Business and Product Publicity: Market to the Media First
By Todd Brabender
Spread the News Public Relations, Inc.
starting a successful business venture or launching a new product,
most entrepreneurs or business owners conduct some type of marketing
research to determine the extent of their prospective customer base.
And when getting the word out to that customer base, many
entrepreneurs may turn to the media to help generate a buzz for them.
However, as detailed as their marketing research might have been, very
few business owners are as meticulous at determining their proper
“media market” – that is, all those media outlets whose editorial
profiles are a match to a product/business profile and would be
appropriate for generating media exposure and publicity.
One of my
favorite things to do is educate my clients about their “media
market.” Consider this, in North America there are more than 75,000
media outlets and almost one million reporters, editors & producers in
the entire media market. However, only a small percentage of those may
be appropriate and applicable to your business/product. But which
ones? Unfortunately, too many well-intentioned entrepreneurs are
either uninformed or misinformed regarding what it takes to attract
media attention for their business. I recently surveyed 100 business
owners and entrepreneurs who contacted my business about a
publicity/media exposure campaign. Here’s what I found:
11% - “Are
Admittedly Media Market Clueless”
19% - “Have
Unrealistic Media Market Perceptions”
29% - “Think
Local & Large Media Are The ONLY Media”
41% - “Have
A Good Grasp On Their Potential Media Market And Its Benefits”
Here are the
descriptions of these categories and the lessons I try to teach those
who fall into each category:
“Are Admittedly Media Market Clueless”
the business owners who know their product and market inside and out,
BUT they have never thought about launching a publicity/media exposure
campaign before now. They know very little about their potential media
market or how to generate publicity therein.
Lesson: For these types of business owners I recommend asking for
help from a smaller PR agency or publicity specialist who is willing
to “hand hold” to get the client educated. Research to find one who
doesn’t mind spending the time to educate you about what should be
included in your specific media market and the pitch. Make sure the
agency or publicist understands the product/business as well as you do
and can in turn educate you about your media market – one that will be
able to benefit your business for years to come.
“Have Unrealistic Media Perceptions”
the business owners who are CONVINCED that EVERY newspaper, consumer
interest magazine and TV show will run a feature on their new products
when they launch a publicity campaign.
Lesson: No product or business, no matter how big or great can be
assured media coverage in every outlet in a media market. But you can
get coverage in a good number of them given the right media tending.
Every media pitch will be weighed against the media outlet’s editorial
lead-time, its available editorial space, and availability of an
editorial staff member to cover your pitch. It is totally up to the
discretion of each media outlet as to whether your pitch makes it to
the pages or on air. It can be an uphill battle if you target the
wrong media with the wrong message. But you can greatly increase the
chances generating those media placements with a little expertise and
media market know-how.
“Think Local & Large Media Are The ONLY Media”
the ones who think of their media market in two simple terms: LOCAL &
you might imagine, means the media outlets in their city or
surrounding geographic region -- the local newspaper, a regional
business magazine or two, a few shows at local radio/TV stations.
LARGE, on the other hand, are media outlets like The Wall Street
Journal, Newsweek, Good Morning America, Oprah or your other favorite
large circulation, trade specific media outlet.
Lesson: The reality is local and large are indeed part of your
media market, but not the only ones. The best media market
opportunities may well be the dozens of other smaller scale papers,
magazines, newsletters or TV/radio/cable shows that may generate more
customer interest and sales than a placement in the big media might.
Because of a lack of media market knowledge, many business owners
don’t even know these smaller, more targeted media outlets exist. This
is where a PR agency or publicity specialist can be integral in your
publicity campaign. They know the media market very well and will be
able to find those media members who will be the best for generating
editorial features on your business or product. They also have great
media contacts that can turn one feature into a syndicated story that
runs in multiple media outlets nationwide.
“Have A Good Grasp On Their Potential Media Market And Its Benefits”
media-savvy entrepreneurs and business owners who are realistic and
knowledgeable about how the media can benefit their business. They
know that they have to narrowcast their media pitch to a select
segment of the media in order to get coverage that will increase
exposure for the business.
Lesson: Don’t let a PR agency or publicity specialist tell you
they will send your pitch to 20,000, 30,000 or 50,000 media outlets.
The reality is, of the 8,000 daily & weekly newspapers, 11,000
magazines & newsletters, 15,000 radio/TV/cable stations and 7,000
Internet news sites in North America, only about 25% of those accept
press releases from outside their geographic area. They cover only
LOCAL issues, businesses and products, and it is a waste of time to
target them. The key is researching to discover which media outlets
will be receptive to your pitch and knowing how to parlay those media
contacts into positive consumer interest features that will educate
and entice customers about your product or business.
marketing to find the right customers, one should be equally diligent
about finding and pitching the right media market. Bottom line –
whether you have a general interest product that has widespread
consumer appeal or a trade specific business with a very narrow
customer base, knowing your appropriate media market can mean the
difference between product/business publicity or product/business
Brabender is the President of Spread The News Public Relations, Inc.
specializes in generating media exposure and publicity for innovative
products, businesses, experts and inventions.
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