Getting the media interested in products is hard, because editors and producers are looking for stories, and generating a story around a product can be quite a challenge.
Even when you have a great story, there’s a good chance your press release will be passed to the advertising department who will try to sell you ad space or advertorial.
Look at it from their point of view: why would a publication or program devote valuable space or airtime to promoting a product for free?
So what are the alternatives?
- Send free samples to journalists and offer more for readers – editors find it hard to resist giving their readers something for free.
- Generate quirky or appealing photo opportunities – animals and children always go down well.
- Run a competition with your products as prizes – surf magazine SurfWest achieved great results by running a photographic competition just before launching their first issue.
- If your product solves a problem, address this as an issue and ask the journo to print your web address at the end so that readers will then be led to your product online.
A great example of a product getting publicity by raising an issue is the Dove promotions that challenge our view of real beauty as a backlash against anorexic models.
Blog about it
In our experience, publicising products online is more effective than traditional press release campaigns. Here’s your chance to get the word out by blogging about your product.
Beware though – simply using your blog to promote your product will switch readers off almost instantly.
Tell stories and engage readers in a genuine conversation. Reckon you don’t have much to say about your product? Take a look at the AusPen site: these guys have been live for just a few months and have a Google PageRank of 3 thanks mainly to their regular posting of authoritative content about … whiteboard markers.
And guess what happens when you do a Google search for whiteboard markers in Australia – Auspen comes in just below Faber-Castell. Pretty good going.
As well as telling stories, encourage your readers to contribute ideas that you then take on board and run with, such as a label design or a product name (think McDonald’s Backyard Burger). Ask for genuine feedback – both positive and negative – and respond with genuine solutions.
There are huge opportunities here for businesses working with social (interactive) media.
It’s also vital for businesses to understand how peer reviews are becoming the most powerful marketing tool.
Computer World published this article about user-generated product reviews, showing the power of peer reviews in the marketing process.
Encourage satisfied customers to post reviews on user-generated product review sites such as ProductReview and CNET Reviews. To find the sites most relevant to your products, simply go to Google and search. Choose the sites that are easy to navigate and have a high PageRank.
There’s no trickery in this. If a customer genuinely likes your product enough to write you a testimonial, they’ll be happy to tap their review into a product forum.
Ads and advertorial will get you print coverage, but peer reviews are likely to knock these into a cocked hat in terms of results.