We've talked to countless small garden businesses and start-ups looking to attract new customers and get the word out about their product. Most are inventors, creative and driven, but marketing is not their background. They feel overwhelmed trying to promote a new product or service.
We offer free 30 minute consultations to such companies and try to keep marketing simple and straightforward for them. We listen to their goals and challenges and break down a few key things they can do to jump start a start-up.
Today, we wanted to share those tips with you, in the hopes that you, too, will feel a little less overwhelmed and have success launching your new product.
#1 – The Key to Success is First Developing Your Brand Message
When it comes right down to it, a public relations campaign is a united front to communicate a brand's message and build its reputation. But first, you need a clear brand message.
The first step is figuring out what you want your brand to be known for. Of course, we'd all love to be reputable, loyal, funny, charming, modern, sleek, reliable, innovative, and inspiring. The list could go on and on.
Yet, these are all words that many businesses strive for. You want your garden business to stand out.
To discover what these three words are, you need to hone your elevator pitch. First write down the answers to all of these questions: What are you? Why are you? Who are you? What problem are you solving and how are you solving it? Why should people care right now?
Then focus on the overlaps. This is how a narrative is born.
#2 – A Solid Reputation Takes Time
Many PR firms have a minimum one year contract for a reason: it takes time to gain momentum, media coverage, and ultimately, build brand reputation.
Public relations is not a quick fix; it's an investment in how consumers view and feel about your business.
Remember, influencing hearts and minds of consumers takes at least three to six months. But cultivating a flock of loyal consumers who will sing your company's praises for years to come is an asset that keeps giving.
“911 PR doesn’t work and many of the companies we see come through our Marketplace believe they can hire someone today and be on the cover of Time next week," say the folks at AirPR. "These misaligned expectations will kill any attempt at a productive PR campaign. Messaging, narrative, and product positioning takes planning."
#3 – It’s all about relationships
You don’t need to be a PR wizard to make relationships with the media. Just start by being a decent human: be smart, pay attention, compliment, and don’t be rude.
If you’re a new business or startup, you probably don’t even know where to start. Here are four proven tactics when building media lists that have worked for us over the last 25 years:
Identify your Target Audience
Determine Media Outlets that Matter
Build Media Lists
Devour the Content that those on your Media List Publish
Like any relationship, these require attention and cultivation. For a few tips straight from the horses' mouth, check out our interview with three key players in garden media, here.
Every interaction with the media matters. You need to constantly check yourself to be proactive but not obnoxious, informative but not aggressive.