“Starting a business can mean spending a lot more money than you ever planned,” says Christina Daves of CastMedic Designs. “I had no money left for marketing, so I Googled ‘free publicity’ and HARO popped up.”
Since that day, the Vocus publicity alerts service has got Cast Medic onto national TV and helped to multiply its sales tenfold.
CastMedic Designs has a unique product and compelling story. Inspired by Christina’s own frustration of having a broken foot in fashion-conscious New York City, the business makes accessories that glamorize medical walking boots. However, it had no budget for publicity.
“I really didn’t know what to expect from HARO,” Christina says. “I just knew I couldn’t afford a PR firm.”
She began using the free publicity service every day, scanning through its list of fresh source requests sent by reporters, bloggers, and media outlets, and answering the ones that seemed relevant to her story.
Christina’s business was soon featured in several publications, including a story on Examiner.com about how her product fits a trend in the healthcare industry. Another story in American Express Open Forum used Christina as a source for a story about companies who hire social media managers.
Christina saw positive results from those stories and hunted for even more publicity. In October, she responded to a query that asked, “Do you have a product that you want to take to the next level?”
The query turned out to be from the talk show Steve Harvey.
The show’s producers were planning an episode called “Steve’s Top Inventor.” After a lengthy interview process, Christina was on her way to Chicago for a spot on national television with five other entrepreneurs and inventors.
In addition to the publicity she earned (the show has an average of 1.7 million daily viewers), the show’s judging panel picked CastMedic Designs as their top invention and awarded Christina $20,000 to jumpstart her business.
“I was screaming,” Christina recalls. “I was so excited. I’m in a limousine screaming to my husband, ‘Oh my gosh! I won 20,000 dollars!’ I was over the moon.”
“Steve Harvey ran another segment on November 30th and that was pretty much an infomercial for my product,” she says. “The following weekend was huge. I had orders coming in nonstop!
“When I started my business, sales were slow so I’d put an alert on my phone. I turned it off because sales were coming in so fast that my phone was ringing all the time. My sales actually increased tenfold following the show.”
As well as increased sales, Christina is now finding it easier to generate more publicity for her business. “I’m credible now. People who wouldn’t talk to me before, like people from national magazines or my local NBC station, now call me for meetings.”
“Nothing has been like what I got out of HARO,” she says. “I went from nothing to national television and I envision a lot more success with it in the future.”