Love Letters | Testimonials as a Two-Way PR Tool

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One of our most successful PR campaigns was written by our client's patrons. We asked them to write love letters. With the writing prompt: "Why I Love My Library" and red heart-shaped notes, patrons of all ages penned their own love story. Then, they were free to post their note anywhere. Walking into a library lit up with love attracted papers, photographers - and patrons. In the spirit of Valentine's Day why not write your own love note?

Here's how. . .

Refreshing Reruns is a series that goes back to the archives and then takes the forward view of what's to come.

This article originally appeared on March 7, 2007 in a bit of longer format. Updates in italics. redonwhitehearts

Whenever I think my experience can help someone make a better decision, learn something new or contract with an industry leader, I often email a quick testimonial, send off a video or step out in front of a video camera to give them a snapshot of my story they can use in their marketing.

Every day you come in contact with someone who can promote your business - for free. All you have to do is tell them a story about your experience with their product or service and they'll be happy to relay it to others as a testimonial. Remember, it works both ways. When you give a testimonial, you may be asked back to talk about your experience and your results must match your testimonial.

Step One: Short and Sweet Review

All you need to do is write up a short and sweet review. Keep it quick and stick to one main point summarized in a few sentences. Mention your expertise in a quote like this:

"As a __________, I found your suggestion about __________ to be a key piece of information I needed to _____________________."

Step Two: Record it

Video or audio testimonials leave a longer lasting impression than written words. Offer to record your testimonial or just hand it over.

Step Three: Power Signature

Whenever you send a testimonial, include a power signature. Go beyond your name and include any relevant information that supports your connection to the audience: your company name, appropriate title [for some you may be president, others a speaker or a consultant] and your website. Sending your photo along connects your name with your face. Add a list of your online connections such as Blog Catalog, LinkedIn, Facebook, FastCompany, MyBlogLog and Technorati.

Step Four: Send it

Sending the testimonial on your letterhead with a signature is the most formal approach and is the best when your letter will be displayed. Follow up with an email that includes an audio or video attachment. Give them approval to use your testimonial, image and media in their press releases, on their site, at their business and in any of their marketing materials.

Step Five: Take Action

Now that you know how to write and package testimonials, here are a few ways to take action today.

Send a follow up email to a speaker after a presentation summarizing your top takeaways or write a blog post with images.

Look in your inbox and find an ezine you like, choose to respond to an article with a comment and testimonial on how much you enjoy each issue.

Pick out a few products you enjoy using, look up the company's contact information and let them know how their products make your life better.

Offer to be a spokesperson - either paid or unpaid.

Track the links from online mentions to your site[s] and blog[s] to measure your success.

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"Ever wish you could get your name in the news but didn't think you had a news-worthy story to tell? It's my job to help you do just that!" Barbara Rozgonyi, founder of CoryWest Media, creator of Panoramic PR, producer of Ultimate PR Secrets

An in-demand publicist and marketing communications consultant since 1990, Barbara Rozgonyi is grounded, edgy and prophetic. The founder of CoryWest Media, Barbara's project experiences range from producing projects for a Fortune 100 CEO to writing press releases for every new business in her village. "Panoramic PR," Barbara's latest project, compresses everything she knows into an affordable, manageable course that teaches small business owners, entrepreneurs, authors, experts, coaches and anyone else who wants more free publicity how to get completely covered by being fully exposed.

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