the complete guide to success story marketing

13 No-Cost PR Sites Reviewed by MarketingSherpa

Author: ; Published: Oct 31, 2008; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: None; No Comments

Customer case studies and success stories are compelling content for busy editors and writers at print and online publications. But when distributing press releases that capture those customer stories, what’s the best site, and how much do you need to pay for a good press release distribution service?

I was excited to see that MarketingSherpa has reviewed 13 different no-cost PR distribution sites. Right now, this article is open access, but I’m not sure how long it will stay open. Check it out now to find the sites that fit your needs best.

Recording Interviews: My Setup

Author: ; Published: Oct 28, 2008; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: , ; 7 Comments

Recording

Chances are, most of your customer interviews are by phone. For me, it's 99% of all interviews for case studies and success stories.

I occasionally get questions about how I record interviews. I type my notes during the call and record calls digitally to have as a backup to verify information during the writing process - especially with complex technical subject matter.

It took me a while to find the right pieces of equipment to record calls with my hands-free phone. It comes down to these two pieces:

  • The VEC Telephone Record Adapter
  • Olympus Digital Voice Recorder

Both of these connect to my phone, allowing me to simply hit record anytime I'm on a call (after asking those on the call for permission).

You can find the adapter at http://www.nch.com.au/hardware/callrec.html. I got the recorder at Radio Shack. It works very smoothly!

Helping Veronica, and others in the developing world

Author: ; Published: Oct 15, 2008; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: , ; No Comments

blog action day

Like many 50-year-old women today, Veronica has children attending college, while at the same time, she must take care of her own aging parents.

Except Veronica, a seamstress, lives in Kenya, where unemployment is 40 percent.

Visiting a local market in Nairobi, she noted a number of women her age running their own businesses. Motivated, she decided to try it for herself. With a small amount of money from her husband, she rented a stall, and bought a sewing machine and materials to begin. She sews and sells clothing from her stall, and sells them in bulk to others for resale.

The business has taken off, and allows the family to put food on the table.

But sometimes, she is unable to meet her customers' demands due to lack of materials. Previously, she asked customers to pay a deposit to purchase the needed materials, forcing her customers to come up with extra cash before clothing is ready.

Recently, Veronica found assistance through Kiva.org, a nonprofit that facilitates micro-lending for entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Kiva empowers businesses and individuals to loan money in increments as small as $25 directly to entrepreneurs in need around the world.

Kiva is also a great example of the power of stories, putting individual faces on the problem of poverty. You can read entrepreneurs' stories, and see their photos, and then choose which ones you would like to lend to. You can also learn about other lenders supporting the same entrepreneurs.

Started a few years ago, Kiva has lent more than $46 million from more than 347,000 lenders.

Veronica requested an $800 loan and received the total from 24 different Kiva lenders. Now, she's in the process of paying the loan back over the course of a year. Once she pays it back, those lenders are refunded or can choose to loan the money again to another entrepreneur.

It's a powerful and rewarding way to help real people in faraway places.

Note: Kiva.org has had such demand recently, that all requested loans MAY have been funded already when you check the site. But the organization is continuously adding new entrepreneurs through partners in developing countries. You can donate to Kiva directly or check back for new entrepreneurs.

Customer Signoff: What Works?

Author: ; Published: Oct 13, 2008; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: None; No Comments

For years I've watched companies struggle with customer signoff on case studies. It's an inevitable part of the process, if you're featuring your happy customers by name.

I've always seen the options as two-fold:

1. An informal email approval - Not a big legal form but still some proof

2. The big legal release form - Written and reviewed by attorneys on both sides

But a client of mine has created a refreshing alternative - an approval letter.

The friendly letter thanks the customer for participating, reminds them how the story will be used, and then asks the customer to sign it. I love this! It has the benefits of the two options above, without all the drawbacks.

Customers actually sign off but the letter is not such legalese that it absolutely has to go to the customer's legal department.

This got me thinking, have you seen other creative ways of obtaining signoff on customer success stories? What else are companies using today?

Why We Need Happy Stories More than Ever

Author: ; Published: Oct 10, 2008; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: , ; 3 Comments

happy people

I try to read the newspaper every day, keep up with news online, and watch a nightly newscast. But these days, they leave me craving something positive. Give me a nice panda bear story - anything to make us feel better.

It's impossible to escape the constant flow of bad news right now, even if you tried.

What's the antidote? Success stories.

While we can't control global financial markets, we can produce our own good stories. Capturing customer success stories serves two important purposes right now:

- Keeps us focused on what's positive. If you're spending your efforts capturing and publicizing your success stories, then you spend less of your time and energy on worry.

- Keeps prospects and customers more focused on the positive outcomes of investing in products and services, rather than worrying about the upfront costs. Tough times call for even more evidence that solutions deliver what they promise.

So, go find, tell and celebrate your success stories.