Originally posted September 2005. Latest update November 2017.
This article was written by Marcia Yudkin, the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books.
The closeness between the words "new" and "news" provides a telling clue to how easy it can be to get media coverage for something that's new. By definition, the media are in the business of covering what's fresh, what's unprecedented and what has just happened. Follow a few simple steps and publicity can make your product launch a significant success.
First, carefully and honestly define specific markets for your product. Media that target those markets are those you should concentrate on. Forget about the mass media unless even a skeptic would have to agree that your product would matter to practically everyone.
Second, identify the primary benefit your product will bring to each target market. String that together with the identity of the corresponding population in a press release headline, using the formula "New [generic product description] brings [benefit] to [target market]." For instance: New Bridal Shower Game Ends Gift-Opening Tedium, Makes Shower a Memorable Event for Hostess, Bride and Guests
Third, reword your headline for each target market. An editor's paramount question when screening release headlines, whether in a stack of faxes, in an email in-box or on the Web, is "Is it relevant to my readers?" Naming the readers in the headline answers that question without forcing the editor to think. For example, while the headline above would go to brides' magazines, the one below fits publications for wedding planners:
New Bridal Shower Game a Sure-Fire Add-on for Party Planners
Fourth, complete the releases and distribute them to the relevant media. The narrower a niche, the more you may want to supplement established industry distribution circuits with additional research and one-by-one mailing, emailing or faxing.
Fifth, get to work turning your Web site for the product into a magnet for folks searching for something like what you've just released. Brainstorm generic keywords by which people would search for your item and include as many of them as possible on the home page and throughout the site. Register your site or new product page not only with major search engines but also with specialized industry directories and submit your link at industry portals. Include customer or expert testimonials for greater credibility, and add links to media coverage when that starts coming in.
Whenever possible, link the timing of your product release to a holiday, the season, current events or a trade show to increase its newsworthiness.
Most specialized magazines feature selected new products near the front of each issue, often with a product photo. You needn't send product samples or photos everywhere to get such coverage, as editors will call for those if intrigued by the release. The more lively and reader-friendly the writing in your release, the more likely a busy editor is to choose your item from the candidates received.
After half a year or so has passed, your product will no longer count as "new." By upgrading the item in a relevant way, however, you can consider it a new edition and start the cycle over again.
Copyright 2005 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.