Q&A with Artist Megan Auman
We're going to bring on meghan almond she's going to skype in with us and we're going to see her on video um she's a very dear friend of mine and she has gone amazing media coverage for her business so we've looked at some emplacements that she had an albacore she's also had her jewelry shop for covers of magazines she's had great block placements island meghan tell you about that but we're going to bring meghan up you can check her out her work at megan almond dot com and she's on twitter at megan almond so you can send her tweets and and share what she's saying here using her hash her you know to handle at megan almond or a simple pr hashtag so can we bring meghan up thanks for joining us hi everybody as you could tell I'm so excited to be here yes it is so great I'm so happy to have you here because you are absolutely inspiring to me because it's unreal to me how you've been able to devote yourself to going after and getting outreach and getting great mia for your business and you w...
ere doing this like I was mentioning we're friends but you did this long before we met you've always made this a priority I have but I have to say it's gotten more strategic since I met you when I started working with you so it's definitely gotten easier using the system that bridget is teaching you guys so she really does know where stuff thank you think and I appreciate that that's awesome so I'd like to ask you just a little bit to set some context of why you decide that pr of media outreach is important for you to be doing as you're also running your jewelry business is your painting is you're designing textiles why did why is that important to you yeah you know there are a couple of reasons and the first one I think is one that maybe people don't think of which is that it just makes your business seem legitimate so you know I've been running my business for eight years now but I work from home I make jewelry it's really easy for people to be like oh megan's just kind of messing around there especially when I was just sort of working out of my garage but when I start to get these media placements when people are seeing my products and cook ooking light or seeing my earrings on the cover of better homes and gardens or seeing my pillows and elle decor it makes people around me say hey she's running a legitimate business and when you're running that kind of solo business having everyone around you perceive that is actually a really big boost s o that's kind of the first thing on the second one is obvious which is to try to generate sales you know it's it's not just the direct sales it's the credibility you know be able to say I've been featured in magazines all of those things help drive sales and obviously that's how my business works so I bet it x because you have a great wholesale business and when you're pitching retailers I bet it it helps with that too not just your direct sales oh absolutely you know and it helps to because my people might see my products in a magazine and then they might go to my website look at my retailer lesson then go to my stores so stores they're finding me through media and then customers are finding my stores so it really all feeds into each other oh that's awesome that's really great and what kind of results have you seen because I know that you've experimented with a lot of different kinds of media and you shared with me some lessons you've had on what's working and what's not working what have you learned in doing it yeah, you know I've seen a huge range of results so I think people think especially with product placement in major magazines that you're going to get the product placement and you're going to see immediate sales and the reality is sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't I've had products in magazines where they've been a great big feature spread the product is a low price point the magazine drops people are on my website buying things I've also had things featured where there weren't a lot of sales based off of that but I can also tell you that I've been able to turn around and tell my audience have gotten these media placements anytime I've had a big pr feature and I've been able to email that to my list those air actually my highest open rate emails and my highest clicked through emails because my audiences like oh making got the straight media feature like I already know about her but this is really awesome because now the world is hearing about her too so it really helps kind of legitimized me for my audience and it just creates like a buzz in an energy it's bringing new people into your business all the time but the existing customers the existing fans existing audience they're saying like hey megan's doing really cool things and we want to be part of that we want to buy more even if it's not that particular product so it definitely has helped drive sales not always directly but certainly brought that energy up around my business yeah and it's good to hear you talk about that because I think it's important that we're honest about things like that you know sometimes you might be on a cover of a magazine and you still might not have the immediate boost you want so how can you leverage the pr and we'll be talking about that for sure more later in the course because it's so important it is it is definitely important so make it like how is it that you decide when you're organizing your pr like I'm going to do a pr push you're not doing it every day or every week right? So how do you decide that you're going to schedule that yeah so I actually sat down and I thought about how it is that I built pr into my business and I really kind of schedule it in three different ways s o the first one is that I would consider you know, kind of a strike while the iron is hot approach on and this is actually a couple different cases so you mentioned my before and after studio feature in design sponge actually consider that it kind of strike while the iron is hot so I had just renovated my studio, which is where I am now it's like a four to five months project on and I knew that I wanted to be featured in designs sponge that was one of my goals as I was finishing up the project but because I'm a creative who tends to be pretty messy let's be honest, I knew if I didn't photograph it and get that coverage right away, I might lose that window because suddenly everything was going to explode and it wasn't gonna be photo worthy s o that was a case where the timing was very much dictated by finishing that project getting it photographed because even though I submitted my own photographs I didn't know if grace from designs fudge was going to come back and say hey can you shoot something different she didn't but I wanted to be prepared for that so definitely thinking about opportunities when they come up is the first thing and another area and that kind of strike while the iron his hot is definitely thinking about trends so a really good example of that is new york fashion week is just starting and the beauty of the internet what's happening now is that I think I want to pinterest tomorrow and I can search for trends from new york fashion week and I can see what all the online sites are saying so I'm gonna be doing that in the next couple of weeks figuring out if any of those trends fit with my products so that I can then turn around and pitch those to the longley publications to the magazines because they're only gonna be talking about those trends for five or six months from now but I want to make sure that I'm taking advantage of them while people are talking about them so that's the first way that I build pr in on the second way is really around new product launches and for me a new product launches happen during trade show season and I know this is not the case for everyone for me I'm hitting the two major gift show trade show seasons which are january february and july august and even if you're not doing trade shows if you're a product person you should be aware of these timelines if you're stationary or home to cory should also be aware of the stationery show and I cff which is the international contemporary furniture fair those take place in mid may you want to know about the kind of major product launch times in your industry if your product person because that's when press is looking for new product so I definitely plan my product launches around those times of year and I do focus on press outreach I sit down I figure out who my media outlets they're going to be who I think I'm going to see if the shows but even if I'm not going to see them who I want to reach out tio so and that's a crazy time of year I know it's really stressful to be planning a trade show and doing press outreach but that's the reality of the game so I have to do it and then for me the third thing is that chunking out time when I'm home in when I'm not traveling for things that aren't time specific so this year one of my big goals is to work with mohr style bloggers and have more of them where and shoot my product so that's something that I am planning out chungking time for when I'm not traveling a lot because I don't want to send out a pitch and they hey do you want my product and then disappear for two weeks and now we're playing email tag and the knocking back to me so I do like to chunk out blocks of time when I'm home to do some of that outreach where I know I'm going to have to be sending out product and really kind of working with people for a couple of weeks straight that is so great because what you're doing is you're saying like I have this busy business to run you also have a life of personal travel schedule and so looking and saying like when is it time while I'm gonna have a couple of weeks at a time or even a month where I'll be responsive and planning it that way so just looking at your calendar it looks like we have a couple questions for you are a melissa meghan symbolises air you know it's awesome yeah I had a question about thie the pr that you do around the time of the trade shows are you reaching out during those months or like six months before that? No so that's a great question I'm actually reaching out during a trade show so in usually the week before on dh then actually during the shows because then they're going to be writing about that in the four to six months after the show so I'm not pitching in this case trade publications I pitching consumer publications who are going to the show's looking for the trends and then writing articles about them and that's actually how that elle decor piece happened I had sent them some information I'd send them a pitch before the show but that I talked teo the reporter during one of the trade shows and then they wrote the article on request damages and wrote the article after the show and we actually have a product that we collaborated on that when I sell that's a trade show publicity secrets it's like a thirty dollar audio guide in pdf on exactly how to do that so it's a little bit outside of the scope of what we're doing in simple pr because it's a very focused in topic it only works if you're doing wholesale trade shows but if you are it's an amazing opportunity to network with journalists so but what megan's talking about here is reaching out to people connecting with them at the shows and it's a really smart super smart approach if you're doing trade shows I wanted to ask you may like you talked about batch ing out time so when you have let's say a product launch coming up how much time are you spending on doing your pr outreach? What should people expect you know for me it's usually like I have two batch out an afternoon where I go to the bookstore and I get away you know I have this beautiful studio space and what I've learned about myself is that things that require focused computer time cannot happen in the space designed for fun creative play making products so I like to batch out time for myself I usually give myself like an afternoon where I'm going to hold up in a bookstore and actually look at magazines and even though I have a really good idea now whom I target media outlets are still like to go and I kind of keep up on that because I like to know what the trends are like to see you know, media turns over so quickly I just like to see what's going on so I'll give myself at and then I try to block out you know at least a solid probably two more mornings one where I'm kind of like collecting contacts and then working on my pitch and then actually sending out the pitches and so for me sometimes you know that happens like in a hotel room before a trade show but I know I need to block out a couple of solid hours to actually send those pitches because I'm not sending the mass e mail even though the pitches might sound similar I'm still personalizing it to every media outlet, so we need to make sure I've got enough time to even just send you know, ten or fifteen really quality emails is going to take a good chunk of my day that is such a smart way and that's why I think organizing around product launches can be so useful because you have this very specific organizing principle where you're saying I have this new product coming out if you don't have product like physical product like megan does and you're annoyed idea person it's like what's the idea that I want to be pushing out there in this moment what do we want to be known for in this moments we have all these different messages so picking one or picking one service that you can organize around and then it can give your research a lot of focus and a great place for you to get started and this process of you know, spending some time doing the research like half a day and then spending another half a day digging in a little bit more maur and getting your pitch is ready and then half a day just to make sure you're not rushing as you're sending your emails out and making mistakes right? You know you were really I do really want to make sure I'm taking my son because I hate to send an email of someone and realized I put the wrong name on there you all those details do really matter so I definitely want to make sure I've got the time to do that well, great! I don't want to open it up for questions for meghan and I know you can send it submit them in the chat box and I know we have more questions here in the studio audience because you have this insight that it's harder for it's a little harder for me to provide and I'm actually not a plan ary guys like that so thats what I have maggie for who does her account she's the one who does the scheduling so I'm not really the person to talk about scheduling things for so what are the questions we have for meghan yeah melissa yeah so talking about you're checking out time when you're not away on trips to dio you're spending you know, an afternoon in a bookstore and a couple mornings to work on your pitch how how frequently do you do that? You know it it really depends on what my goals are and you know what I'm trying to do I'd love to say that I do that quarterly but the real answer is that if I get in like one or two times a year that's probably what it is and that's outside of the trade shows things so I'm not doing that like every week or every two weeks but once or twice a year I really want to make sure I'm doing that so that I'm always least building some momentum for my business hey great why do you keep up with people on twitter like bloggers are on pinterest I know you're a big fan of interest so I'm a big fan of pictures and I'm also a big fan of instagram so actually because what I do is so visual I'm really working on connecting with people more on instagram so I started actually really using that as a place to find and locate style bloggers that I think have a similar target audience to me so that's for me were really where I'm keeping up with media and it's not because I don't like twitter it's just because the visual mediums are so important to me but I also do have a secret board on pinterest you're right I am a huge pinterest man on and so I do have to have a secret board on interest where I keep media outreach ideas so if I'm on pinterest or even I'm just on the web and I see that article and I think like hey, that could be me I pin it to that secret board so that when I am actually sitting down and doing my research I've got all these things pinned to my secret board and it's a really easy place to start them cash that's such a great because so many of us are visual you know we think in visual ways were visual learners categories and information and make it actually has a course you're uncreative live on pinterest so because she's a huge fan of it it's an amazing way to build your business to connect what kind of questions we have coming in the chat room a big audiences always for meghan online magnets really great to see you looking really well that was that was indeed a fantastic course on pinterest bless all the host made that one anyway time capsule time capsule is asking megan what kinds of things would you include in the press kit for a trade show do you ever send product as part of your press press kit? Oh that's a great question so no, I never send product but if you're at a trade show you absolutely want to dio a paper press kit this is probably maybe bridget can back me up one of the only times or paper press kit is still used on that's because at a trade show you might have a couple thousand boots but you may only have a a few hundred people putting a press kit in the press office, which is where the press stops. So I always make sure that I've leased got, you know, a current line sheet with an m s r p I might have some recent press in there and usually a bio something that tells a good story about myself, so make sure I always stick a couple of those in the press office but never product because actually the journalists allowed times aren't allowed to keep them and they'll just end up with an intern. Yeah, and we did that we have another course of the program or catalogue simple pr for your product and we have a whole segment on how you can put a press together and we focus on digital press kits in that program but if you're doing trade shows and you want to have a physical kit it's exactly the same information so that's a great resource for you there follow up from maxie because I think you've answered half of because they're they're already curious about their product but they actually want to reach celebrities now in that case is it better to us and physical product that you know that when I can't really speak to but my understanding of all of this is that you don't really want to send a physical product unless you've been asked because it's just going to end up going to the assistant the intern sending actual product is not for the most part not going to get in the hands of the person that you wanted teo yeah that's a tricky one celebrities that are a little bit different and if you want to reach celebrities the best way to get product them is to reach out to their agents and often even do web searches to find out who the agents are for celebrities but I really don't think sending product out into the abyss it's just a great way to throw your product away so I don't think you're gonna get a lot of bang for your buck there agreed that makes perfect sense now we have a question that from robin carlene meghan do you do everything yourself or do you have staff consultants or help s o I d'oh that's a great question so I do a lot of what we're talking about here ourselves I am very lucky in that bridget is a dear friend of mine so occasionally I will trade bridget a little bit of jewellery for a little bit of just contact a little bit of actually just contact pulling so what I'll do is I'll sit down I'll figure out who my ideal media targets are for campaign and I'll send that list to bridget and she'll actually pass it along to maggie who will pull a list for me so that is one thing that does save me a little bit of time but other than my employees that work some production for me I do all of this myself because I am a control freak and I can't let go but it works it works for me so can't studio audience here yes jen because I took your class and I have tripled my traffic just from pinterest I cannot thank you enough and tell everyone out there it is of course to buy for sure has made amazing testimony and then I found bridget so it's a win win impressive comment from karen's camera says mega centris course was amazing it's been such a help to me in ways to use it creatively and product productivity to grow my business thank you megan that came from karen so wonderful well ast we wrap this are there any final parting words or tips and of course you have to let us know I know I sure in beginning but where to find you where you wanna be connecting with people yeah so I think my final tip is really just to make sure that when you're doing pr outreach that you're not doing it for vanity especially if you're running your own business like I don't have time to chase being at a publication just because it'd be really cool to say I've been in that publication you really have to know what your goals are and I think what bridget's teaching here is amazing for that you know really knowing what your goals are and making sure you're going after the media outlets that are going get you to those goals and not just the ones they're gonna look really cool to your friends even though that's so tempting you don't want to do that go for the ones that are going to help you get your goals because you do have limited time uh so yeah, that would be my kind of last piece of advice you confined me online my website for my products is meghan almond dot com on and I am at meghan almond literally on everything on pinterest on instagram, on twitter on facebook. Andi would also find me at designing an mba where I have a number of business courses, and you can find me on creative lives. So when you're done watching bridget's class, you could actually head over to the craft and maker channel. I've got a couple of classes there as well. Awesome. Thank you so much, megan. I know that I always like I'm amazed by the work that you're doing, and I know everybody here is getting a lot out of it, too, so, thanks so much for joining us. Well, thank you for having me. Okay, so listen to meghan. I'm just really curious to hear, like, what kind of thoughts are you having about how you might be organizing your first campaign? She talked about blocking out times, that psycho case. Maybe over the next four weeks, I could block out a morning a week to just sort of start to put things together. Yeah, it's, really nice to get that on your calendar, to give yourself the accountability, to do it and do it on a schedule that works for you. I mean, megan talks about how she travels a lot, and so she builds it around her travel schedule in her whole sailing schedule. But you know what? Workflow works for you, too, and so finding those natural rhythms and creating accountability systems and schedules that work within your own kind of systems. Yay us. Just the whole idea of not doing pr for vanity so maybe not going for local tv or something that is kind of cool to tell your friends that you're gonna be on tv but if it's not strategic it doesn't make sense yeah and that's going back to our second lesson right where we had that chart that showed you which kind of media outlets are the best types for the different kinds of results you want to get so if you use that is just a general guide to help plan that can really help you steer clear of things that might feel really good in terms of like really brag worthy and there is something to be said for that you know she talked about getting energy getting momentum getting confidence but not letting yourself get so sucked into that then that you're building a campaign for the wrong reasons awesome well what I love to see now is if you decide on a focal point for your first campaign so do you have a launch coming up do you have a specific message that you want to be organizing your campaign around this way we can take the learnings that we've already done and really get them in a place where you can start to take concrete actions on it I said set aside two hours a week prepare your materials but maybe that's not the right amount of time for you so just making a commitment with that isthe. I would love to know, like who has an idea right now of what your first pr campaign will be organized on what is going to be the focal point for you, tash, others thing, mother's day, that is a great one, that is a really great opportunity. Perfect. Many others were opening built that's. Don't sit, you have a deadline s now, almost there in that situation where we have a deadline, but, like tosh picking mother's day, you are creating a deadline for yourself, right? So you have something that makes a perfect gift. The perfect, customizable gift you've looked at that you've created deadline. You have a firm one, so you know what you need any others. I definitely think I want teo look at all of the opportunities year round and pick three to five during the year and then scope out those sort of three or five focused messages and then which is our next part is creating that you're a planner tio you're like the opposite personality for me on that on I love it because that is going to serve you so well and doing your pr outreach I mean it's why I haven't account director for our clients that's not my personality melissa what about you well I also want to create a calendar but I did a google search over lunch khan I think it was uh getting creatively unstuck and a whole bunch of media outlets popped up that looked like they may be great fits for me with articles that made me go oh I should have you know that should be me so I'm going to target those so why getting creatively unstuck why is that your first message you're starting with well I was thinking about my you know my messages I'm on a mission to empower people to feed their creative hungers and I think that for a lot of people that maybe still is a little bit of a mushy message so kind of at the heart of that are one of the pain points around that is a feeling of being creatively stuck or creatively blocked and so that seems like a very specific message that justice it's specific piece of my overall brand message that makes sense for me to get my you know get the word out basically yeah that's great I love because you started out with a few different messages and then you did it a bit of research to think about where is the best opportunity to start and build that ma momentum and so you can build a plan now around that group of messaging and move on to another one when do you think you're going to start going out there with the pitches were oh well I mean I've been already been guessed blocking a lot so I see you're ready you're awesome that's grey any other campaigns lady is saying well I've got a summer event that is setting up for their boutique law so they got to really focus on that right now right scorpio very intriguing same or mother stays her next focus but then a secret project I'm working on two well your aunt kathy nearly says I will focus my campaign on my services as a writer of automated e mails for female business owners and their importance in building relationships with potential clients and they've got a very specific task they've set themselves that is really good it can be so great you know there is a challenge I think for some of us who are in these industries where we don't necessarily have deadlines I mean I'm kind of in that space, you know, for me to organize a campaign and do outreach, I don't necessarily have something that's, super time sensitive. And so this idea of picking one message or one audience that you want to dio another thing you could do if you d'oh marketing online. If you do information marketing or consulting is, you can actually organize a campaign around pushing whatever it is that you might have set up for an email. Opt in so that's. Another way to think about this. If you have a piece of content, you can actually support that with your first campaign and messages. So if you're looking to do lists building, if that's one of your big goals, you can actually think about what isthe my opt in what's the message that goes there and then set some goals for yourself and its schedule on promoting that. So that could be a really effective way if you're a copywriter, if you're a marketer to organize that campaign, when you don't have the firm deadlines that people with launches d'oh.