By: Marsha Friedman
Many entrepreneurs with a new product to promote have a hard time envisioning helpful publicity beyond news stories about how fabulous their Great New Thing is.
While that kind of coverage is like hitting the jackpot, it’s not easy to get and it’s impossible to sustain. And sustenance is crucial: to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you’ve got to stay in front of your audience.
Entrepreneurs who aren’t familiar with marketing strategies turn to advertising because they think it’s their only choice. Not only are they wrong, they’re missing out on all the benefits that advertising doesn’t offer. Being quoted as an authority in the press or interviewed by a radio or TV talk show host carries with it the implied endorsement of the mass media. It helps to build your brand and your company’s brand as credible, helpful and knowledgeable – trustworthy.
As I read recently in a great article in Forbes, “People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands.”
So, how do you get journalists and talk show hosts to tell people how incredibly awesome your brand and product are?
Publicity is about getting visibility, credibility and exposure – it’s not about selling. You gain publicity by looking for ways you can provide useful, helpful content that is, ideally, tied to something in the news.
I’ll share some recent real-life examples of how we got publicity for some of our clients with products, which should help get you thinking about your own possibilities:
A company that emphasizes design in its production of innovative containers for plants wanted exposure in print publications. The CEO hoped those publications would also run photos of his eye-catching containers.
Earlier this summer, knowing that many monthly and seasonal magazines were already starting on their fall editions, we wrote a fall color trends article quoting the CEO. The article also offered his tips for creating dramatic displays of color using container plants, subtly mentioning his own products by way of example.
The article got picked up by a number of magazines – from trades to home décor, many of which included photographs of the containers.
A dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating halitosis has developed a number of products to address that problem. We’ve helped him stay in front of audiences for years, with radio and TV talk segment angles ranging from “National Fresh Breath Day” to “How Do You Tell Dad He Has Dog Breath?” (for Father’s Day) to “Dentist Says Miley Cyrus Should Keep Her Tongue in Her Mouth” (after her recent MTV awards show performance).
For all of these segments, the dentist is named, his website publicized, and occasionally, one of his products is mentioned.
A recent product that we all had fun with was a gizmo that reminds guys to put the toilet seat down. It’s done with humor but the entrepreneur says it actually trains most offenders within three weeks.
Recognizing that the toilet seat is at the center of many a spousal tug-of-war, we offered up our client to talk about the “age-old gender power struggle” for a segment called “What’s Up with the Toilet Seat Debate?” Since that was the inspiration for his creation, he had funny stories to share as well as some interesting insights about the ups and downs (so to speak) of married life.
Talk show hosts recognized the potential for a lively and entertaining conversation and snapped him up.
If you want valuable publicity for your business or product, remember, you need to offer something valuable in return. For TV and radio talk shows, that’s an informative and interesting interview on a related topic. The host will mention your company and website, probably more than once, and you can casually slip some mentions as well.
In print, experts are usually identified by their claim to fame, so you may be quoted as Joe Smith, inventor of the Bottomless Coffee Mug, and your website included. Write an article for a publication and it will likely include a bio about you.
All of this will provide more visibility and credibility for you and your product while building a brand consumers can fall in love with.
About Marsha Friedman
Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.