Jodi Pliszka is an award winning author, a former clinical psychologist, a black belt in taekwondo, a motivational speaker, and a top finalist on ABC’s “American Inventor” reality television show. It’s hard not to be impressed by how much she’s accomplished. As a bald woman, her frustrations with wigs that failed to stay put during her active endeavors inspired her to design a product that now helps head accessories of all kinds be more safe, hygienic, and comfortable. I had the pleasure of interviewing Pliszka about her success story and what advice she’d impart to others.
Having successfully marketed herself, her message, and her product, “Headline It”, I asked her what advice she would give to inventors who want to publicize their ideas.
“How can an inventor generate press? By having a mission and a goal and focusing on it, whatever it is. The press can see right through individuals who have invented a product and are approaching them for monetary gain alone. The press might give you a short product review or a four-line blurb in the newspaper. But if you have a story or mission or goal the press can focus on, start by going to your local papers or radio stations or magazines. Build off that,” Pliszka offered.
After doing so, send these local articles to bigger publications you may want to land.
“You’ve already established credibility,” Pliszka explained. “It’s the easiest way to go about it.”
If you’ve ever watched Pliszka on television or heard her deliver a keynote address, you know she’s confident and outgoing. But for those readers who are a little bit shyer, getting publicity doesn’t require that you undergo a personality transplant.
“It doesn’t really matter how shy you are. If you have a good, solid pitch that focuses on your mission up front, it is going to tickle the press and the readers. Show them who you are and what you have to offer. If you’re sending that honest message out, you’re going to receive decent responses,” Pliszka argued.
She also shared a personal tip to help get camera-ready. Just pretend it’s you and the person you’re talking to. Don’t think of the thousands of people who may watch the clip!
“If you’re more low key, that isn’t going to hinder you from getting press. It’s when people try to switch personalities that they come across as fake. Be true to who you are. And practice and know what you’re going to say. If you already have that in your brain, you are not going to be tripped up as easily,” said Pliszka.
Pliszka admits that her story is far from average. She was, after all, a final contestant on “American Inventor.” And although she says that being on the show was “amazing”, she would do one thing differently.
“We hit the retail market to begin with, and we wasted time and money doing so. We tried to infiltrate it, but unless you have a million dollar advertising budget, it’s pretty impossible to do. We’ve now gone in with Headline It backdoors; the product is selling to specific markets that can really benefit from it directly, like the construction industry for hard hats and the medical industry. We wasted a lot of money that first year trying to get into WalMart,” she explained.