When it comes to website design and functionality, there are myriad options and levels of complexity to choose from. However, no matter how large or small your budget, here are the top five things you absolutely need to get right when you undertake a website redesign.
1. Engaging Home Page. If customers are not immediately intrigued by your home page, chances are they will immediately navigate away from your site without a second thought. Using color strategically, incorporating exciting photography and visible callouts and presenting a clear picture of what your company actually does are key elements of an engaging home page.
2. Clear Call to Action. What is the main goal of your website – to sell product, build a long-term prospect database, provide a clear picture of your brand, show customers which stores carry your product? Whatever the goal, your website should display prominent communication on every page that allows customers to accomplish that one goal.
3. Properly Packaged News Coverage/Media Information. First, this means providing media coverage (intended for review by consumers) and media resources/contacts (intended for use by media) in separate sections of your site. Consumers want to see what media say about your product; media want to know how they can reach your corporate experts (see our recent post on media rooms for details on creating one).
To ensure an attractive media coverage section, provide visual elements (mastheads, cover pages and media logos) so big hits are easy to recognize. Pair each visual with an excerpt from the news story and link the visual component to the full story (hosted online or in PDF format) that opens in a new navigation window.
4. Intuitive Navigation. If you have a clear call to action in place, this is simple. Visitors to your website should be able to accomplish key tasks within 1-2 clicks of anywhere on your site. While viewing the news coverage section, customers should see a clear link to buy your product or find a store that sells it. From the products page, customers should be able to easily locate customer service contact information, shipping and return policies. Think like a shopper when building your new site.
5. Collecting Customer Contact Information. Visitors to your website are already engaged and interested in learning more about your company, products or services. Make it easy for them to stay connected with a clearly visible email sign up forms, a link for creating an account, or links to social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and company blogs).
Need help developing your new website? Contact me at Kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com.
That being said, understanding how to cultivate relationships with appropriate editors, reporters and even editorial assistants is critical for ensuring your pitch/news release is considered first, and for ensuring media know where to turn for an expert when breaking news occurs.
Here are 7 ways to get in media’s good graces and improve your chances of scoring excellent media coverage.
1. Take an interest in their work. If you have your goals set on achieving coverage in a particular publication and/or with a particular reporter, you need to be familiar with both the outlet’s and reporter’s style and interests. Read, read, read what they have written and reference it when appropriate in your conversations.
2. Call to see how things are going. Take care not to do this at times when media are on deadline or too frequently – that can be annoying. However, occasionally call key media to ask what types of articles/stories they have in the pipeline and determine if there is a way you can help contribute.
3. Introduce them to your other friends. Is this outlet/reporter working on a story out of your realm of expertise? If you have an industry contact who can act as a resource, connect the reporter with a new contact. Media will remember you next time they are working on deadline and need content or a comment for a story.
4. Educate. Tell media what they don’t already know about the industry, and be the one to tell them first.
5. Be a team player Like any good relationship, it should be mutually beneficial. Talk with media rather then pitching at them all the time; they will come to respect you as a valuable source. Learn how you can make a reporter’s job easier, and chances are he/she will turn to you again.
6. Respect the schedule. When you do engage media in a conversation, take the time to ask about and record their contact preferences. When are they on deadline? When is it appropriate to call a cell number? When are they most open to receiving communication? Bottom line, you won’t be a bother in the future if you get to know media’s schedule right away.
7. Don’t Give Up. Didn’t get coverage from your first, second or even third pitch? Do not give up. Often, media file story ideas for later use; it is up to you to remind them you can act as a resource on certain topics. When appropriate, share bios and descriptions of expertise for multiple resources within your company.
More than 24 million pairs of underwear where predicated to be given as 2011 Christmas gifts from men to their wives and girlfriends in the UK. But almost half of those underwear will never be worn or washed because they are either the wrong color or too racy, according to survey conducted by Dr. Beckmann – a laundry products manufacturer.
This is definitely an interesting study for a laundry products manufacturer and reads more like something you would expect from a lingerie retailer. But thinking beyond the washer and dryer gave Dr. Beckmann an advantage with the competition and the media.
This type of study is certain to get the media talking. After all, we are all looking – both media and consumers – for something other than cookies, gifts and decorating to read and talk about during the holiday season.
The UK media certainly agreed. This successful media strategy landed headlines like:
“Men are pants at choosing seasonal briefs, says women”
“Too racy, too lacy: Twelve million pairs of Christmas knickers will never be worn”
“They’re lovely – now give me the receipt”
In additional to getting the media’s interest, who wouldn’t want to read, Tweet, Facebook or Google+ these stories? Heck it caught our attention on the other side of the pond.
So not only did Dr. Beckmann land some great media coverage, but the stories are definitely something people would be likely to read and share both online and verbally.
Go here to view the full study.
A case study detailing the specific results of how your company or product helped overcome a unique or difficult challenge can be a powerful marketing tool. Since developing case studies is often time consuming, be sure to maximize their use.
Here are our top five tips for getting more value from your case studies.
1. Secure Media Coverage: You can achieve media coverage for your case studies one of two ways. First, you can develop a news release detailing the situation and high-level results of the successful project, and distribute/pitch to media as a story with a spokesperson available for interview. Or you can also offer key non-competing media the full case study to run as a bylined article; media are always looking for good content focused on real world applications.
2. Develop Engaging Blog Content: Divide your case study into several smaller segments and post a blog series on the project. Ensure each post leaves readers with a reason to come back for the full story.
3. Secure Speaking Opportunities: Use your case study as a way to secure a speaker at an industry show. Most industry shows/conferences are looking for good examples of how attendees can apply new/existing technology in their field. Ask your client to present with you as a team. The show is more likely to select presentations that include peers talking to peers and do not seem like a sales presentation.
4. Video Development: Consider documenting end results and customer testimonials on video. A video version of your success story can easily be incorporated into your website, online advertising, social media, email marketing, mobile marketing and even media relations strategies.
5. Advertising Campaign: If you have several interesting case studies with impactful results, consider structuring your next ad campaign as a series of testimonial stories focusing on applications and results .
A successful media relations strategy includes three major components: an excellent and up-to-date media database, compelling content and aggressive media follow up. But as you execute a strategy with these three elements, also implement these six small habits that will make a big difference in helping achieve more, better quality and ongoing media coverage.
1. Personalization. Send your news release, pitch or media invite to each media contact one at a time. Do not mass mail media communications; media should feel as if you are offering a unique and valuable opportunity and not that they are part of a “spray and pray” strategy.
2. Illustration. If you are able to provide photos or graphic illustrations that support your story, always make them easily accessible for media. Consider uploading to YouSendIt (you can open an account for free) and sharing the link to the images as a URL in the email. DO NOT send big photo attachments to media unless they request a photo.
3. Detailed Documentation. Keep notes of every media interaction – including sending an email, receiving an email response, media calls (whether speaking to a live person, voicemail or not able to reach anyone), media responses, interviews scheduled, feedback about preferences or perception of your company and products, and all resulting coverage. The more familiar you are with the habits and needs of a particular media contact or media outlet, the more chances to secure media coverage.
4. Goal Orientation Before conducting media follow-up calls, identify your desired goal or outcome. Is the goal a simple event announcement listing, a story about a new product, service or corporate initiative, a phone interview with a company spokesperson, a live interview on a TV or radio, on-location coverage of an event, etc. Once you have determined a goal, use it to craft a call to action, and incorporate that call to action in every conversion, email and voicemail during media follow up.
5. Resourceful Presentation. You are not simply asking media to do you a favor by covering your organization’s news, events, products, services and promotions. Approach each media interaction considering yourself as a valuable resource with access to news and content that helps media perform their jobs better. As media relationships grow, your company will become a valued resource media approach when they are in need of an expert. You will start to earn coverage without asking for it.
6. Ongoing Conversation. Whether media do or do not decide to cover your story, ensure you take advantage of the opportunity to learn about future opportunities when speaking with media. When the conversation is flowing and media are not on deadline, ask them to provide insight on regular sections, segments or features and who else at their organization might be interested in hearing from your company.
According to a study recently released by Bulldog Reporter and Business Wire, about half (48.4%) of corporate communicators have an online newsroom, and an additional 13% intend to develop one in the future. The study also revealed the single greatest challenge with online newsrooms is a lack of resources to keep it updated.
The good news: you can develop a very effective online newsroom without devoting too many resources. Below are the top six components that make an excellent newsroom – one that engages media and requires minimal resources to maintain once up and running.
1. Separate News from Media Coverage: Including recent media coverage in a newsroom is a common mistake. Consider the newsroom’s target audience – journalists looking for information to develop their own stories. Limit your newsroom to resources for media, and package your amazing media hits in a separate section on your website.
2. Highly Visible Media Contact Information: Include who to contact and how to contact them (via phone, email, snail mail, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) at the top of your newsroom. If your company has different contacts for different divisions, or a separate investor relations specialist, be sure to include all points of contact. The quicker media can find the person they need to speak with and the less barriers they have to reaching that person, the more likely you are to land coverage.
3. Media Kit: Your newsroom should have a section featuring all updated media kit materials – documents that provide access to background information about your company, products, services, corporate leadership and any pertinent financial data (if a public company). It is also very useful to provide unique descriptions of each product/service your company offers that media can easily digest. Each piece of the media kit should be downloadable or accessible directly on the website – to meet all media preferences.
4. Video: With media looking for multi-media content for their websites, video can be a powerful tool. Examples of useful video content include: behind the scenes product development, product assembly/instructions and case studies. Even better: providing embeddable links and downloadable b-roll footage can also add great value to a journalist. Just be sure to avoid sales and human resource videos that are better tools for targeting audiences other than media.
5. Image Library: Organize photos of all relevant product, application, corporate locations, corporate leaders as well corporate logos in one location. Offer media both high and low resolution versions of each image, and be sure to update with new photography as new products are introduced and corporate leadership renews. Be sure to provide photos both as downloadable files or with the option to view online.
6. Press Release Archive: News is a critical element of your newsroom. Archive all recent press releases by providing links for media to access or download previous news releases in their entirety, including release date and proper contact information.
Pitching a new or existing product, company spokesperson or useful tips are all successful ways to secure media coverage for your brand year-round.
But there is one strategy you can use to secure immediate media attention-it just requires vigilance and a bit of strategic thinking. You can successfully secure widely read and relevant media coverage by piggybacking your company’s story with a breaking news event. Below is a step-by-step approach for taking advantage of timely current events to secure immediate visibility.
1. Lay the groundwork. Start by setting up news monitoring alerts for key terms that impact your business, industry or customers. Monitor these incoming news alerts daily. When a big event occurs, you will know about it immediately.
2. Target the right media. Now that you know what they are writing about, find out who is writing it. When it comes to national and impactful news, reporters often write follow up stories expanding their initial coverage of an event or news item. Add these reporters to your media list, and be sure to develop a very targeted and personalized introduction as to why you are pitching your story to them specifically.
Secondarily, find out what beat these reporters typically cover and use that information to identify media at other publications that will likely be interested in your story. For example, if environment reporters are covering the breaking news story at a few key outlets, make sure environment reporters from all relevant outlets are on your media list.
3. Provide a new spin. Do not follow up on a breaking news item pitching the same exact story; you will be a day late and a dollar short. The key here is to find a new angle to the story that will entice reporters to develop a follow up story. Examples include: pitch a potential solution to the new problem, play devil’s advocate by warning of hidden dangers, provide insight on how the news item impacts a certain group of people or vital segment of industry, showcase the positive outcomes of a negative situation or vice versa, etc.
4. Provide an expert. Once you decide on your approach, position a company spokesperson as an expert who can speak to media on this topic as part of your pitch. Ensure they are knowledgeable and entertaining. Media will be on the lookout for interesting sound bites and inspirational – or controversial – statements and insight surrounding the situation.
5. Make the connection to your brand. Ensure your pitch provides a direct connection for media as to why your brand or product is an essential part of this story. Perhaps your product provides a necessary solution, or maybe your company has done business in the impacted industry for years. Or your company experienced something similar before, and you understand how consumers will react. Just be sure to clearly state the connection to validate why your company is a good resource for a follow up story.
6. Conduct follow up. Media will have already covered the breaking news item by the time your pitch reaches them. It is key to conduct media follow up calls. Your goal is to help media understand why this new angle, expert or product is a critical component of the evolving story. Ultimately, if you can secure coverage for your brand related directly to timely, breaking news, it will be more relevant and interesting to consumers already engaged in the story.
Need help launching a reactive publicity and media relations campaign? Contact me at kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com or 440.333.0001 ext. 105.
If you conduct publicity and media relations, you probably have a decent media list, including editors for Good Housekeeping, Today Show producers and local and national industry beat reporters. But beyond the obvious must-haves for any CPG media database, expanding your list to reach untraditional contacts can have a major impact on your brand. This is of course if you pitch media contacts the right story, but that’s a different post all together.
Below are our top four secret tips for building a bigger, better media list to help secure more media coverage.
1. Find Freelancers. Freelance reporters often devote a major portion of their work to one particular industry category. As a result, they have developed strong relationships with particular magazines. It will take a bit of extra time up front, but devote the effort to build a targeted list of freelancers covering your industry and make sure they receive any relevant news and announcements from your company. Then, when they are assigned a story, they will know exactly where to turn for information.
2. Scour the web for syndicated writers/columnists. Again, a little bit of research can go a long way. Start by adding syndicated writers covering your industry beat through services like Scripps Howard and the Associated Press. Then, look for independent syndicated writers by reviewing sections in leading newspapers (i.e. check out the Home section to find a syndicated design writer). Finally, target relevant beat reporters at newspapers that are part of large publishing groups like McClatchy. If you place a story in one of the company’s papers, it can likely appear in sister publications.
Land one quality hit with a syndicated writer, and watch the coverage roll in from around the country.
3. Identify industry experts. Major national consumer media often rely on “industry experts” to acts as guests or interview subjects providing the latest tips and trends on a certain topic. Add these experts to your list and make sure your product is on their radar. If there is a natural correlation with future editorial interview opportunities, you may get a mention without ever having to speak to a producer or editor.
Additionally, well-known magazine editors often appear as lifestyle experts on non-competitive media outlets (i.e. TV talk shows). If you are targeting a certain show, make sure their editorial expert is on your list too.
4. Pinpoint production companies. This strategy works particularly well for consumer products, design and home improvement projects. Cable networks like Style, HGTV and DIY air shows produced by third-party production companies. If your product has a direct tie in to one of your favorite feature shows, track down a contact at the production company that produces the show. Call them directly and ask if they will consider products for placement on the show.
So you have done it! Proverbial success: you did your homework, picked the right journalist, sent a great pitch and now they have called you to set up an interview.
Now what? There are six key questions you should ask media every time to ensure you maximize every media interview and increase your potential to landing a story.
1. What is the focus of your story? In some instances a reporter may be looking for an expert resource on a broader trend story, while in others they may want to cover your company for a feature article. Find out right away the purpose for the interview so you or your company spokesperson is prepared to fill the proper role.
2. When is your deadline? Find out right away when the reporter needs to speak with you or your spokesperson and when they need to turn in their final story. Then, schedule an interview that gives you or your spokesperson time to plan.
3. Do you have any preliminary questions or interview guidelines you would like us to review before the interview? Many journalists have a very specific idea of the type of information they need during an interview. If they can provide questions or topic guidelines to review in advance of an interview, you can be prepared to provide the best information most likely to make it into the story. This can be particularly effective when journalists are looking for tech focused or in-depth information that may require you or your spokesperson to conduct some research. Also, this helps to ensure you can naturally weave your talking points into the interview.
4. Would you like photos or images to accompany the story? Whether it is a headshot, product or application photo or even a chart or graph that helps illustrates key data, journalists like to incorporate visuals that capture the reader’s attention and enhance the story.
5. What days and times are you available for an interview? Journalists often work on multiple stories with various deadlines at once. If you are scheduling an interview for someone other than yourself, determine a journalist’s availability before hanging up the phone.
6. What is the best method (phone, email, Twitter, etc.) for getting back in touch? If you are not conducting the interview, chances are you need to determine when your spokesperson is available. Once you do, you will need to get back in touch with the journalist quickly to confirm the details of the interview, and you cannot afford for your message to be missed.
Also, no matter who is conducting the interview, once the interview is completed, follow up with the journalist to determine if they require any additional information or a follow up interview.
Need help launching a publicity and media relations campaign? Contact me at Kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com.
Let’s be honest, when most people think of successful consumer publicity, monthly glossies like Real Simple and Good Housekeeping are at the top of the wish list. However, securing coverage with the right online media sites can make just as big of impact for your brand and/or product and help support organic search engine optimization.
At a time when the number and size of traditional print consumer magazines is shrinking and competition for prime editorial coverage is fierce, the online magazine industry is growing and online publishers are learning to deliver content in a format familiar to magazine readers. In fact, a recent article in the New York Times highlights The Thriving (Online) Shelter Magazine Industry.
1. Focused target audience. As the New York Times article identifies, many online publications are focused on one particular niche or topic. For example, an online shelter magazine is entirely dedicated to design while a national glossy like Good Housekeeping may only have five pages worth of home décor and care tips. There is more opportunity for your company or product to be featured in an online publication dedicated entirely to one subject. Also, the publication’s audience is already interested in the topic, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the site.
2. Coverage appears sooner. Typical lead-time for a national consumer print publication is about 6 months. That means even if you start pitching today, the earliest you will see coverage is November. Online magazines and news sites operate on a much shorter editorial cycle, providing an opportunity to secure quick media coverage.
3. Coverage lives on. Once an article is published online, it exists on the Internet indefinitely, while print pubs are often tossed or recycled after reading. Online media coverage has the longer shelf life, and, if it is positive, serves as a testimonial for your brand for consumers conducting online research for years to come.
4. Drive consumers directly to a website. Often online media include a link directly to a product or service website. This can make measuring online media simple. With Google Analytics properly set up, it is easy to track how much direct traffic a particular article resulted in, and whether any of that traffic converted to sales.
5. Enhances organic search engine optimization: If a well-known media site, especially one with a good Google page rank, includes a direct link to your site, it will help to increase your organic search engine optimization. Media sites are seen as more credible sources by search engines than your average site.
6. Reach mobile consumers. As we shared in our recent post on QR Codes, 1 in 2 Americans will have a smartphone by this Christmas. Online media is easily accessible to smartphone users through apps and mobile sites.
7. Gain feedback. Some online publications – those not developed in e-reader formats – provide readers with the capability to post in response to articles. Marketers can gain feedback about their company/products and even respond to consumer comments/concerns/questions.
8. Powerful reach. A common misconception is that online publications do not reach nearly as many readers as traditional media. Whether it is the online counterpart of print media or an online-only publication, these sites reach large numbers of unique monthly visitors. Find the site’s online media kit or use free tools like compete.com or quantcast.com to identify an outlet’s monthly visitors.
9. Real-time sharing. If a reader thinks your product or story is useful or compelling, they can share a link to your story immediately. With print coverage, pass-along readership has value, but often takes longer to occur. With online coverage, your message has the potential to spread faster and bypass geographic barriers.
Need help launching a traditional and online publicity and media relations campaign? Contact me at kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com.
Media are always on the hunt for new products they know readers will love; and some will even refuse to cover anything other than brand new products from a strict “product review” perspective. But just because your company is not launching a new product this year is no excuse to not reach out to media and get your fair share of media coverage.
Following are six strategies to get coverage for your product, no matter how old or new it is.
1. Dial into a new or resurfacing trend. Do a bit of research and identify a hot trend consumer and media are already talking about. Find a way to tie your existing product into the story.
2. Take a seasonal approach. Do you notice a spike in sales or website traffic during a specific time of year? Pitch your product as a solution for a specific need during a holiday, special event or seasonal change. Not sure exactly where your product fits? Check out this detailed listing of daily, weekly and monthly holidays from national car care to grilled cheese month: http://www.brownielocks.com/
3. Use customer feedback to identify new uses for your product. Document customer testimonials and consider issuing a brief survey polling customers on their favorite way to use your product. Then, package the most unusual and ingenious uses into a pitch to educate media and readers about more ways they can put your product to work.
4. Share advice. Provide a list of tips and inside advice on a topic related to your brand or product, and ensure at least one tip offers your product as a solution. Have an all purpose cleaner? Provide tips for preventing and cleaning up the toughest household messes. The stranger and stickier, the better.
5. Align with a cause. If you have the budget to make a sizeable donation or produce specialty product packaging in support of a charitable cause, this is something you can promote to media. Otherwise, use your product as a means to bring attention to a cause you are passionate about. For example, a company that produces a yoga product can educate media on the health benefits of yoga and how easy it is for anyone to try.
6. Pose a challenge. Does your product always outperform a leading competitor, or does it just do something you have to see to believe? Get media excited by posing a challenge and offering them the chance to participate using your product – make sure you provide a product sample if they accept.
Need help securing media coverage for your company or products? Contact me at kayleigh at sweeneypr dot com or 440.333.0001 ext. 105.
Every relationship with a journalist is unique and specific to his or her preferences. However, no matter the situation, there are certain questions you should NEVER ask media. But that does not mean you can’t get your message across. It is all about learning how to say it better.
1. Did you get my news release?
Aside from the fact that this question does nothing but waste media’s time, it could turn out even worse when you get only a simple yes or no response. Just because a journalist confirms he or she received your news release there is no guarantee he or she will cover your story.
Instead try: We recently sent you a news release announcing [XYZ company did something newsworthy] and wanted to see if this type of news is of interest to your publication. This does two things: It provides an opportunity to confirm the journalist received your news and gives you a chance to find out if the journalist is interested in pursuing the story.
2. Since you will not cover my story can I speak with your editor or another journalist?
Even if you have an interesting and excellent story to share, the changing nature of the media business makes it difficult to reach the correct contact 100 percent of the time. If you feel your story is important or has another angle, do not give up, but don’t be rude to the person you first made contact with.
Instead try: Thank you for your feedback. Do you know of anyone else at your publication/station who might have an interest in this story? Not only does this establish you as a resource for future communications, but when you contact the new journalist, you can open with a referral from one of their co-workers.
3. Will you write a feature article about my product/service/company? When?
Unless you are launching the next generation iPhone, a journalist needs a relevant and timely context for your company’s story.
Instead try: We noticed several recent articles in your publication focusing on XYZ trend. Our company president can offer excellent insight as to how that trend is affecting the market and how specifically our company is reacting. Would you be interested in setting up an interview to learn more? This lets journalist know you are familiar with what they write, understand what is important to their readers and your company can add something new to the story. Once the interview is scheduled, it is your spokesperson’s job to communicate a compelling story about the company.
4. Can I review that article before it goes to print?
Some media will offer the opportunity to review articles or quotes for accuracy. If you get the chance, always take it and offer feedback only on content/accuracy – not the journalist’s writing style. However, keep in mind that media coverage is not the same as a paid ad and no one has the right to ask to review and correct a journalist’s work before it is published except the editor.
Instead: Prepare your message in advance and ensure accuracy. If it is a phone interview, develop talking points and keep them in front of you during the interview. For simple news announcements, triple check news releases and pitch letters for accuracy before distributing to media.
5. Can I get a copy of the story you wrote?
It’s a reporter’s job to write the story, not mail it to you.
Instead try: We are very excited to see the article you wrote. Can you tell me what issue you anticipate it will appear in so we can pick up a few copies? Often when you approach the question this way, a reporter will offer to send you several copies of the magazine directly or introduce you to a circulation manager who can do the same.
Our product is going to be featured on a national DIY show. How can we ensure we maximize this opportunity?
Getting national TV coverage is a major accomplishment and using that coverage to further your product’s credibility is an excellent strategy for continuing to maximize the opportunity.
There are a number of ways to take further advantage of the TV coverage.
1. If the segment hasn’t aired yet, ensure you get proper credit during the show. Ask if the DIY network will mention the website address, include the logo, show product packaging, etc. Sometimes networks have specific guidelines on what they can and cannot do. Therefore, talk with the producer to find out what you can do.
Keep in mind that working with a television show compared to media is very different. Television shows/networks typically do not follow the same guidelines journalists do. For example, journalists do not accept product over a specific dollar amount, they have to deliver a balanced story, etc.
2. Ask the producer if you can get a video clip of the segment. If not, you can typically get a clip of the segment from a video monitoring company. Once you get the video clip include it on your website and post it to your YouTube channel, as well as distribute it to retail buyers, non-competitive media, your email database, and use it at trade shows.
3. Include a tag on your home page with the show’s logo and a date of the airing.
4. Tweet and post Facebook messages about your product being featured on the television show. Break up the messages into different posts throughout the process. For example, today the DIY network is filming our product for a June [show name] episode.
5. If you are on set for the shoot, take photos and post those on your website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
6. Ask while you are on set if they know any of the other producers at the DIY network who might also be interested your product. Get their name and contact information.
7. Let the producer of the show know about additional products you manufacturer that might be of interest. It is possible they would consider those for a future segment.
8. Write and distribute a news release following the airing of the show with a clip of the segment.
The benefits of national television coverage include your product achieves credibility with a third-party, you gain product awareness and continue building the brand of your company/product. So the more you can maximize the coverage, the more benefits you will achieve.
How do I take advantage of national events, trends or news to achieve media coverage for my company?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Conducting a reactive media campaign is an excellent publicity and media relations strategy and can help you achieve exceptional results. The key is to strike while the iron is hot, and react quickly to both the opportunity and the media.
Start by developing a list of experts at your company and short biographies of spokespersons who are (or can be) media trained. In the biographies, call out each spokesperson’s area of expertise. If you haven’t already, distribute the list of experts, short biographies and a short company backgrounder or fact sheet to your media list.
Secondly, develop Google news alerts on topics that are relevant for your industry and stay abreast of current news. When you identify a relevant opportunity, contact the media quickly and clearly identifying how you can help support the next story on this topic. Be sure you have done your research and are confident you are not pitching a story angle that ran already.
For example, there are currently three hurricanes/tropical storms in the Atlantic, which are making national news. If you are a window manufacturer and can provide expertise on how to protect your windows from a potential hurricane, then certainly let the media know and provide some examples of how you can add value to the story. Maybe you can conduct a demonstration of wind speeds and how dangerous flying objects can be or show a demonstration of how to protect windows with plywood or duct tape.
If you are looking to attract television media, be sure there is a good visual to go along with your story. Also, if the media does contact you or your spokesperson, be prepared to act quickly. Otherwise the media will move onto the next industry expert.
Want to develop a reactive media campaign and need support? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
How do I craft a news release lead about a new product that will achieve media interest and ultimately achieve media coverage?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Creating an effective news release lead is essential to getting media to read the rest of your news release and consider writing about your product. You have just a few seconds to prove your news is worthwhile, which means the lead needs to be impactful.
The key is to focus on the benefits your new product delivers to the end user in the headline and the first sentence.
For example, what you want to avoid is a news release headline that reads “XYZ Company To Launch New Glass Cleaner”. While the new product is essentially the news, you have to ask yourself why the media and consumers will care about the new product.
Instead, consider a headline like “New Glass Cleaner is Streak-Free and Environmentally Friendly”.
As you continue with the first paragraph of the news release you want to avoid repeating the headline. Consider the first sentence valuable real estate and a way to continue to hook the media.
For example, avoid “XYZ company will launch its new glass cleaner on June 30, 2010.” Instead, consider a lead sentence like “New glass cleaner made from coconut extracts is guaranteed to leave consumers’ windows and mirrors streak-free or their money will be refunded.”
An effective way to beginning the news release writing process is to consider what story you would ultimately like to see in the newspaper, magazine, etc. Another tip is to review target media headlines and leads to get a better feel for what will interest the media.
Launching a new product or service and want to conduct a publicity and media relations campaign that achieves results? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Conducting media follow-up calls after distributing a news release can be very time consuming or costly if you hire an agency. Is it truly worth the internal effort or cost?
By Jennifer Manocchio
If you have quality news to share, absolutely!
Media follow-up calls are critical to achieving quality media coverage. While you might get some coverage by simply distributing your news release or pitch to your media database or over the wire, you will increase your coverage and build relationships with the media if you get on the horn. This is really more important now than ever before with all the media staffing changes.
Here are three reasons you need to be picking up the phone.
1. Information overload: Between emails, faxes, snail mail, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, etc. reporters are on information overload. Assuming that a reporter saw your email, fax, or letter/press kit is simply foolish, no matter how important your news is. Placing a phone call will get the reporter’s attention, and if he or she answers, hopefully an immediate response as to whether they are interested in your news.
2. Building relationships: How often have you built a relationship simply by email? The answer is probably rarely, if ever. The same is true of the media.
You are not going to get to know a reporter’s preference, specific deadlines and interests if you never speak with them in person or over the phone. Unfortunately, reporters have less time than ever before for in-person meetings, so phone communication is probably ideal. However, don’t rule out meeting media at trade shows and other industry conferences they will be attending.
3. Outdated Contacts: Publications are reducing and reassigning staff to survive today’s economic condition. If you don’t call the media, it is unlikely you will learn about the change or identify the correct contact. Unless you have built a good relationship with the reporter, her or she is unlikely to inform you about beat or outlet changes.
Need help conducting publicity and media relations or training your staff to conduct media outreach properly? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
With all the media industry changes (layoffs, magazines closing, etc.), is it harder to get media coverage? And what specifically can you do to ensure your story is heard?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Yesterday we were in a meeting with a consumer packaged goods marketing VP, and she asked us this question. I can honestly say that while there have been major changes in the media industry in the past few years, the publicity and media relations skills required to achieve quality media coverage have not changed in the decade I have been in the industry.
It certainly is harder to get media coverage because there are fewer magazines; there are fewer reporters to pitch due to layoffs; and there is less space for stories. The competition is definitely fierce, but at the end of the day it boils down to going to the correct media contact with a good story. Below are three tips for winning “ink” in today’s competitive media market.
1. Media list: While developing a good media list can be tedious, it is essential to success. It doesn’t matter how great your story is if you are telling it to the wrong person.
Traditional media database services like can Cision, Burrells/Luce and Vocus can help get you started; however, take it a step further. Research the reporter and discover what he or she typically writes about to ensure your pitch is relevant. Sometimes during this process we locate a better beat reporter who was not listed in our online media database. For publications that are particularly important to your organization, set up Google Alerts to monitor a specific beat reporter on an ongoing basis.
2. Craft a good story: There are two ways to look at developing a good pitch. First, you can be proactive and develop a story you feel meets the needs of your organization but is also something the media will be interested in. For example, for a leading cleaning products manufacturer we developed a number of tips to help consumers quickly and easily clean up their garage sale items with the goal of achieving a higher profit. The media loved the idea and we achieved coverage across the country.
The second opportunity is be reactive and respond to current events or situations that your company spokesperson could provide insight on. For example, we were monitoring the news for reactive story opportunities for a leading Ohio university and saw that the recession was requiring a lot of recent graduates to move back home with their parents. We quickly called the president of the university, who has a PhD in psychology, to get his feedback on what guidelines parents should set when their college graduate moves back home (e.g. should they have curfews or should they charge rent?). We contacted a financial reporter at the Washington Post, whose column was also syndicated, and she loved the story. The story not only appeared in the Washington Post, but in newspapers and on web sites across the nation.
3. Follow-up: While email is a great way to communicate with reporters, telephone follow-up is still critical when it comes to achieving media coverage. With more emails cluttering their inboxes and less time to read email, reporters can easily miss a great story.
However, be sure when you follow up you have something additional to tell the reporter. Never say “I’m following up to see if you got my email” or you will quickly hear a dial tone. Also, be prepared to tell your story in as few words as possible. Even if you get a reporter to answer his or her phone (these days we got a lot of voicemail), their time is still limited.
Need help securing quality national, regional or local media coverage? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Recently our company was instrumental in the building and construction of a new sustainable retailer. This new building received a lot of local and trade media coverage; however, our involvement is getting overlooked. Is it too late for us to get a piece of the pie? If not, how should we approach the media?
By Jennifer Manocchio
While you might have missed some opportunities, it is not too late to get the media attention you deserve. Below are a few reactive and proactive steps you can take to ensure your company gets credit in the next media story.
1. Determine the Source: Read the stories already published by the media and see if you can determine where the communication breakdown is. Is the sustainable retailer’s spokesperson not mentioning your company? If you can identify the source and it is appropriate to contact this person, simple ask them to include your company in his or her talking points next time. It probably wasn’t intentional and was simply an oversight.
2. Contact the media who already wrote stories: Simply requesting the media contact make a correction to their story isn’t going to help your cause very much. Corrections tend to be small and overlooked. Rather, read each story that was published and determine a different angle to pitch or a follow up story for the same media contact. Since they already covered the story, you will know they consider it news. Your pitch just has to be compelling enough to get the media contact interested a second time.
3. Develop your own pitch: Be proactive and develop your own case studies, pitches, news releases, etc. and distribute to media who haven’t covered the story. Consider horizontal and vertical media. Simply because it is a retail story doesn’t mean other vertical media will not be interested.
Want to learn more about achieving quality media coverage, contact me at 910.772.1688 or jennifer at sweeneypr.com.
By Jennifer Manocchio
Media coverage is “free” in terms of editorial placement in a newspaper, magazine, radio show, television news show or online. Since a journalist is writing about your product or service in editorial coverage, you do not pay for that placement.
If a media contact is asking you to pay for editorial placement, run as fast as possible from the opportunity. No credible media outlet asks to be compensated for editorial coverage. The editorial and advertising lines at some trade publications or small newspapers tends to be a bit blurred and some will use this approach to sell advertising. Again, walk away.
Also, avoid the trap that production studios often set. Typically you receive a call to get a product, service or company featured in a particular television program. They bait you saying your company or product will get exclusivity, and they need to know your interest ASAP because their producers are making decisions on products/services/companies over the next few days. What you typically find is these shows are aired on cable with no concrete number of people actually watching the show. AND they charge you! Run… don’t walk!
While editorial placement is “free”, the real answer to this question is achieving media coverage is typically not free. You still have to spend time and money generating awareness for your company and brand(s). Publicity and media relations are an investment and a process. They demand time and attention whether you manage that internally or hire an outside agency to support your efforts.
Have a marketing, public relations, social media or advertising question? Post your question below or email exeqnation at gmail dot com. We are committed to answering your marketing questions real time. And if we don’t know the answer, we’ll contact one of our valued partners who will.
In today’s digital environment, can the use of traditional publicity and media relations still be an effective strategy to increase sales?
By Jim Sweeney
Traditional publicity and media relations is a broad strategy that if properly targeted and effectively implemented can achieve – or at least support the achievement of – virtually any marketing/communications objective, including increasing sales.
To be sure, there are certainly more effective marketing, advertising and public relations strategies to directly impact sales. But the value of traditional publicity and media relations – to create awareness, build brand and establish credibility for a company, product or service – should never be underestimated.
Despite the growth of online media – both news and social – the vast majority of consumers in the U.S. continue to spend more time watching TV, listening to radio and reading newspapers and magazines than they do on the Internet.
In fact, the real difficulty in using traditional publicity and media relations to drive sales, is often the ability and/or willingness to measure the impact of the results – media coverage. Whether you are selling products nationwide at multiple retail locations or promoting your new restaurant in Wilmington, NC, it is extremely challenging (and usually cost-prohibitive) to track magazine, newspaper and broadcast coverage, then connect that coverage with sales (unless of course your product appears on Oprah).
Depending upon your desire and ability, you can apply some basic metrics:
1. You can easily document deliverables (e.g., media database, press materials, media calls, product sample distributions).
2. You can easily measure results (e.g., numbers of interviews, quantity and quality of coverage, consumer impressions).
3. You can even account for some corresponding “sales” activity (e.g.,direct links to your web site, spikes in web site and/or store traffic, incoming calls to a designated phone number).
Beyond this, your metrics and your measurement strategies must be a bit more sophisticated and costly. Still, making the hard connection between publicity and media relations is doable. Unfortunately it requires time and money that most marketers prefer to put back into the campaign.
Is it an effective strategy? You bet.
Have a marketing, public relations, social media or advertising question? Post your question below or email exeqnation at gmail dot com. We are committed to answering your marketing questions real time. And if we don’t know the answer, we’ll contact one of our valued partners who will.