By Ray Drasnin | Purple Penguin PR
Entrepreneurs know the importance of being first to market. The most successful products, services, and companies come from visionaries who identify a problem and solve it, first. Being the first company to create a product or offer a service doesn’t matter, however, if your target audience doesn’t know about it. That’s why startups and established brands hire recognizable spokespersons to pitch their products – on Super Bowl ads and in social media posts.
Consumers, however, are smart and getting smarter. They know the difference between a paid advertisement and an endorsement from a customer, client, friend, or relative who has actually used the product. And those more personal endorsements carry weight.
The most believable source for product news and company announcements is a PR placement in television, radio, and print news. From the daily newspaper that gets delivered to doors throughout your city to national morning TV talk shows, news shows and 24-hour cable broadcasts, getting your company featured in the news helps strengthen your brand and reach new customers.
What makes public relations so time intensive and difficult is that every company on earth is pitching themselves to a small pool of reporters. If you can find the right media outlet and the best reporter to pitch your company to, you’re making the right first step. But how do you get your pitch noticed out of the literally hundreds (or thousands) of PR pitches media professionals receive? The formula most assignment editors are looking for is first, best and controversial.
Be the First
First is what it sounds like – you are the first product to market, the only company offering a service in a specific area, or the one solving a problem right now. Think about how many news reports you’ve read or seen about a brand new product, a brand new company, or a brand new technology.
Compare that to how many in-depth reports you’ve come across about how that technology really impacts the world, or how successful the new company is a few years into the market. We see more media coverage on NEW and FIRST than best, because that’s what media professionals are looking for most often.
A Better Mousetrap
Best is what it sounds like too. It’s not quite enough just to be first. You also need to show your product is the best solution.
One way to do that is to get outside partners or customers to share in your press release or by talking directly to reporters, that your company is setting the bar for excellence. Another is original research, patents, partnerships, or other information that proves how successful your product is or will be.
Outside sources is key.
Create a Stir
The last marker news outlets are looking for is controversial. News channels spend more time on what’s controversial than what’s not.
If your business model takes a different look at a problem, your CEO is an engaging non-conformist, or your product or service is in a niche market that makes people uncomfortable, you may have an edge in your media pitch.
So rather than wondering why your business hasn’t cracked the print just yet, or why your CEO hasn’t been booked for that podcast interview, think about how you can integrate first, best and controversial into every media pitch.
One rule of thumb, if the reporter could ‘report’ on your story next week or next month, then they’re not going to call you back today. It’s only newsworthy if it has to be covered RIGHT NOW. Create a sense of urgency.
If you can wait to pitch it next week, you need to recalibrate your pitch to highlight first and best, or you need to wait until next week to pitch. If you have a first, best pitch, but it’s not controversial, think about how you could spice up the pitch. And consider who you could get to strengthen your argument, with outside voices and research.