Public Relations

Press Press and more Press!

Posted by at 11 May, 2010, 7:28 am

What an exciting week this week!  The article in Inc. Magazine came out:

Mommy Millionaire interview part II and III went out, the interview with Hybrid Mom is up and I finally made it to Rachael Ray!!!  Okay, so I didn’t get asked to be on the show like I had dreamed of, but Grill Charm™ are in the June/July issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray!  I’m just so excited I can’t stand it!!  It’s very fitting that all this is coming out now, as I’m right in the middle of telling you how I do this stuff.  I’ll continue with more on “how to”.  (The Inc. article goes into some detail as well, but most of it you know, if you’ve been following me) 

 On with more “social media” and the new PR:

 Another trick of the trade in the 2.0 world of PR and marketing is “friend”, “fan”, “tweet” or reply to the blog of the contributors to your favorite shows and magazines.  They are much easier to access then going straight to Matt Lauer or the editor of Bon Appetite Magazine.  

Another true story:  through an urgent HARO tweet I was hooked up with a freelance writer who was working on a story for Health Magazine.  Her story (and subsequently mine) was published in the April issue.  Now she and I have become “friends”.  It’s not necessarily the editors that you want to get buddy buddy with because they work for 1 magazine.  Writers contribute to MANY media outlets (and they are a lot more accessible).  As a matter of fact THIS MORNING, I had an interview with the co reporter who worked on the Inc Magazine story because she was working on another story about podcasts and how to prepare for various media.  She saw that I had so much to say for the Inc. Magazine article, that she kept me in her rolodex and called me last week wanting to set up another interview for another story she was working on (which we did this morning while I was sitting in my minivan, as usual!)  Also, with a polite RT and @ mention on twitter to Food Network Canada, Grill Charms ™ were featured up there as well:

 BEWARE though!  DO NOT STALK!! (or even appear to be stalking!)  I always conduct myself with “charm”, grace (well….my “grace” is variable…., I’ll admit I can be rough around the edges, but that’s only AFTER you get to know me !), and the utmost respect of ones privacy.  I throw out a line or two to a person and if they don’t bite, I can take a hint and move on.  Some people use the “tenacious” approach, but I don’t really agree with that for me personally.  It’s not my style and I think it smells of desperation.  If you have a good story to tell and give them something they can use, if they can use it, they will. 

 Keep track of all your press mentions with Google alerts and post those mentions on your blog or news page with a link to the hit and by all means, Tweet and FB the link.  Press begets press.  It’s truly a snowball effect.  In your pitches to new media (as well as new and potential customers), make sure you mention your successes.  “Grill Charms™ (recently featured in EveryDay with Rachael Ray)……” is a GREAT opener!!  Have a great week folks, and we’ll talk more soon.  

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Media Coverage | Mompreneur Stories | Public Relations | Social Media | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Marketing and PR 24 / 7

Posted by at 19 April, 2010, 7:39 am

Here is a podcast I did the other day and in true “Mompreneur” style, I multitasked with the best of them!  To listen, go to  and find the one for 4/14.  My  segment is around minute 30.  The show was live and the show time was such that I would not have time to pick up my 7 year old from school if I did it from the office, so I went to her school early and sat in the carpool line to do the show.  You do what you’ve got to do right?! 

 I just got back from a cousins wedding in upstate New York and while up there, Canadian TV ran my episode of Shark Tank.  I started getting all these orders and wholesale requests from Canada and couldn’t figure out why!  Thank goodness for Twitter!  A Canadian follower filled me in.  I’m going to keep this blog post a little short because I just got back and have lots of work to do for our wonderful neighbors to the north.  Thanks for the support folks!

Okay, on to a little bit more about social media.  With social media you can immerse yourself in PR and Marketing 24/7!  IMO, The single best free PR tool you can have is HARO.  Help A Reporter Out.  For those of you not familiar, it is a free service where 3 times a day you receive information regarding stories that media of all kinds is working on.  The urgent queries are sent out via Twitter, @helpareporter.  I can talk all day about HARO, so if you want to know more about, we can talk after or just sign up and you will be amazed!

Something else I do, once a month I have in my favorites the web addresses for every major television show I want to appear on and just see if there is ANY possible way that I can any topic they are looking for.  They all have little sections on their websites usually entitled “be in the show”. 

Right now, The Bonnie Hunt show is looking for Kid Inventors

Ellen Degenerous wants to know if you have had a crazy hard sale find

Martha Stuart is looking for a guest with a “unique craft” that you can show her on the show.

Oprah is looking for folks to talk about how a past guest has changed their lives.

 The list goes on and on and on.   All of the things I am telling you now are what got me on ABC’s show Shark Tank, which ultimately pushed me into profitably in 2009, my second year on the market (which is almost unheard of)  I’ll tell you how it all came together. 

There was a show a while back called “The big idea with Donny Deutsch” which I watched religiously.  It was all about entrepreneurs and small business success stories.  On the show’s “be on the show” section of the website, it instructed viewers to send in a video about how the show helped you, which of course I did.  They loved the video, called me up and flew me to CNBC studios on two separate occasions to do segments on the show. 

Fast forward to this summer.   Out of the blue, I got an email from a producer with Mark Burnett productions saying they were shooting a new show for ABC.   He had been on the social networking site for small business (Start up nation) and saw that I had won Start up nation’s Home Based business of the year contest.   He went to my website and checkout of my “news page” which had a link to my YouTube account and my appearances on The Big Idea, liked what he saw, and the rest is history. 

 I’ve got more true life stories coming up next week… stay tuned ;)

 Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Media Coverage | Mompreneur Stories | Public Relations | Social Media | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Business and Pleasure

Posted by at 29 March, 2010, 4:21 pm

Hello folks!  I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to take a little break from my social media series that I’m doing because I’ve got other stuff to chat about.  I’ll get back on topic next week.  Well, I’m back from a week in of skiing with the family in Aspen/Snowmass CO and I’m refreshed and ready to work!  One of the reasons why many of us become entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs is because of the illusion of free time.  It’s ironic though, that once you do become an entrepreneur, no time is really “free”.  I’ve got some really good examples of this, both good and not so good.  A lot of work goes into gearing up for a vacation.  Before I got,  I try to tie up any loose ends I have out there so I can “not work” as much as possible.  There are always going to be things however that just can’t wait.  I did a great job of balancing that sometimes this past week, then a really crappy job other times.  You know me… I’m going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly!  

First of all the good.  While out there I received a call from Inc. Magazine saying they wanted to set up a photo shoot.  A few weeks ago I did an interview with a writer for a story on social media and how web 2.0 has somewhat evened the playing field for us small time entrepreneurs who don’t have $10,000 to spend on a fancy PR firm.  As with most media (and I’ve said this a million times) I don’t believe anything until I see it!  So even though we did an hour and ½ long interview, I still didn’t count on the article running.  While in CO, I got an email from the Photo Editor at Inc. wanting to set up a shoot!!  YIPEEE!!!  NOW it seemed like the article might run.  I explained that I was out of town until 11:45 Saturday night so we set it up for Monday morning!  (THIS morning!)  I’m not sure which are bigger… the bags I unpacked from skiing or the ones under my eyes, but regardless, the shoot was fun!  (Come on photo shop!!!)  :) The photographer came to my house and we did shots of me in my little rinky dink office as well as out back with the grill and my Grill Charms apron doing some grillin.  It was great!  I could have done without the gnats though… one actually got stuck in my lip gloss and we had to take a 5 min break to rescue him.  There was no hope.  (not that that bothered me, I had lost a pint of blood by the time it was all over)  The article is supposed to run in the May or June issue.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Next good thing that happened during vacation was I received a call from a great store / customer of mine called Bibelot in St. Paul Minnesota.  Unbeknownst to me, they submitted some of their grilling gadgets during the appropriate time on the editorial calendar to “Every Day with Rachael Ray”. I think you know where I’m going right?  The buyer called and said that Grill Charms made the final cut for the June / July issue!!  She had already put in her reorder for the season, but now with this new information, she quadrupled it!  So if you live in the St. Paul MN area, be sure to stop by Bibelot and say hi :)

Now I’m going to give you a real live example of how I DID NOT manage my entrepreneurial duties well.  I know full well that I really shouldn’t be saying this to a gazillion friends and strangers all over the internet, but I haven’t ever held back about mistakes I’ve made in the past and I’m not going to start now.  So…. Out there on the mountain internet service (well…not so much service, but a combination of service and my ancient lap top) made it…. Well…. Let’s just say “not ideal” conditions to work.  I also promise my husband to try not to work too much while we go on family vacations, so I only did what was truly necessary.  (Keep in mind, thanks to my wonderful warehouse and fulfillment center Trending Solutions orders ALWAYS go out, so not to worry about that!)  Before I had left, I had been working with a new account.  And I’ll just tell it like it is…. It is FrontGate.  Yep, Frontgate!  HUGE right?!  We’ll… I had been approved as a vendor a while back and had a note to check back with them sometime mid April if I didn’t hear from them.  So… while on vacation I get a fax in my inbox (electronically) and I couldn’t see who it was from, so in trying to keep with my promise to not work to hard, it was one of the emails I ignored until I got back.  When I opened it up, my heart sank!  It was the PO from Frontgate and ALL OVER IT, it said “PLEASE CONFIRM RECIEPT WITHIN 24 HOURS”.  It was even in BOLD!  Aggghhhh!!!!!!!  That was Thursday and OF COURSE, the second I read it, I faxed and emailed confirmation, but that was Sunday.  Today is Monday and I have not heard back as to my fate.  I was/am sooooo mad at myself!!!  So much for juggling business and pleasure well… I apparently SUCK at it!  Lesson learned.  From now on, at least OPEN every message!  The ship date for the PO isn’t until next week, so hopefully my slack @ss confirmation will be forgiven, but I could just kick myself for making such a bad impression on the first PO.  Agggghhhh!!!!  I physically wince when I think about it!  So there you go…. All my dirty laundry for the week.   Hopefully my successes this past week inspire you and my failures help you realize that we are all are human.  Ciao for now!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Media Coverage | Mompreneur Stories | Public Relations | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Build Your Own Mom Media List

Posted by at 19 November, 2009, 11:51 pm

One of the key components for getting PR is a Media List. After all, once you have your press release or story that you want to send to a reporter, how are you going to contact them?

Mom getting PR
A media list is simply a list of reporters, their contact information and the name of the magazine, newspaper or website that they write for. PR agencies and consultants can often charge upwards of a $1000 to create a media list for you.

Here’s how to build your own list in just 30 minutes a week or less.

• What do YOU read? List your favorite papers, magazines, websites and even TV and radio shows that may be interested in featuring your company.

• What do your customers read? If you can find just one website they are reading, chances are that website will have sponsors, partners or a resources page where you can find other media that your customers may be browsing. And so on, and so on.

• Who accepts submissions for new products? Most likely it will be a new products editor, news editor or in smaller publications, the editor-in-chief.

• Read the magazine and note if there is a columnist or reporter that is most likely to cover you for a feature story or interview.

If you do this every week, by the end of the year you will have built up 52 solid contacts that may be writing about your company.

Elena Verlee
PR in Your Pajamas: Practical Publicity for Mom Entrepreneurs

Category : PR Mom | Public Relations

Tonight’s the night!

Posted by at 29 September, 2009, 12:35 pm

Hello all! I hope you all have your DVR’s set for 8:00. The hype is pretty cool! They are leaking all kinds of little teasers. On Friday I appeared on a local TV show called LowCountry Live. Here is the clip from that:

Tonight I’ll be on twitter at #sharktank while the show is airing. I’m having my very closest friends and family around me to share in the moment. We are keeping it small because it’s going to be hard watching it. In case you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, this was all about Shark Tank and I couldn’t say anything:

I’ll be reliving “the event” for the 3rd time. It will be hard, but in a strange way, I feel closer to Pa when doing Shark Tank stuff. The two events are so intertwined for me that I can’t really separate the two. A physiatrist would have a field day with me!

So I have done all I can do. Every buyer I know has been made aware, every media outlet I can think of has been notified, and now it’s out of my hands. Hopefully my dream of having Grill Charms™ in every home with a BBQ is on its way to fruition! (Okay… so maybe that dream is a TAD bit lofty, but if you’re gonna dream, dream BIG right?!)

Tonight I’m going to try to tweet as much as I can live during the show. To follow I’m

The Sharks are

@ BarbaraCorcoran

You can join me tonight at #sharktank. If you don’t know much about twitter (and believe me, I’m no expert) and want to join in on the party, I’ll give you the REAL easy 411.

Sign up for an account at then go to and you’ll be asked “Hashtag to follow” and simply put sharktank. You will then be in on all conversations “shark tank”.

If I don’t see you tonight, I’ll write when I can REALLY talk about what happens in the tank! Start chumming the waters!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Media Coverage | Public Relations | Success Stories

Extending my 15 minutes

Posted by at 22 September, 2009, 11:42 am

It is so ironic…  Last week I was going to post an entry about the biggest lie in business and it related to Press and sales.  I’m going to post it now and hope beyond hope that the biggest lie turns out to in fact be the truth.  Here it goes:


“I’d like to share with you one of the biggest lies about business and a mistake that many new inventors and entrepreneur make. 


I naively thought (as you might too) that Press = sales.  That is simply not the case….unless maybe you get on Oprah.  PR is necessary and gives you the creditability to go GET the sales, but it is not the golden goose that newbie inventors and entrepreneurs think it is.   I thought that a few big newspaper articles, a national cable TV appearance and a few national magazines would mean life on easy street.  NOT SO!  There is no substitute for good ol’ fashion pounding the pavement.  Making sales calls is where my money comes from, not from an article in a magazine or a few appearances on The Big Idea.  Had I understood that sooner, I would have made a lot more sales calls early on and wouldn’t have been so preoccupied with the press.  New entrepreneurs think that there is some ”golden ticket” out there and I’m here to tell you, it’s a lie.  Don’t get me wrong, PR and marketing are important, but you have to understand what it is, what it does and how to use it to increase revenue.   It (in of itself) is NOT instant millions! Press alone does a lot more for your ego then it does for your bottom line. Now I might wind up eating my words someday and lord knows, I sure hope that day comes, but if you are looking for that 1 golden ticket or are basing your business plan on fame and not sales, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  I do what I do to keep my name in the media to continue to build brand awareness, but I no longer hold out for that “one big break”.  Sales Sales Sales is where my bread gets buttered. “


Since Shark Tank has come along, I have talked with some new friends who have been on the show the past few weeks and the ones I have talked to have said that being on the show (regardless of whether they got a deal or not) has been “life changing”.  Maybe, just maybe Oprah is not the only golden goose.  Regardless, I still stand by my original statement in that basing your business’s success on press is a BIG MISTAKE and in most cases, if you don’t parlay your media attention into something more then your 15 minutes, then you will be no better off a month down the road, then you were before you got your “big break”.  I can’t wait to put this little experiment to the test.  7 more days and counting!!!  Now, in order to maximize my 15 minutes and try to turn into 30, I am trying to do all the “right things” such as notifying other media, current customers, target customers and pie in the sky accounts as well.  The day after the show airs, my press release will go out to the media and I’m already setting up interviews with folks who have been there for me in the past.  I’m trying to do all the right things to make this attention do more then just flood my inbox with people wanting to know if I can get them on the show too or soliciting everything from closeout inventory offers to warehousing.  I do know one thing for sure…..  sitting back on my 15 minutes would be a HUGE mistake and it’s going to be my job to use the attention for what it is… a door to get more sales and not rely on it to bring sales all by itself.  In the days and weeks after the show, I will call every account I possibly can.  24/7 sales baby!  Then and only then, I think it will it be everything I hope it can be.   

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Marketing | Media Coverage | Public Relations

Shark Tank

Posted by at 13 September, 2009, 8:15 pm

Here are a few links and stuff for you:


If you have a small business or want to help one, here:


With October being Breast Cancer awareness month I have been sending out press kits to my “short lead media list” regarding The Pink Collection.  I have my media contacts in two categories.  My long lead which includes most magazines, and my short lead which includes newspapers, TV and radio.  The magazine’s editorial calendar is about 6-9 months out so I submitted my stuff to them around the first of the year for October.


Okay… enough small talk, I’M GOING TO BE ON ABC’S SHARK TANK!!!  OMG, that felt good!!  I have been holding that little secret in for MONTHS.  Well…. Not that I was going to be on, but that I even taped the show.  Up until you see yourself on the screen (which I did in the promo on tonight’s episode) there really is no guarantee that your segment will air.  Now that it’s “public knowledge” well…. It’s public knowledge.  It’s fun to follow the sharks on twitter. Sometimes you get an inside scoop!
@ BarbaraCorcoran


Also there is a show on TV LAND called “How’d you get so Rich”.   Joan Rivers is the host and she is HILLARIOUS! There are a few episodes where she features a few of the sharks. Just to get to know them better, check out this one to meet Robert Herjavec


This one to meet Kevin O Leary:

I’m hoping she’ll do the other sharks too in upcoming episodes.


Now whether I sink or swim in the Shark Tank, you just have to tune in and see.  I am still not 100% certain when my segment will air.  I’ll let you know as soon as I know.  I’ll be back again soon!


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Marketing | Media Coverage | Public Relations | Success Stories

4 Ways to Get Raving Fans

Posted by at 9 September, 2009, 2:47 pm

A customer testimonial is key in a PR program because it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.

Customers raving about your company gives you third-party credibility – which is so important for small businesses. Potential buyers are more likely to believe a customer talking about their experience than a slickly written brochure or ad. A testimonial tells other people that they can trust your business and that you offer a quality product or service.

So how do you get them?

1. Make it easy for them to say Yes

Most people hate writing so non-urgent tasks will get put on the bottom of their list. You’ll have to make it so simple, they have to say yes. See if anyone has emails to you with something nice to say and ask if you can use it.

2. Ask them a few questions by email or phone, such as:

• What did you like about our product or service?

• How can we make it even better?

• Would you recommend our company to others?

3. Offer a freebie

If they’re already fans of your company, they’d love more of your stuff! Offer a few customers a freebie (pick some you’ve already interacted positively with) to answer the questions listed above.

4. Ask your friends and supporters

If your business just got off the ground or haven’t made any sales yet, let several of your friends try your product or service for free. If they honestly like it, ask them if they’ll write a testimonial you can use in your marketing. To be really useful, pick those that are in your target market.

I know it may be hard to ask, but in my experience, most people are incredibly helpful and more than willing to give testimonials to help you succeed in getting PR for your company. Of course, always make sure you ask permission to use someone’s testimonial in your marketing materials!


PR for Moms Teleclasses

5 Reasons to Coach With Me

Category : Growing Your Biz | Public Relations

Free Call on How to Do PR for Mompreneurs

Posted by at 29 July, 2009, 3:58 pm

I held a teleclass with another mom yesterday, and boy was that fun. There’s nothing like connecting live, with other mom entrepreneurs and working through marketing challenges together.

So since I get so much out of it, I’m going to be selfish here and host another class and you’re invited! ;-) The best part is, it’s free! Will you join me?

And as owner of an international PR firm for 10 years now, working with big name corporate clients, I do know this stuff!

Getting PR can help drive traffic to your website and generate big-time sales. After selling my own e-commerce company – all because of PR – my new found passion is to help other mompreneurs and smaller businesses get the publicity that your great companies deserve.

Register for this free call here:
How to Do Your Own PR

This class is for you if you’re a mompreneur who wants to save money by doing your own PR and just need a little help getting started.

Even if you already have my PR in Your Pajamas ebook, I guarantee you’ll get something valuable from this call.

Here is that link again:
How to Do Your Own PR

See you on the call!

PR in Your Pajamas – Practical Publicity for Mom Entrepreneurs

Category : Public Relations

PR Headlines That Get You Noticed

Posted by at 14 July, 2009, 10:34 am

I always start with the headline first when writing media pitches or press releases. Doing so helps keep me focused on the main point I want to get across and also, an interesting headline will mean the difference between a journalist opening your email and/or reading the rest of your story pitch.

Remember that reporters are busy and receive hundreds of emails, voice messages and requests for their time. Here are four headline ideas for pitching a reporter on your business that will get you noticed:

1. News Headline – remember that this has to be timely and news-worthy. Examples are when you first launched a new product, awards for your company, or company milestones.

  • Babyclothing company launches spring clothing line only in the color green
  • You awarded World Mompreneur of the Year Award

2. How to Headline – this type of headline gives a promise that you are going to teach something. You can use a basic a structure such as “How to (Do something) That (will give you this benefit).

  • How to Get Your Kids to Sleep Through the Night in 7 days
  • How to Start A Mom Entrepreneur Business That Earns Six Figures in the First Year And Still Maintain Your Sanity

3. Question Headline – for this to work, it must be a question that the reporter’s audience (and therefore your target market) would really like to see answered.

  • Do employers really know what moms are looking for in the workplace? (this could be the result of a survey, which can be an effective PR tactic especially for start up businesses in a crowded marketplace)
  • What are the Top 5 Business Models for a Mompreneur Business

The last example combines a question and my favorite type of headline…

4. List Headline – who doesn’t love a top 10 list? This type of headline lists a number of ways where you make a specific promise of what to expect if they read on and communicates information in bite-sized chunks.

  • The 10 Must-Do “Date-Nights” for Families
  • 8 Lessons from a Life Coach

So take a few minutes now (yes, now!) and brainstorm the types of headlines above that you can tailor to your business. Send a pitch today, and let me know if you get a media hit!

Elena Verlee
PR in Your Pajamas - Do-it-yourself Publicity for Mom Entrepreneurs

Category : Press Releases | Public Relations