BOS Podcast--4 Steps to Getting Media Attention From We-Vibe

Find out how to maximize your media exposure from Denny Alexander, Marketing Communications Manager for We-Vibe and Standard Innovation. Denny goes through the four step process to help small to mid-sized adult products and retailers get great PR coverage who have a small marketing budget.

(Scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to hear the pocast.)

What We Talked About

  • How Denny became the Marketing Communication Manager for We-Vibe and Standard Innovation
  • Denny maps out his four step PR plan for small to mid-sized adult product and retail businesses.
  • Denny gives his three best tips for companies to get the word out.

About Denny Alexander
Denny Alexander is the Marketing Communications Manager for We-Vibe and Standard Innovation, where he is responsible for corporate communications, public relations, social media, and content.  He has been with We-Vibe for 5 years, during which time the brand has captured a number of PR awards, including the PRWeek award for best technology campaign last year. Denny has nearly 20 years of marketing and PR experience and started his career in the film, television and entertainment industry. 

Denny's Four Step Guide To Getting The Media's Attention

Getting media attention
A PR primer to help your business from We-Vibe ®
To be recognized in a competitive marketplace, a solid understanding of where your business fits into the media landscape can be the edge you need to maintain and grow your customer base. Hiring a publicist or PR agency for that knowledge isn’t typically within the reach of most small or medium sized businesses, but that doesn’t mean that you have to rule out the possibility of actively getting media coverage or reporters interested in your business and what you have to offer local customers.

The fundamental aspects of publicity are all you need to confidently and independently reach out to the press to gain the coveted media exposure you’re after.

Here are four steps towards successful publicity for your business:

You’ve got a new product. So what? Who cares? The answers to these questions are your hook--perhaps the single most important element to capturing a reporter’s attention. Put yourself in a reporter’s shoes and ask yourself why is this product so interesting, and who will be most interested in knowing about it. By answering these questions you will not only identify the newsworthy element of your story but the audience for it as well. Establishing your hook, or your angle, is the most important aspect of publicity and always the first step because it hands the media a reason to be interested, and a picture of the people who are waiting to hear your story.

A great hook tells the reporter what’s special about your product--that, for example, it’s new, innovative, unique, significant, important, controversial, timely, and the first of its kind and/or the only of its kind. (Things like facts, research, and survey results are great supports here). From there, it points to a target audience--the group of people that will care the most. If there are a variety of groups who will care, even better. The broader the audience for your hook, the more newsworthy it becomes, and the more appeal it has to media. Your hook is your leverage -- what separates you from the pack.

Once you have your hook, it’s time to strategize. A media strategy simply means taking at your hook--the most newsworthy element of what you have to offer -- and matching it to different media available to you. Which media do you want to have cover your business? Write down a comprehensive list of all that apply. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your existing customers. Ask them what publications they read or listen to and add those to your list. Be sure to include different mediums--newspapers, magazines, radio, television shows, online publications, blogs, and podcasts, making sure not to forgot key local outlets. From that list, which outlets have sections, shows or reporters who are a logical fit with the product you’re trying to promote? Separate them from the larger list. This is your target list.

These are the outlets you want to focus on. From this target list, which of these outlets have the most influence and the biggest impact on your business? These are your key outlets. You will reach out to these outlets first. For all of the outlets on your target list, you want to identify journalists who cover stories in the same industry or with similar themes as yours and compile a list of contact information for them so that you can reach out to them with your pitch. Your list should include names of specific journalists, writers or producers with their direct contact information. If you can’t find that online, call the outlet and ask. Mostmedia want to be contacted with story ideas, that’s how they keep their content fresh and attract new readers.

Presenting your story to media in a clear, concise and informative manner matters. It is arguably as important as your hook. This presentation is your pitch. Here, your goal is to offer journalists your hook in a way that they not only understand it but why they need to cover it as well. A good pitch is 1-2 paragraphs. One to lay out your hook and its newsworthiness, another to present everything you have to offer that will support the hook and help tell shape the story--for example, spokespeople to interview, images, a press release, a free sample of the product, or an opportunity to visit your business in person.

You want to tell your story, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with details, so sticking to a few short paragraphs is best, attaching any of the supplemental information that is longer, so they can refer to it at their leisure. Anything longer, and it’s almost a guarantee that your pitch will be overlooked. Journalists receive a lot of pitches. A smart pitch understands that by being brief and direct. If your hook is timely, be sure to mention that in your pitch as well.

You want journalists to hear your pitch at a time that’s good for them, so for the most part, an email is the way to go. Emails allow journalists the time to read and understand what you have to say at their leisure. Follow ups are sent via email as well, with a phone call to follow that, spacing  out each by a handful of days. If there are journalists you know personally, feel free to make the call the first step. Just be prepared to present your idea briefly here as well--in a minute or less.

A few reminders for your pitch:

  • Address your pitch directly to the journalist, never to a general inbox.
  • Present your hook. Tell and support your story.
  • Always proofread and check your emails for spelling.
  • Remember to attach a press release and photos.
  • Press Releases should cover off the who, what, when, where, why, and how. They should dive directly to the point, and be written for media needs, with the most important information at the top. Include a quote, speaking to the newsworthy information, and list contact person’s name, e-mail and phone number at the very bottom.
  • Photos should be high-quality, professional shots that include a cutline (brief description of key things pictured).

Media rely on pitches to alert them to stories, so you should not feel intimidated following up with them. You have something to offer and this is a professional exchange between equals. Following up is a necessary step and a reminder of the newsworthiness of what you have to share. Some media will decline, and that’s their right. Remain positive, accept no as the answer, thank them for their time, and let them know that they can always reach out if they change their mind. In turn, also let them know that you will be in touch with future opportunities. Then move on. Publicity is also about building relationships and awareness for your business, and making a connection with a journalist to even hear a no is still a small step in the right direction.

When you succeed, and a journalist is interested in putting together a story, remember that you are being extended an opportunity. Respect the reporter’s needs and schedule, and be prepared to adapt toboth. Get information to them quickly, answer calls promptly, lineup and offer spokespeople and photo opportunities. Extend the support you offered in your pitch. Be knowledgeable about the product and prepared for an interview.

The rewards of great publicity are tangible, generating an increase in traffic for your business and greater awareness of its offerings. Dedicating time to some careful thought and strategy is all it takes for you to get there. So, ask yourself, what’s your hook?

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