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Testimonials Part II of II  Kelle Campbell
 Apr 14, 2005 06:45 PDT 

                        The Public Relations Writer
              The Guide for Writing Communications
       brought to you every other Thursday by Kelle Campbell

Editor's Note: April is turning out to be even more hectic
than March, so today's issue contains just the main
article and links.

Testimonials Part II of II

Last issue, the topic was obtaining testimonials. This
time, we'll look at sources and uses for testimonials.

Your primary question will be whether your customers and
prospects prefer to hear from peers or authorities.

The answer may depend on your offer or your
audience's personality mix, and it may turn out that a
combination of both is the right choice for you.

An example of organizations that use peer or
"everyman" testimonials is SoBe (South Beach
Beverage Company). The company first collected
testimonials via telephone and then expanded the
practice to audio and text endorsements on the "Cooler"
section of their Web site.

Also, Zagat is famous for its consumer surveys, taking
the "everyman" endorsement practice further by selling
ordinary people's testimonials about dining, leisure, etc.
in its very popular guides.

On the other hand, some audiences might want to know
that someone with more expertise recommends you. E.g.,
while a few people may be comfortable with money advice
from a friend or acquaintance who is not a financial
professional, many prefer endorsements from analysts,
financial columns writers, etc.

Celebrities are another great source for testimonials,
but you should ensure that they are a good match. George
Foreman Grill turned out to be the perfect spokesman
for his grill. However, appearing on Oprah's show did
not make the Pontiac G6 a hit. Several people on one
of my email lists speculated Oprah's audience, though
wide and avid, was just not the same as the car's target

Ways to Use Testimonials

Once you have those testimonials, don't just stick them
in a brochure. Get creative. Here are a few ideas:

* Include relevant testimonials in your press kits,
pitches, sales letters, etc.

* Some marketers advocate spreading testimonials
throughout a Web site instead of clustering them on
one page.

* If you want a steady flow of media interviews, create
a print or online quote sheet of testimonials from
previous interviewers. If you're just starting on the
interview circuit, use client and associate quotes that
focus on your expertise until you've gathered testimonials
from media hosts.

* Include testimonials in your ezine or newsletter. E.g., PR
expert Bill Stoller places testimonials for his subscription-
based print newsletter, "Fr^ee Publicity" in his ezine,
"Bill Stoller's Publicity Insider Update," which is sent to
readers fr^ee of charge.

* Incorporate testimonials into your print or radio

I mentioned in the last issue that you should always get
permission to use testimonials in your promotional
campaigns. That rule bears repeating. Don't ruin an
existing relationship in the course of building new ones.

Happy writing!
Ask the Writer

Ask the Writer will return in two weeks
Links of Interest

Why Aren't There More E-Mail Testimonials?
Actually, I've seen testimonials in emails but not to the
extent Paul Soltoff advocates in this article.

This is where Sobe collects and displays text and
audio messages within its Cooler section.

Handwriting University International
Scroll down this media page to see what show
hosts say about Bart Baggett.

Bill Stoller's Publicity Insider
In case you were curious about this ezine.

You'll have to subscribe to read the review, but
this site may be useful if you travel frequently.

Kelle Campbell is a freelance public relations and marketing
writer. Visit her Web site at http://www.kcwriter.com to
learn about her and to see more articles.

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