When it comes to launching a new business or product, some marketing consultants might say that EVERY product is appropriate for a publicity or media exposure campaign. That is true to a degree, but as a PR/publicity professional and former media person, I would qualify that statement by saying that although new products would benefit from a solid publicity campaign, not all businesses or products and their pitches will grab the attention of the media.
A number of strategically generated features or product mentions in magazines, newspapers and TV/radio/cable shows nationwide can lend strong credibility to a new product. That “media bullhorn” can also do wonders toward educating consumers about your product. But does your product — and its media pitch — have what it takes to attract the media into giving you coverage in their pages or on their airwaves? As I mentioned, many products or businesses can generate some type of publicity and media interest, but in my professional experience, the types of products and pitches that lend themselves to the best media exposure include:
• home/garden products
• kitchen/cooking/food products
• consumer electronics
• automotive accessories
• home repair/DIY tools
• personal health/medical/fitness products
• recreational/outdoor products
• experts (business, health, technology)
If you have a new or under-publicized product in one of these categories, the media could be a good friend to you. However, you first have be a friend to the media. Your product (and pitch) needs to have what the media calls a “news peg” — that gives them a logical and newsworthy reason to feature YOUR product as opposed to the 200 other media pitches that are on their desks right now. Additionally, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do your story or they WILL move onto a competitor’s pitch and product that is easier to cover.
• Can you provide a media sample?
• Do you have quality photos of the product?
• How can the product be purchased: in stores, catalogs, online, by phone?
• Can you arrange a quick interview if needed?
Products/services that don’t really lend themselves to media interest or publicity are things like:
• website developers
• cell phone/printer cartridge sales
• vitamin supplements
• financial planning
• MLM/downline schemes
I’m not implying that these types of businesses aren’t media worthy. I’m simply saying that from a media interest, editorial standpoint, there are thousands of competing product and businesses like these on the market and unless they are offering something truly unique, they lack that “news peg” that will attract the media’s attention. If you are launching, let’s say, a new garden tool that is very similar to many other garden tools on the market, don’t expect much interest from the media in putting together a feature. You can create that news peg by answering a few questions:
• How does your product differ from competing products already on the market?
• Why should the media and subsequent consumers be interested in your product?
• Does it provide a solution to an existing problem for consumers?
Bottom line – a properly maintained publicity campaign can help forge wonderfully reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationships with the media. Reciprocal, in that the media constantly need interesting information to put together their product profiles and business features — and YOU need constant media exposure to get the word out. If your product or business can meet the media standards mentioned above, you could benefit greatly from some solid nationwide media exposure. Getting your product mentioned in print articles and on TV/radio shows nationwide will help spread the word to customers — and at a fraction of the cost of a nationwide advertising campaign.
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