Friday, August 14, 2009

Publicist for a Day:

My friend Sue Sampson has a really cool Web site for her custom window treatment business, I think it deserves more media attention than it gets, so I'm offering some tips here that are easy for her to implement. My goal with blogging about it, of course -- instead of just calling Sue and saying, "Hey! Try this!" -- is to give others something to think about, too. Much of what works for one situation will work for another when tweaked a bit.

I am going to call myself Sue's "Publicist for a Day."

What I love about Sue's site -- -- is the interactive nature of it. I can pick out the style I like, select a fabric that appeals to me, put the two together, and see the "finished" product displayed against a wall that matches the color of my room. I mean really, how cool is that? You might expect that functionality at the Web site of a huge manufacturer or retailer, but this site is the brainchild of two women -- Sue and her business partner, Ellen -- and I think that makes it extra cool. (Sue and Ellen also create Home Dec in a Sec patterns for McCalls; the Web site is an outgrowth of that business.)

As Sue's Publicist for a Day, I'd:
  • Set up Google alerts for "window treatments" and other key phrases. I'd use them to help me identify quickly who's talking about the topic on blogs or Web sites and to start building a custom media list of journalists and reputable bloggers who appear to write about the topic regularly.
  • Establish tiers of target media -- Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, etc. -- in terms of importance to Sue's business. That helps me prioritize and focus my limited time (1 day!) on what will generate the greatest return on investment in the quickest amount of time.
  • Tap into Sue's intellectual capital to generate a list of tip sheet ideas, then write and distribute the best one to the living sections of daily newspapers nationwide. Tip sheets are press releases that offer tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. Sue can offer advice on how to select the right treatment for a window with an unusual shape, tips for sewing your own window treatments, advice on the latest home decorating colors and trends and how they translate to window treatments, or what to look for in a quality product.
  • Develop an angle to pitch to radio station talk shows reaching Sue's target demographic. She should talk about more than window treatments, of course -- the top home decorating myths would be interesting, perhaps -- and her URL is memorable, making radio a good option for getting the word out.
  • Identify the top 6 or so media outlets that reach Sue's targeted audience and review them carefully to become familiar with their content. Then I'd develop a specific article idea for each that could include an interview with Sue or a mention of

That's about all I could tackle in one day probably (because I'd like to take a long lunch with Sue, too, maybe having my favorite chopped Americana salad at Champps...).

When thinking about your own publicity activities, especially when you have limited time for this work, always start by focusing on those people who are clearly most likely to be interested in your product or service or who have the greatest impact on sales. For, that might be professional interior decorators, not homeowners.

Finally, make a plan! As someone once said, failing to plan is planning to fail. A plan will give you structure and accountability.

I'm thinking about being a Publicist for a Day on a regular basis. Want me to be yours? Send a note to me at

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