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TREW Top 9 List to Increase Your Product Launch Coverage

PR seems so simple – you have a cool new product so you write a press release, send it to the editor or reporter covering your space, and the coverage starts pouring in, right? Unfortunately – or fortunately for readers who expect quality content that is vetted by experts – that is not how it works.

But it is also not magic – there are some simple yet important things you can do to increase coverage for your products and company. Here are our TREW 10 best practices to follow to increase your coverage, not in any particular order:

1. Focus

2. Speak in English

3. Tie it to industry news or trends

4. What about the web?

5. Don’t skimp on photography

6. Follow-up and make it compelling

7. Do whatever it takes

8. Deliver content suited to coverage type

9. Stay engaged

1. Focus

  • I know all 27 features of your new product are really , really important, but I’m sorry to say, the rest of the world doesn’t have time to learn about all 27
  • you have to be able to sell your product in a news release headline or 30 minute editor meeting, so you have to decide what you will lead with – what is the most compelling, new, differentiated feature that will be most interesting to the market?
  • once you decide what this it, make it your headline
  • another way to think about this that I often ask clients is, if you could write the headline for your story in the top magazine you want coverage in, what would it be?
  • remember, headlines are usually around 8 words or less!

2. Speak in English

  • don’t assume the editors who receive your product news understand all your company and/or industry acronyms or will think you’re smarter by using language that is incomprehensible to the average engineer outside of your company
  • keep the language simple and fluff-free, explaining what your product does, who (specifically) will want it, why it is unique, and how it will be used (application examples)

3. Tie it to industry news or trends

  • editors are in the news and education business – in the technical fields, they are charged with covering breaking technology and innovation news and helping readers understand how it may impact them in their jobs
  • having examples of products or services that relate to a new trend or technology will be very interesting for editors
  • ask yourself if  your product is related to a new OS, a new chipset, and new approach?
  • if you can tie your new product into the larger market trends, it can really help set your product apart from the crowd of hundreds and even thousands of news releases they receive

4. What about the web?

  • if you do all the work to write your press release, and you identify the key editors to pitch it to, and they actually open the email and read it, you have made it past a big barrier to coverage
  • the next thing an editor will do is go to your website to read more about the product, look at demos of it, see what other customers are saying about it, and search for more technical information to complement your news release
  • if your website is not up-to-date with additional information about the product, you may have just lost your chances for coverage
  • on the other hand, if you have compelling, complementary information that further helps them understand the product and its unique uses, this can increase your chances of coverage

5. Don’t skimp on photography

  • people, even engineers, like looking at pictures, and magazine publishers and editors, especially in the technical space, are eager to get good photography that makes turning the pages of their publication appealing to their readers
  • help editors make their book look great – give them high quality product and application photography and greatly increase your chances of getting covered in the book
  • if you have a product announcement that represents continuous improvement, vs. groundbreaking new innovation, and therefore is not as newsworthy, but you have great photography, you greatly increase your chances of that evolutionary product being covered

6. Follow-up and make it compelling

  • emailing a news release to an editor and/or mailing them the hard copy and photography is not enough, you have to followup with a phone call
  • however, when you call, don’t start with, “did you get my news release?” – this is the worst question you could ask an editor, who gets hundreds if not thousands a month
  • rather, introduce yourself and your company, and then say your headline, “We announced a new product this week that is the first of its kind for XYZ” and offer to answer any additional questions they may have on your product, or the related trends he may ask about
  • offer to re-send them the news release and digital photography so they don’t have to spend time trying to re-find it

7. Do whatever it takes

  • an editor is constantly on deadline while also being inundated with new information, so making their job as easy as possible is key to getting their attention
  • if you sent the editor your news release, but in your followup call they said they didn’t get it, immediately offer to resend it by whatever means they prefer
  • if they want you to overnight it, then overnight it
  • if they want the photography burned on a DVD, then burn it on a DVD
  • if they tell you how they prefer to receive materials, make note of it so they don’t have to tell you again

8. Deliver content suited to coverage type

  • there are different types of product coverage – clips and features
  • product clips are usually printed toward the back of the book and include a short write-up and (sometimes) a photo – for this type of coverage, you want to keep your entire release under 500 words, and even shorter if possible – the more you prioritize the most important aspects of the new product and cut out the rest, the better chance you have of the editor using your release verbatim
  • product feature stories are editor-written, usually closer to the front of the book, are given more space (maybe 1/3, 1/2 or even sometimes a full page), and may include multiple larger photos or images – you would target this coverage for more significant product launches, and your release may be longer, with whole paragraphs attributed to key features of the new product; in these, you may also want a quote, or even a few short case study write-ups, from customers who are using your new product successfully in their application, and you may also include a technical white paper describing more in-depth details about the benefits of the product or how it is used to accompany your release
  • for product feature stories, you almost always will need to schedule a conference call with the editor, and ideally you would meet them in person so you can do an actual demonstration of the new product in action

9. Stay engaged

  • if the only time an editor hears from you is when you think you have big news, your coverage results are likely going to decrease greatly over time
  • on the other hand, if you work to build a long-term relationship with key editors in your space, it can become a win-win for you and the editor
  • editors have deadlines every single day for articles they need to write and topics they need to cover for their readers; the more trusted contacts they have to give them sound advice and opinions on technology, trends, standards, products, etc, the more successful they can be; if you can become a go-to person for them, by the law of numbers, you will be aware and available for more opportunities to be covered
  • editors are human, and appreciate feedback; if you like what you read from them, tell them; if you read something interesting that you think they’d like to see, send it to them
  • take a long-term relationship approach and it will not only pay dividends for your coverage over time – assuming your products are coverage-worthy – but it will be more meaningful and you will be more successful promoting your company

We love helping companies with product launches – message development, press tour preparation, product demos, materials development, and helping ensure they get a return on all the R&D investment by getting the word out effectively and efficiently to the target audiences.

To learn more about these tips, and other important best practices such as how to take advantage of PR for search or preparing for a press tour or editor presentation, post your comment here.