The last few days of the Lactivist project were going to be all about wrapping up plans for my press release and solidifying my ongoing marketing plans. That meant day twenty-eight was spent reviewing the final press release copy, making plans for distribution, and exploring a new marketing outlet that might have potential.

(If you're just catching up with this series of articles, be sure to swing into the ongoing discussion thread at the Small Business Ideas forum. You'll be able to link to each day's article and participate in the discussion going along with it.)

Stats:

  • Traffic Since Stats Put in Place: 5556 unique visitors
  • Blog Traffic Since Stats Put in Place: 1502 unique visitors
  • TheLactivist.com Traffic: 1340 unique visitors
  • Total Shirt Sales: $570.57
  • Profit from Shirt Sales: $123.00
  • Profit from Affiliate Sales: $141.05
  • Total AdSense Revenue: $68.98
  • Total Chitika Revenue: $4.89
  • Ebay Sales Profit: $3.00
  • Total Revenue: $340.92

  • -----------------------------------------------
  • Donations to Milk Bank: $4.00
  • Ebay Listing Fee: $2.15
  • PayPal Fees: $1.02
  • Hosting Expenses: $14.96
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing Fee: $5.00
  • cpshop Purchase: $19.77
  • MSN adCenter Sign up: $5.00
  • Total Business Expenses: $51.90

  • -----------------------------------------------
  • Total Profit: $289.02

Finishing Up Plans for the Press Release

Copywriter Karon Thackston and PR Guru Amy Hooker had been working on my press release for about two weeks by this point and after a few rounds of edits and input from me, we finally had something ready to go. As I'd discussed earlier in the series, the plan of action was for the press release to focus on the humorous side of the shirts and their ability to be used to spark discussion about a controversial topic: breastfeeding in public. The release featured quotes from myself as well as from the director of the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio.

It reads as follows:

New Web Site Launched to Raise Breastfeeding and Milk Bank Awareness
Irreverent slogans highlight serious subject, raise awareness and funding for breast milk banking and breastfeeding issues.

Columbus, OH (PRWEB) December 28, 2005 - Writer and breastfeeding mother Jennifer Laycock today announced the launch of The Lactivist, a new web site aimed at raising both funds and awareness for breast milk banking and breastfeeding advocacy. Selling t-shirts with witty slogans like "nip/suck," "That's my baby's lunch you're staring at," and "My baby thinks I'm boobylicious!", The Lactivist store takes a humorous and oftentimes irreverent approach to a subject that is still a source of great controversy in the US.

"In my own situation, my mind was set on breastfeeding, but nobody told me how difficult it would be," admitted Jennifer. "I did a lot of reading and decided even before Nora (Jennifer's daughter) was born that I wanted her to get the full benefits of my breast milk. I got involved with my local breast milk bank when I realized I had extra milk that I'd pumped and that my milk could actually help others who were unable to produce milk for their babies."

Jennifer, who has already donated more than 27 gallons of her breast milk, is now looking to put her money where her milk is. She's designating a portion of the profits from The Lactivist directly to her local breast milk bank.

"The benefits of breast milk are so numerous that when a mother's own milk is not available, the next best option is pasteurized human donor milk," explains Georgia Morrow, Director of Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio. "And we rely on donations of both milk and money, which is why we're so excited about Jennifer's involvement. One of our primary goals is to spread awareness of how important breast milk is for babies, and items on Jennifer's web site go a long way toward that goal."

The Lactivist web site was quietly launched on November 9, 2005, but has already received a great deal of recognition for promoting breastfeeding awareness and breast milk bank advocacy. In addition, the site has been the focus of a series of articles on The Lactivist blog authored by Laycock entitled, "Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days" (http://www.searchengineguide.com/jennifer-laycock/) which tracks the development of her site and its journey to success over a month's time.

A few things to note about the press release...

  • It's short. Press releases are not articles, they need to be long enough to cover the subject matter and short enough to stay interesting. Save your novels for your web site.
  • It quickly gets to the hook. The Lactivist is about breastfeeding advocacy through humor. The 30 second pitch for the site shows up in the second sentence of the release.
  • It has quotes. Quotes add a touch of personality to a press release. Note that we've included not only my own experience, but also a quote from someone that could be considered an authority.
  • It subtly offers a few angles. Not everyone is going to be interested in the same things. By adding a few different angles (milk banks, breastfeeding advocacy, humorous shirts, the article series) we've opened up the release to a wider audience and have a better chance of being picked up.
  • It features keywords. You'll notice some of my keyword phrases sprinkled throughout the release. Breast milk, breastfeeding, milk bank and so on.

Now that the release was done, my next step was to contact Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR to see about setting up a distribution date. SEO-PR is a company that does optimization of press releases, submits them and then tracks their ranking in news search engines and their pick-up on other web sites. Greg was handling the distribution of my press release in return for my having offered it up as a case study for the Pimp My Site panel at the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference. I dropped Greg an email and we set-up the release to send the following day so that I'd have the first bit of data to share by the final article on day thirty.

Do You Squidoo?

Last fall I wrote about the launch of Seth Godin's new community-generated content site dubbed "Squidoo" and then mostly forgot about it. Until one of my readers posted in the Small Business Ideas forum with the suggestion that I might launch a lens as another way to drive traffic to the Lactivist Blog and the Lactivist Store. While Squidoo didn't seem to be generating a lot of talk beyond the initial announcement, I figured it couldn't hurt to check it out.

The idea behind Squidoo is to let anyone that wishes set up their own portal page to the topic of their choice. Think of Squidoo as a combination of Wikipedia and About.com and you've pretty much got it down. The pages that users set up are known as a "lens" since it represents their own view of the Web. While I'm not sure how many people are actively using Squidoo right now, I thought it might not be a bad idea to spend a few minutes setting up a breastfeeding advocacy lens for The Lactivist. I wasn't missing the irony that I was setting up a lens to do exactly what I suggested might be Squidoo's biggest problem in my Squidoo article.

...there's the ginormous potential for spammers to come in and take over the place. If anyone can create a lens and people are actually encouraged to create lenses about their own sites and blogs, what's the motivation to create a great resource rather than just a landing page that feeds people through to your own site?

Either way, it only took me about ten minutes to have a Lactivist lens set up that featured the RSS feed from my blog, a handful of good links and a list of links to some great resource books from Amazon. I left Squidoo feeling that I was probably missing something about the way the site was supposed to work, but not quite knowing what it was. As far as I could tell, there wasn't any more reason for someone to search Squidoo than there was for them to search Google or Yahoo! Perhaps time will prove me wrong.

Seeing Results from Froogle

I hadn't given much thought to Froogle, or any of the shopping search engines for that matter before day twenty-eight. Most shopping search engines have listing fees and Froogle, while free, did not accept feeds from individual CafePress stores. That meant that I was at the mercy of the CafePress feed to decide whether or not I made it into Froogle. Apparently the CafePress feed decided to include me because on day twenty-eight I started seeing referrals come in from the Froogle site.

A quick search for a few of my targeted keywords showed good news. I dominated the results for "breastfeeding shirt" and had a strong presence for "breastfeeding clothes" as well.

Pleased to see some progress being made on that front, I moved on to my final project for the day.

Setting Up a Blog Roll

One of the things that I'd been neglecting ever since I setup the Lactivist Blog was putting together a blogroll. I'd noticed incoming traffic from several other parenting blogs that had added the Lactivist to their blogrolls and I had several other blogs that I kept making note of in my mind, but I wasn't sure how to setup a blogroll in Blogger. By day twenty-eight I realized that I couldn't put it off any longer and went in search of a third party solution that would let me get a blogroll up and running on my site.

While I could have manually added the sites into my Blogger template, I figured it might be easier to set them up using a third party link manager. I'd seen mention of BlogRolling a few times and decided to check it out. The premise was pretty simple...setup a simple piece of Javascript in your page template and then allow BlogRolling to do all of the updating based on the sites that you add using their interface. While I didn't see a ton of benefit for myself, I could understand how someone that wasn't familiar with HTML could find this type of tool to be handy.

On top of the ability to manage your blogroll, BlogRolling also had a few other nifty features. The "1-click BlogRolling" feature allows a users to add a link to their favorites and then click on that link whenever they are visiting a site that they'd like to add to their blogroll. The BlogRolling links also show when each of the sites were last updated, allows you to find out who else has you on their blogroll and offers up a whole host of other features for users that pay the $19.95 a year fee to upgrade to BlogRolling Gold.

I debated over spending the $20 to upgrade to BlogRolling Gold, just to play around with some of the features but realized that I could instead spend that money on some reference books that I'd had my eye on over at Amazon to help provide more blog fodder.

Day Twenty-Nine

Coming up on day twenty-nine, with just two days left to go on The Lactivist project, I review the pitch ideas for the upcoming media push, work with one of the sites on my blogroll to get some feedback about UK publications, offer up a new line of products for political lactivists and do a bit more experimenting with Amazon's affiliate program.

Jump to Day twenty-nine.

(Want to read the entire 30 Day article series at once? Download the free 30 Day ebook!)
January 9, 2006





Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.







Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days - Day 28 - Finishing up the Press Release, Making My Mark in Froogle and Learning to Squidoo