Press Relations 101: It’s Actually Pretty Easy

By Roy Huntington

An article — indeed any bit of objective editorial, as opposed to “advertorial” — is extremely important for your company. But you know that, right? When a reader of a magazine — a magazine whose opinions they trust — reads an article about a product, it can have a huge affect on a decision to buy. Yet, we’re constantly surprised at how difficult it can be to work with a client to get their products or services into print. From no available artwork, to simply failing to return calls or emails, many clients put little effort into helping their companies get in front of readers. Here are a few tips on how to get that all-important helping hand called editorial coverage.

Timely Tips

1. Devote dedicated time to writer/editorial relations. Don’t make it a haphazard process, without clear ways for writers and editors to contact you. Make sure you have decent support artwork, put your new products on your websites and return calls or emails. Don’t just say, “Oh, grab a screen shot from the website” if a writer or editor needs a photo. Most web-based photos aren’t high enough resolution. Think seriously about having a link for high-res images on your website and name them with plain product names, along with your part numbers.

2. Read the magazines your customers read. Find out what they’re interested in and try to get your products into those magazines. Have some idea of who commonly writes about your products and try to get your products into their hands.

3. If a legitimate writer or editor asks to use your products for an article, make it as easy as possible for them to get ahold of your product. There’s also nothing wrong with making it clear you’ll need it returned. If you’re smart, and it’s a lower cost product, leave it in the writer’s hands so it can appear again in future articles.

4. Don’t ignore writers you don’t know. Sure, there are scammers at times, but keep your mind open to new writers. They should be willing to have you call their editors to verify things. Ask if an article is “on spec” or “assigned.” Spec means they hope to sell it, assigned means it’s already wanted. With FMG, if their name is on our masthead and they reach out, it’s an assignment.

5. Don’t outsource to a PR firm who has no idea of how our industry works, doesn’t know anyone in it and isn’t familiar with your customers. Do I have horror stories I could tell you …

6. Reach out to us proactively and ask for our help. We’re interested and even happy to help you.

The companies who manage this most successfully always have a dedicated person whose job — at least in part — is to manage press relations. And that’s different from marketing, trust me.

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