Press is vital to the success of your brand, especially if you’re a product-based business. You could have an incredible product that’s one-of-a-kind and solves major problems for consumers, but if no one knows about it, you won’t have customers. A feature in one major publication can be a huge win for your brand, but if you can be featured in multiple major publications, your exposure will skyrocket. Even if you have a niche, awkward, or controversial product, you can get it out in front of the right audience. How do you create this exposure? Take a look at these 8 simple strategies for brand and product exposure and see how to get featured in major publications.
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1. Own the Controversy
Maybe your brand positions itself as edgy or not-safe-for-work. Maybe your product itself is controversial, such as adult products or newly legalized products. Whatever fits with your brand, you can use it to your advantage to start a conversation. Your product solves a problem, so not everyone will be on board with what you have to offer, but some people will love it and recognize their need for it. The catch is that you have to start the conversation and broach the awkward, embarrassing, or hot-button topic.
Fortunately, controversy works in your favor. When a product – or brand or conversation – creates a strong reaction in people, it sparks discussion that can attract a lot of attention to the source. And numerous publications thrive on being edgy and starting these conversations. Sometimes, you may have content banned or reported. Don’t take it as a negative. It could be a positive for your brand, leading you to find more creative ways to get your name out there. And the conversation will continue.
2. Use Compelling Visuals
Strong visual content is a powerful way to communicate the benefits and features of a product or brand, no matter what it is. Visuals also have a huge influence on the decision-making process for consumers, such as whether to purchase a product or work with a brand.
Create compelling visuals that communicate your brand message and product benefits clearly and powerfully to evoke a strong reaction in the audience. If you can accomplish this, a journalist will be happy to give you a feature and use the power of your visuals to attract attention for their own publication. If you lack the skills yourself, invest in a professional photographer to take photos. A professional photographer will not only give you high-quality shots, but they may have innovative ideas for how to position your product or brand in a way that attracts attention. Get professional photos of your product and yourself for a publication.
If you can, consider getting a mix of artsy, product promotion, lifestyle, and graphic imagery. This way, you have a mix of images to suit different publications and align with the story you plan to tell (more on that later). High-quality shots may make or break your chance of getting media coverage, so shoot for quality that aligns with that of your target publications.
3. Aim for First-to-Market
Being the first-to-market as a brand offers a significant advantage. In fact, it’s known as the “first-mover advantage” and helps brands gain powerful recognition and loyalty before rivals can come in and share the success. Being first-to-market also means you can control the conversation around your product and, in some cases, set a market price. Journalism is all about being the first with the story as well, so many publications will be excited to feature the first-to-market product or brand. Be sure to include this in your pitch, so that the publication can see that it has a chance to introduce your brand to its audience before you’re widely known.
4. Leverage Your Brand Story
Consumers are savvier than ever. With the research possibilities of the internet, consumers seek to connect with brands that have a human story behind them. This is your chance to shine. Many people know that Steve Jobs started Apple in a garage, which is a tried-and-true example of how a brand can have an inspiring human story that resonates with consumers.
Stories are a great way to catch your audience’s attention and maintain it. You can’t just have any story, however – it must be emotional and well crafted. Use what you have, such as working a full-time job and working on your product at night, starting the business in your basement, or overcoming your past to be a female founder in a male-dominated industry. Everything that makes your brand unique and engaging should be included in your pitch. The publication wants to tell a human story that connects to your product, so be sure to highlight what makes you, you.
5. Pay Attention to Upcoming Holidays
Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day are huge marketing holidays, but they’re not the only holidays you can celebrate with a marketing campaign. The U.S. has numerous quirky and silly national holidays, such as National Donut Day, National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day, and National Go to an Art Museum Day. Depending on your product, you may be able to use these holidays to generate excitement for your product. There’s a day for virtually everything you can think of, so find the holidays that offer the most relevance to your brand.
Silly national holidays usually trend on social media, even more than the major holidays, so they’re a great opportunity to engage with followers and create compelling content. Be sure to mention this in your pitch to the publication, so the editor or journalist can see how doing a feature with your product can generate a lot of social media engagement for the publication.
6. Send Targeted Pitches
While it may seem obvious, so many brands send out cookie-cutter pitches to every publication, which usually means a response for no one. Tailoring your pitch takes some extra time, but it’s worth it. Different publications cater to different audiences, so it’s important to show that you understand your target publication’s audience and style.
In your pitch, highlight what you can bring to the table that aligns with the publication’s existing content, such as a feel-good brand story for a publication that often features human interest pieces, or a funny piece about a not-safe-for-work topic for a humorous or similarly edgy publication. Also, pay attention to the pitch process and guidelines for the publication. Most major publications will have a section for pitches on their website, which may include a short form or contact email. Check out the guidelines and follow them to ensure your pitch makes it to the right person.
7. Stay Organized
Most publications work on content two to five months out, so timing is everything. If your product is seasonal, make sure you’re pitching publications within the right time frame. For example, your fun summer product shouldn’t be pitched in June – think winter.
They also have tight turnaround times, so if you do get an inquiry, respond quickly. Journalists are often under the same tight schedule, so make sure you’re at the ready with a folder that includes your press kit of feature content, samples, press-ready images, and product information. You should also have a document that keeps you organized. Include product information and a short snippet about your product, which you can copy-and-paste for quick responses to inquiries.
8. Pitch Regularly
Most publications aren’t looking for one-off writers. If you’re accepted once, you’re likely to get another feature in the future, so be ready to provide article ideas and features. If you don’t get a feature, keep trying. Refine your pitch, your press kit, and your samples until you get a bite. You’ll learn more as you go, and once you get a pitch, you’ll gain more exposure for your product and your brand.