The PR Power of Going Beyond `Testimonial Providers Anonymous’

Whether you’re a widget salesmen or a world-class motivational speaker, testimonials are central to your persuasive story-telling endeavors.

Alas, some otherwise-credible individuals and organizations haven’t taken the time to gather such testimonials, which can go by other names–for Inside Edge PR, I call them Success Stories.

Only slightly better are those instances when an organization handles the testimonials as an extension of the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Who is this shady character? He’s the testimonial equivalent of “M.B., Oak Park, Ill.”

If you’re plotting a clandestine drug deal or attending a 12-Step Testimonial Providers Anonymous (TPA) meeting, referring to somebody only by their initials or as “Matt B.”, if you are feeling a bit bolder, may make some sense.

(By the way, don’t bother Googling that “TPA” organizatione. I just made it up–to make this point: in business, these cloak-and-dagger, veiled references come across as sketchy and needlessly secretive.)

And settling for TPA-style sources means barely skimming the surface of the potential good these third-party edifications could do for the person or organization you’re seeking to promote.

What follows, then, is a three-point checklist for collecting a testimonial:

1. Receive a signed media release form in which the individual agrees to have his/her story shared through various modes of communication at no compensation.

This first step should be no problem if people are genuinely fired up about the great service they’ve received. In my experience working on scores of testimonials across a variety of industries, collecting willing and eager testimonials has never posed a problem.

2. Do everything in your power to obtain or create testimonials in a variety of forms:

-A video of the individual sharing his or her story about the good that you and/or your product or service provided.

-At least one photograph of the testimonial provider.

For client Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Burr Ridge, I captured the before-and-after weight-loss success of club member Nader Najjar.

-Additional photographs that would help tell the story (such as before-and-after images of someone who has lost weight or photos of a house that has received significant upgrades).

-A written narrative that tells the individual’s story in a compelling, newsworthy manner.

And don’t settle for a meager two-line quote–go for a rich, nuanced story that conveys a powerful story. Out of that story, you can excerpt a quote or two on an as-needed basis.

3. Armed with these key elements, re-purpose the content across many platforms and toward a variety of audiences that are in your target market.

For examples of testimonials, you can check out some videos on the Inside Edge PR video channel.

Nearly a decade ago, when Inside Edge PR took testimonials well beyond the Witness Protection Program level, it spurred on positive coverage in The Daily Southtown for Chicago Women’s Health, an obstretrics/gynecology practice.

You can see that particular written testimonial on the Chicago Women’s Health website, along with a few others.

Related Posts:
Testimonial Truth: Start With the End In Mind
When Publicity Isn’t the Answer, Chart a Course for Private Relations

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