pull the assets they need right from your Crowdfunding page.
Thomas Alvord: (12:48) When you reach out and you say you wanted to be kind of short but also enough information that they’ll need do you include a link to a press release or do you just kind of have the pitch or and just make it feel natural and organic? How do you typically try to do that?
Samantha Adams: (13:10) I would definitely try to make it feel as natural as possible I don’t want journalists to feel like I’m sending a 1,000 emails to the same person, I always try to include their name, I always try to say hey look I saw this piece of press that you wrote a couple of months ago about this product I have something very similar what do you think here are some cool points about it may be list two or three cool points, and then here’s a link to my campaign I would love for you to check it out and let me know your thoughts, that way they have a call to action to go look at something but they also have a few cool facts that get them hooked right when they start reading if that makes sense.
Thomas Alvord: (13:43) And do you ever find that a journalist gets upset or mad based off of how you pitch? Or do you ever have a journalist say man your pitch was so good?
Samantha Adams: (13:55) Yes I mean we get different responses all across the board on our pitches I mean we send a lot that’s pretty much all we do all day is contact people for our clients so there are some -- I’ve had some journalists tell me that my pitch was really funny and that’s what made them open it, I’ve had some journalist say look that doesn’t fit my style I don’t want to work with you and that’s fine too, but the great thing about PR is as long as you’re consistent and as long as you follow-up with multiple different outlets the chances that you getting someone’s attention that could make a huge shift in your campaign is exponentially higher.
Thomas Alvord: (14:25) Now you said consistent what could you also say about persistence and following up does that matter or you send it through emails you’ve done.
Zach Smith: (14:36) And Sam yes that’s kind of what I want to know too we talk about the journalists that respond but I would imagine most of them might not respond for one email, two emails, emails, three emails so my question is in line with Thomas’s how many emails is too many when do you say I’m not going to follow up anymore versus should you just keep following it up until they tell you hey I don’t want to talk to you anymore or what’s the strategy behind consistency and persistence and following up and that aspect of the outreach to journalists.
Samantha Adams: (15:03) My goal whenever I pitched for a client is to get a response, and if that means I have to send five emails or 10 emails throughout the duration of a campaign that’s what I’m going to do, there is sometimes were journalists will get back to me after my first initial pitch which is awesome and I can either say they’re green lighted for writing article or they tell me they’re not interested or I can answer questions if they have. In PR persistence is key they get hundreds of thousands of pitches a day and you have to be consistent and persistent I think they both kind of go hand in hand here you -- too many emails is not a thing when it comes to PR persistence, persistence, persistence you got to keep bugging them.
Zach Smith: (15:39) They’re not going to remember your name and blacklist you or something if you?
Samantha Adams: (15:44) Exactly.
Zach Smith: (15:45) Okay got you.
Samantha Adams: (15:46) But at least we were doing our job even though as they do right.
Zach Smith: (15:47) Yes true I love that, I love the hustle. Now Sam switching gears a little bit you have a secret strategy that you use that I don’t think a lot of people are taking advantage of and its Product Directories tell me a little bit about the mindset and why product directories are so effective in 2018?
Samantha Adams: (16:03) Yes so Product Directories are basically online malls where people can kind of look and scroll they do what I like to call Scroll Shopping, people want to see an item be convinced of why they need it they want to buy it, and they want to move on, we’re all about fast purchasing and instant gratification these days, so you can almost always submit your campaign for an organic placement to any product directory, they always have a contact page, they always have a suggested page I would 100% take advantage of that because if you get placed your product almost always earns a listing on the website for the life of the website. So that will forever bring in continuous coverage for your projects even if the campaign ends it will still redirect wherever you redirect your Kickstarter or Indiegogo page.
Zach Smith: (16:48) Very nice now if you had to pick just three to five product directories where would you say to try to go after?
Samantha Adams: (16:55) bouncy.news is a great one, thisiswhyimbroke.com is a great one, dudeiwantthat.com is pretty good and thegadgetflow is a great one as well.
Zach Smith: (17:06) Very nice, very nice. Now I think we get asked this all the time particularly from some of the bigger outlets the idea of well on Crowdfunding My Campaign and I only have one prototype or maybe I don’t even have a prototype and I’m afraid to reach out to the media because they’re going to tell me hey I need your products so I can review it do you have a sample, do you have a prototype. What’s the response to that and how do you deal with those concerns?
Samantha Adams: (17:34) So, I mean I get that question all the time do I need samples. Do you need them? No. Is it good to have them? Yes. Samples always help and it lets the influencers and journalists have a hands on experience with the product however 95% of my clients that didn’t have samples have still landed thousands of dollars and pledges of organic pieces. The only time I would ever suggest to have a product is if you can send it to a big outlet before you actually launch, I’ve learned in my time as a Director of this department that it just eats up too much time to send a sample to an outlet while your campaign is live because then they have to receive the product, test out the product, see if they actually like it and then write the piece and then get it live, which can eat up 50% of your campaign in the blink of an eye. So it’s just as effective to continue pitching your product and tell the writers why they need to write about it instead of sending a product to the office and wasting that time having them use it, especially if you have only one prototype I would not send it.
Zach Smith: (18:34) At Funded Today we have a core value every day is launch day and the more I listen to you and the more I learn about Earned Media and Outreach and PR the more I think man every second is launch day when it comes to what you do here at Funded Today.
Samantha Adams: (18:49) Definitely, definitely.
Zach Smith: (18:51) How do you balance the chaos?
Samantha Adams: (18:54) Oh I thrive in chaos like it's the best, my life definitely goes a 100 miles an hour but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thomas Alvord: (19:01) As we’ve been talking about this Sam I thought of another question that I’m curious to know and I imagine some of our listeners might want to know when you continue to follow up with a journalist asking if they’re interested, what is that follow-up look like is it an email saying just following up, and you’re signing off Sam. Or is it hey we just hit this milestone, hey there’s this feature that could be interesting, is it a combination what do those follow ups typically look like?
Samantha Adams: (19:32) That’s definitely a combination that’s a great question Thomas. So typically when I send my first, two or three follow-ups I’ll say hey I haven’t heard from you, do you have any additional questions? Is there anything I can help you with for giving into one or two weeks of out of response I will start highlighting some new milestones that the campaign has reached, maybe they were successfully funded, maybe they’re 200% funded at this time maybe they have a cool new version of the product that they just released for the final week or two. So it really just depends on the kind of timeline that we’re in as far as the product goes, but if you, if anybody’s ever having problems crafting a follow-up response they’re actually tons of templates that you can find online that help keep things short and simple that you can absolutely use and just fill in with your own information.
Thomas Alvord: (20:17) And what about reaching out to multiple journalist at the same outlet is that good, is that bad, do you need to be careful does not matter?
Samantha Adams: (20:25) I would definitely be careful because you wouldn’t want to step on anybody’s toes, however if you’ve contacted one and haven’t heard from them there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from contacting somebody else, maybe that person just already wrote about something similar and doesn’t want to kind of beat a dead horse, but maybe a new a journalist in the same department hasn’t seen it before and they could bring a fresh new take to it and write it a little bit better. So I definitely think covering your basis when it comes to different journalists is a good thing to do.
Thomas Alvord: (20:53) So really you’re saying only pitch one journalist had an outlet, and don’t worry about hitting up say five or ten journalists at that outlet.
Samantha Adams: (21:05) No I think you should pitch multiple if you don’t hear from one if that makes sense but only pitch one at a time.
Zach Smith: (21:09) They don’t reach out all of that -- what if you’re like pre-launching and you have a prototype and you say hey I have this product, we’re going to be launching I love to share it with you and you send 10 individual emails to each journalist will that be bad then, or would they talk internally or?
Samantha Adams: (21:26) No it wouldn’t be, I don’t know if they would talk internally that’s not something I can really guarantee or measure so I don’t know if I would go about it exactly that way, if I have multiple contacts from the same outlet I would probably ask if someone could get me in touch with the Director of that department, or a Manager or some sorts like to coordinate directly with them.
Zach Smith: (21:42) So your strategy would probably be you have 10 contacts start with the strongest and if that person responds great otherwise kind of go down the line until you’re reaching out rather than blast all 10 of them?
Samantha Adams: (21:53) Exactly yes.
Zach Smith: (21:55) That makes sense. Now Sam I’ve got a question I think a lot of our listeners might have as well, what has been your top -- I don’t know one to three favorite campaigns you worked on as it relates to Press and perhaps describe the Snowball Effect that you saw as you worked with these campaigns?
Samantha Adams: (22:10) Absolutely I have two that comes to my mind so quickly, so the first one was called “The Sunrise Smart Pillow” I don’t know if you guys remember that it was last year?
Thomas Alvord: (22:17) Oh yes thoroughly,
Zach Smith: (22:17) Of course.
Samantha Adams: (22:17) It was last year yes so it’s a memory foam pillow that had these smart features that could help wake you up with natural lights, the lights would change colors and when we first came on with them they had no press, but I thought it was a really cool product so I was like yes let’s try it out, I’ll see what I can do, and I was just a rep at the time and so super excited about this campaign and I remember I heard back from askmen.com and we got an article of them, and I was so stoked it was the coolest thing ever. And then the next morning I checked and we had five new pieces from Digital Trends, The Verge this place called core77.com like all these crazy different places had seemingly written about it overnight and it just continued to funnel in like that for the rest of the campaign it was awesome. Every single day I had new coverage for them, and it was really just because we were able to find one good contact at one outlet, so I think that’s a super huge piece of advice, is that you get a contact from an outlet stay in touch with them because if you have more products or you have more projects that you’re wanting to work on they’re going to be your go to person to get more coverage and get more branding for your project.
Zach Smith: (23:27) I loved your strategy that you said about being fast once they respond because I found that to be so true as soon as they communicate with you, you talk to them, you don’t wait a day or a few days or week or it’s gone like when the press responds to you.
Samantha Adams: (23:39) Time is of the essence especially with PR for sure.
Zach Smith: (23:43) There’s something about seizing the moment, now your second example.
Samantha Adams: (23:46) Cubiio, it was this little cube laser engraver tool that we ran last fall and that one was a little bit of a different process, they already had a couple of pieces of Press but no more was coming in and when we came on with them and so I use that same contact and at AskMen actually and we landed another piece with them with this really cool product and then it took a couple of days but more people started to read it, and more people started to see it and then I used product directories and we got them into product directories and I think we ended up raising Oh boy over $50,000 in Press for Cubiio alone it was awesome yes it was a little bit of slower.
Zach Smith: (24:26) And by the way when you say that, when you say $50,000 in Press generally speaking that’s $150,000 that didn’t track because Press is interesting, it syndicates, it doesn’t track they might not use a specific link so it’s hard to keep track of where everybody is coming from so $50,000 directly track Press is three to four times what actually shows up in the dashboard that’s exciting go ahead Sam.
Samantha Adams: (24:47) A lot of the times people will read an article and say oh that’s really cool and then when they have some time when they get home they’ll just Google the product and then go pledge directly to the Kickstarter Campaign so it really just depends but that’s what’s great about getting multiple coverages about you, and about your product is people are more likely to see it and then they say man I keep seeing this product everywhere I need to go check it out and see what it is, so even if it doesn’t track directly to PR you’re still getting that brand awareness which is kind of where traditional PR comes in, in the Crowdfunding space.
Zach Smith: (25:18) I love that strategy of that you mentioned of and you shared it twice now you lockdown that top dog that top outlet, and then because of that top outlet you get the Snowball Effect of all of the other outlets following suit and syndicating the content or writing their own content based upon what they saw on AskMen for example I think that’s a very powerful strategy and again there’s that 80%, 20% coming into play once more.
Samantha Adams: (25:40) And definitely it’s definitely a different process for every campaign that I work with, if we’re starting from square one I have a few contacts at smaller outlets that I’ll pitch right off the bat because we’re looking for a new content and then I can use that content to pitch my BigDog or AskMen and Digital Trends and other places like that. So I definitely think the biggest key here is just building those relationships but also knowing what outlets are going to work best for your campaign and a lot of that is just research which we’ve done here at Funded Today for years, so we’ve kind of fine-tuned that process and we know no matter what your campaign is we can formulate a plan and get you on a path to the best converting press for your project.
Zach Smith: (26:17) The other takeaway that I got that was pretty exciting that you probably already know but I want to just highlight it for our readers, and it’s the idea that in a couple of examples that you shared you mentioned they hadn’t got any press and maybe they had 20 days left, maybe they had 15 days left or in another example the had land at some press and then press has just been stagnant or no press for weeks on in and then you were able to land press and I think that’s pretty exciting. So my campaign has no press I’ve only got 21 days left well that doesn’t mean you’re hopeless right that means there’s little opportunity to land press?
Samantha Adams: (26:55) Absolutely, absolutely.
Zach Smith: (26:57) And I think that’s a powerful takeaway for a lot of our listeners and I don’t know me as a listener I would ask and maybe this is where you could share something here Sam but how does somebody get in contact with you if they want you to be able to work on their campaign if they want you to land press and ideally when do you want to be working on their campaign? Do you like to have the, I think (0:27:17) and they were a campaign that didn’t have any press and then I think they hired us on with a few weeks left and suddenly we landed all this press form -- landed on the press and it was like well we definitely landed all that press because they hadn’t landed any press for the 30 days prior, do you like that better, or do you like working with people pre-launch or do you like a mix and how does somebody get in contact with you if they want to work on an earned media or press media or reach strategy?
Samantha Adams: (27:41) Well you’re more than welcome to email me directly but the easiest thing would probably just be to go to fundedtoday.com or funded.today and use one of our reps can line you up with me I’m more than happy to help on a call, shoot some emails over pretty easy but sorry Zach what was your other question.
Zach Smith: (27:56) Yes perfect and then what do you prefer? Do you prefer and your email is email@example.com.
Samantha Adams: (28:02) firstname.lastname@example.org
Zach Smith: (28:03) Alright perfect.
Samantha Adams: (28:04) Yes so, I mean obviously the more time the better, the more time I have to talk to journalists for you the more likely I am to Land Press for you, however, I don’t think that any time is too short for me to go to work for you or for my team to go to work for you. We have a very seamless process and we’re very efficient at that process, and so I don’t want people to think oh well I’m not free lunch so I can’t do PR not true, we work with live campaigns all the time, I’ve taken on a couple myself that have a week left and we’ve done some press for them, so it’s completely up to you but if you’re on top of it and you’re thinking of launching a campaign, the more the merrier, and the sooner the better when it comes to PR for sure
Zach Smith: (28:38) Okay very good. Now maybe my last question for you, and I’m trying to think how best to ask it. Do you mind working with clients who might say well I want to do Outreach too but maybe I’ll hire you to help me out as well do you like that and if you do like it how do you coordinate that and if you don’t like it why don’t you like that approach?
Samantha Adams: (29:01) The only reason I wouldn’t like it is because it’s considered bad practice in the PR world to have two people pitching the same journalists, it's called double pitching and we tend to try and stay away from that I am more than happy for you to leverage your own contacts if you have them, they’re going to work out better than mine if you already have them established the only thing I ask is we just stay on the same base, the same level I guess so I know who you’re talking to and you know who I’m talking to so we can just keep that line really, really, clear.
Zach Smith: (29:30) So like a shared Google Doc with a Media Outreach or something here’s my contacts here yours let’s not cross the line here.
Samantha Adams: (29:35) Exactly yes as long as we have that clear communication I have no problem with that, it’s just kind of when the lines get hazy well no I landed that piece, well I don’t know I had a contact over here that I was talking to just gets little hazy and we don’t like to go down that road.
Zach Smith: (29:46) Okay yes that clears things up a bit. Thomas anything else from you?
Thomas Alvord: (29:52) Press is an interesting animal right, it's hit or miss and it could have nothing to do with your product or anything and it might just have to do with the journalists and what they ate that day and whether they’re excited about your product or not would you agree with that Sam?
Samantha Adams: (30:08) Definitely, yes it’s definitely more confusing and complex than I think most people realize. I mean if you send an email that’s worded the wrong way and maybe a journalist doesn’t take it well that can turn them off to your products completely which is why it’s so important to have someone in your corner that knows how to present those things, which is what we’re here to do.
Zach Smith: (30:32) Time a day, week to press that -- kind of Thomas mentions the what they ate for breakfast that day or something now it makes me wonder is there a better day to reach out to press or is every day good or do you have any approaches to that?
Thomas Alvord: (30:43) Well let me share something Zach I kind of say that tongue in cheek I know in the legal profession since that’s kind of my background research literally shows depending on how long in the day it is, whether a judge is more likely to be more strict or more lenient or whether he’s going to give somebody parole or not, and it really comes down to their emotion and what they’re feeling so and those are obviously more high stakes obviously launching a business is high stakes but yes I’d be curious to know as well Sam if there’s a time of day that or time of the day or day of the week that you see works better?
Samantha Adams: (31:23) I definitely have in my time so I think Fridays are actually the best days to pitch a lot of people think first thing Monday morning and I completely disagree because everybody is doing that, everybody is pitching either Friday night or first thing Monday morning and there are probably a 1,000 emails in that journalists inbox. Friday they’ve probably cleared out their inbox and then you can get first inline if you pitch Friday let’s say after lunch or probably before lunch actually because most journalists takeoff after lunch but, I usually craft my pitches Friday morning and get them out before lunch.
Thomas Alvord: (31:57) What’s so interesting about that, is looking at our Google Analytics for Funded Today there’s always a spike in traffic on Monday and then a steady decline not, not that the traffic drops off but it’s just fewer visitors to our website on Tuesday, and then a little fewer Wednesday, a little fewer Thursday, a little fewer Friday, little fewer your Saturday, little fewer Sunday and then come Monday it spikes back up so I at towards the end of the week I think at least people who are thinking in terms of business here’s a new product especially these sites that maybe feature new products definitely I can corroborate what you’re saying with our Google Analytics data. Here is another question which I’ve never quite understood I don’t know if you have an answer, the holidays? Landing press on holidays, people say don’t do it, but I don’t get it because outlets are still publishing content so is there a rule for holidays or the seasons or Christmas, during the Christmas week I know on Kickstarter if you look at the graphs Christmas you might see a decline slightly but that whole week and the day before and after it seems to perform the same I don’t know if you had any thoughts or experience one way or the other in terms of holidays or holiday seasons?
Samantha Adams: (33:18) Yes so most journalists are out of the office on the actual holiday, so pitching them wouldn’t make any sense on Christmas because they’re not going to be there, however, a lot of journalists will write content that they already have completed that they post during those off times. So let’s say I have a campaign that’s going to deliver to its backers right before Christmas, I can message a journalist at Digital Trends and say hey I have this really cool product that’s going to deliver it would be a great post for something you can buy your husband for Christmas, and it will be delivered before the holidays, what do you think? So I think it is just kind of the manner that you pitch it and the time that you pitch it I would definitely pitch not on holidays because it’s going to get lost in the fray I would pitch at least a week before the holidays preferably two depending on the product.
Thomas Alvord: (34:05) Okay, great thanks.
Zach Smith: (34:08) I like the idea of what Sam shared with Friday speaking from a behavioral perspective perhaps there’s also a good chance of getting a response from a journalist because they’re happy, it’s a weekend, its Friday I mean until everybody starts copying Sam’s strategy and we see Friday being the maximum day where everybody is doing some outreach. Well Sam this has been very, very, insightful I have loved this episode something I like to do with every one of our guests and I’m going to put you on the spotlight here for a sec, but if you could offer any parting words of advice, wisdom and it doesn’t even need to be earned media PR related unless you want it to be, what would you say to the listeners of the Funded Today podcast?
Samantha Adams: (34:51) Oh don’t lose your passion, because people see right through that so quickly even in my job if I’m not passionate about what I’m doing for a client people see right through me and I think it’s so important to apply that not only to your job but your life as well do everything you can with passion and life will reward you back.
Zach Smith: (35:06) Man I love that, that’s good. Thanks so much again for coming to our show today Samantha we loved having you.
Samantha Adams: (35:15) And I loved it. It was super fun thank you for having me.
Zach Smith: (35:19) Alright it is the Funded Today products of the week and as we like to do with all of our special guests Sam we’re bringing you back on to kind of feature one of your campaigns the you love. What is your product of the week?
Samantha Adams: (35:31) My product of the week is that DanForce G1 PRO Flashlight it's just really cool slick modular flashlight that has a bunch of different mounts and a tactical pouch and a lantern attachment and an emergency USB power bank, that just is kind of the go to tool for anybody who goes outdoors or, works on projects it’s super, super, cool.
Thomas Alvord: (35:54) Yes so my product of the week is a Dive System called NEMO just like the movie NEMO N-E-M-O and it’s by Blu3, that’s spelled B-L-U-3, and I love to snorkel, I’ve actually never have dived in this kind of makes me a little interested here but it allows you to dive 10 feet down without having to have all the snorkel gear, it basically has a tube that goes up to the top of the water, and there’s kind of a floaty device that brings in the oxygen so you’re able to dive down 10 feet deep and obviously you could use it for exploring, boat maintenance, treasure hunting, underwater photography just for pool fun or if you’re out boating and you want to entertain guests so it pretty cool allows you to go down 10 feet deep so in a way it’s almost like a hybrid of snorkeling and scuba diving people who are into scuba diving will probably say I’m preaching blasphemy or something as I obviously don’t know that industry well but it looks pretty cool so being able to dive down 10 feet that’s NEMO by Blu3.
Zach Smith: (37:11) And my product of the week is Mezmoglobe that’s an M-E-Z-M-O-G-L-O-B-E, if you’re like me you work at your desk a lot, and maybe 12 hours a day and your desk isn’t necessarily the most fun place to work at. Mezmoglobe is working on changing that, this is their seventh Kickstarter campaign they’ve already raised over $267,000 11 days left I’m sure they’ll be on Indiegogo-InDemand and I’m sure you can find them on their website after. These guys are based out of United Kingdom and Mezmoglobe is the ultimate desk toy, this is a precision machine globe that literally creates a full body optical illusion when you spin it. It literally looks like a continuously flowing helix merging into the surface of your desk I can’t do better with words to describe this you’re going to have to look at some of the pictures and some of the gifs on their Kickstarter page, but this thing is awesome I mean it is pleasant, it’s enticing to the eye and I think it will add a little bit of creativity to everybody’s day to kind of take the monotony out of working at a desk. Check it out that is the Mezmoglobe Kinetic Desk Toy with full body optical illusion, I think you’re going to like it. Next time we’re going to dial in on one more marketing approach that is the single most effective way to consistently raise money and even extrapolate how much money you’re going to raise this approach has raised more money than all of our other methods we’ve used, and if it works for your campaign it’s the ticket and the only way you’re going to raise millions upon millions of dollars and kind of get that Crowdfunding legend status I think you’re going to get a lot of value out of that episode. So until next time apply these Earned Media strategies and tactics Samantha shared with you and remember don’t wait until tomorrow get Funded Today.
Announcer: (39:00) Funded Today is the worldwide leader in a Rewards Based Crowdfunding, on Kickstarter and Indiegogo combined they have raised over $200 million and counting for thousands of new ideas and inventions worldwide, if you got an idea for a new product or invention visit fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
References and Resources
- Funded Today: Blog: “How To Raise $3 Million On Kickstarter, In 3 Days. Guaranteed.”
- Funded Today: Blog: “If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come - The Power of Promotion”
- Funded Today: Blog: “PR in Crowdfunding - Understanding the odd kid on the block”
- Funded Today: Blog: “The 7 P’s For Crowdfunding Success”
- Funded Today: Blog: “Why You Should Raise As Much Money As Possible While Your Kickstarter Campaign Is Live”
- Funded Today: Marketing Services
- Funded Today: Podcast: “Successful Promotion: Cross-Promotions”
- Funded Today: Podcast: “Successful Promotion: Paid Media (Ads)”
- Gadget Flow
- Kickstarter: Cubiio
- Kickstarter: SHIROI HANA
- Kickstarter: Sunrise Pillow
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