Getting Great Consumer Hits: 10 Steps to More & Better Media Coverage (Part 1: Steps 1-5)

With the top consumer reporters getting 100+ pitches a day, while also juggling deadlines and special requests from their editors, it’s important to have a solid plan of action for opening the door to more consumer coverage.

At our recent company retreat, I put together a presentation on ten steps for getting more and better media coverage for consumer clients.  Here are my tips:

1. Address the Pain Point– Start your pitch with a clear and convincing pain point.  For example, if you pitch a direct-to-order hearing aid, how about sharing that 36 million Americans suffer from some kind of hearing loss, but less than ¼ are doing anything about it?  Or if you push a rapid HIV test, how about including the fact that prior to the introduction of rapid testing, more than 1/3 of the 2.2 million Americans that tested for HIV at public health clinics never returned for their results? Numbers and statistics build credibility and interest with the media.

2. Tie to Breaking News & Events – Connect your product to breaking news and events to help drive immediate interest.  For example, can you tie your water purification product to the Gulf Oil Spill?  How about connecting a financial crime monitoring software to the Super Bowl or World Cup events that have a large spike in transactions?  Breaking news and events are bound to be covered – so offer up your client to talk about the product or service in the context of the big news.

3. Use Catchy Subject Lines – Create a short and clever subject line.  Think about it… how much more likely are you to open an email that catches your attention?  Some examples of catchy subject lines that my teams used to drive national coverage include “Is RFID Sponge-Worthy” (re: RFID counting and detection system for surgical sponges) or “Are We All on Drugs? The Answer May Be in the Water Supply” (re: new pharma drug take-back program).  The subject line should also be short enough that it can be read on a PDA.

4. Pitch Seasonal Gift Guides – Product gift guides are a great way to connect your products and services with the top publications on a regular basis.  Mark your calendar for important dates such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and back-to-school season.  Offer to send a sample product and high-res photo – and be sure to reach out several months in advance.

5. Target the National Days/Months – Take advantage of the national days and months set aside by industry organizations to connect your product or service.  This includes days from Earth Day to World AIDS Day to National Doughnut Day.  And if you can’t think of one, invent your own.  For example, 7-Eleven created “Free Slurpee Day.”

These are five steps to get you started.  Stay tuned for part 2 that will discuss tips six through ten and give you an opportunity to view my complete presentation from the retreat.

Post by Michael Levey
Zer0 to 5ive Director
Twitter: @mikelevey