Huggies Grant Winner Talks How To’s of Media Coverage

I am loving the Huggies MomInspired blog. Grant winners are submitting valuable information and resources for aspiring mompreneurs or moms who already have a product on the market. Posts are covering everything from patents and trademarks to the “how-to’s” of launching a product. Here’s the latest post on handling press coverage, by PsiBands inventor Romy Taormina:

Riding A Windfall: How to Make the Most of Media Exposure

As a small product-based business how do you prepare for a big national television appearance?  A national TV appearance is a dream come true for any product-based entrepreneur. While it may prove to be fabulous, it doesn’t come without lessons learned. So how do you prepare for such national exposure? What can you do to maximize the opportunity and minimize mistakes? Huggies MomInspired Grant winner Romy Taormina, co-founder and Nausea Relief Chief for Psi Bands (www.psibands.com), has been through it and wants to share what she did – and didn’t – do right in order to leverage the opportunity.

romy psibands pr

Psi Bands has enjoyed a fair amount of media exposure over the past several years that ranged from features in our local newspaper to major national exposure like my recent appearance on ABC’s huge hit show Shark Tank. No matter the level of media exposure or the market size, there are a few tips I have learned from my experiences.

My Top Tips for Leveraging Media Exposure:

Manage your inventory. Inventory management is always somewhat of a guessing game, even when it’s your best educated guess. Throw some national exposure into the mix, now we really have to put on our guessing/thinking caps.  And sometimes you may not even have time to prepare for the sales that may come as a result of this exposure because it may be a last-minute opportunity. However, when you do have time to prepare, evaluate your inventory to determine if you can or will press the green light on manufacturing. Do you have the cash to finance the additional inventory to fund the sales that MAY happen as a result of your exposure? How much viewership does the show you will be on have? Are you the focus of the interview or is your product? How much on-air time will you have? Is your product something that has universal appeal/just to one gender? These are all variables into what the sales MIGHT be. In the case of my Shark Tank appearance, I filmed approximately 6 months before my on-air date. Certainly enough time to build more inventory. However, I didn’t know two things: 1) IF I would air; and 2) if I did air, I didn’t know when. After our risk analysis, we made the choice to invest because if we had not, it would have meant lost sales, upset customers, and upset retailers. For us, pressing the green light on manufacturing more product was worth the possible downside of having to sit on that inventory for longer than desired if we didn’t air.

Push through the fear. It’s not easy to put yourself out there. You are exposing yourself to others – everyone has their opinion and some like to express it so they feel heard. While the good feedback feels good, the bad feedback, of course, does not. One must have a backbone and be willing to “let go” of the critical input that has no relevancy to you or your business. If it is constructive feedback, absolutely be open to it. One great way to manage this feedback is to have someone ELSE, a trusted employee (or anyone for that matter that you trust and who is willing to serve in this role), monitoring the social platforms and your public business email address. Let that trusted person be your gate-keeper to monitor what you need to see vs what you don’t. You, as the business owner, need to be focused on growing your business and moving forward, not getting bogged down with others’ opinions that have no benefit to your company.

Know your messages(s). There is always going to be, “I wish I said this” or “I wish I had not said that.” For example, during my recent appearance on The Jeff Probst Show which focused on different ways to take a product idea and monetize on that idea, I wished I had provided some entrepreneurial resources earlier in my discussion as these networks have been so valuable to me and I wanted others to know about them. While I brought them up later in the appearance, it was edited out due to lack of time. Lesson #1: if you have something important to say, say it earlier rather than later.  Lesson #2: Try to be “ok” with the outcome. These types of lessons only serve to help in the future.

Practice in front of the camera. Have someone else film you in advance. Do some practice runs. Notice what you are doing well and what you are not doing well. If you have some nervous twitch, say “um” or “you know” too many times, or just don’t look put together, you have some practicing to do or fixes you can make. When I was on QVC a few years ago, it was my first national TV appearance. After that appearance one of my employees said to me that I needed to wax my arms. Of course QVC was doing close-ups of my arms because I was wearing my product, Psi Bands. While it was not something I wanted to hear, it was something I needed to hear. So, arm hair waxing is now always a must-have before any major TV appearance. You are not going to notice this kind of thing unless you get yourself on the camera and pay attention to what is and what is not working about how you look, speak, and move.

Good luck to everyone who has the product, the message, and the tenacity to go out there and get the attention of the media. It’s not always easy, so please keep in mind, “no” often really means “not right now.”

Romy Taormina is Co-Founder and Nausea Relief Chief of Psi Bands (www.psibands.com), and a 2011 Huggies MomInspired Grant Awardee. Psi Bands are stylish, drug-free acupressure wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to morning sickness, motion sickness, chemotherapy, and anesthesia. Romy has appeared on Shark Tank and The Jeff Probst Show. She and/or her product also have been featured on Good Morning America, QVC, and The Rachael Ray Show. Psi Bands also have been featured in several national publications including O-The Oprah magazine which called Psi Bands “grace under pressure,” and Entrepreneur magazine which dubbed Psi Bands a “Stroke of Genius.”

 

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