Manufacturers, 12 Tips for Getting CoveredBy John Honovich, Published May 28, 2014, 12:00am EDT
Here are our 12 top tips for manufacturers to get covered on IPVM and other publications, a recap of our live webinars held on May 22nd and May 28th:
- The top 2 manufacturer PR problems
- Issue real Press Releases
- Release them using a wire service
- Advertise releases on Twitter
- Avoid stock PR email pitches
- Emphasize new and different
- Include tech details and cost
- Find practical problems and issues stated on IPVM or pubs
- Personalize / customize pitches
- Find your right contact
- Push it if done right
- Why 'bad' press is good
Inside, we explain each one.
The Top 2 Manufacturer PR Problems
Crazy enough, the most fundamental PR problem we see for manufacturers is not trying hard enough to get publicity. Most manufacturers typically throw up a product page or a video or a display at their booth and call it a day. None of these, even all of them together, are enough.
Editors / Publications are too busy and there are too many competing options. Your co-workers in sales fly all over the place to get orders. If they took the approach of PR / marketing people, they would rarely sell anything.
The second, related, problem is that when manufacturers do reach out to editors / publications, the efforts are typically terrible - a generic form letter that looks like junk mail.
Issue Real Press Releases
Always issue real press releases that are dated. This way, people can know its new. Don't expect everyone to guess that widget 3408 is the next generation of your previous widget 3308. The date, up front, makes it clear.
Include a picture, explanation of why its different / better and pricing.
Not sure how? Just mimic this press release from Axis. It's a PoE+ over coax blade that 99% of editors cannot even comprehend but they know it's new and they have a well structured explanation they can copy and paste.
Release Them Using A Wire Service
It's not enough to simply stick a press release on your website. Pay the $100 or so to get a wire service, like PRWeb, to promote / push them out for you.
Why? Those new services get entered into Google News and sent out as Google Alerts. Both of these are common methods / avenues for editors / publications to find out about news.
For instance, during trade shows, we search each day under Google News for the trade show name to find new manufacturer releases. Additionally, many, including us, having standing Google News alerts for general terms like 'video surveillance', 'IP camera, etc. If your release contains those words, and you use a wire service, a link and overview of it will be sent to our mailbox.
Advertise Releases on Twitter
Twitter ads are highly targeted, almost all editors check Twitter every day and it is inexpensive.
Here is an example from a surveillance / security startup:
You can pick the type of users who see your ad from any Twitter account, like so:
So for ~$100, you can get 10,000 views of highly relevant security industry people, such as editors, integrators, etc. who can see what you have new. For more on doing this, see our Advanced Marketing Tutorial post.
Avoid Stock PR Pitches
Even with real press releases, wire services and Twitter ads, you will still need to email publications.
However, avoid stock PR pitches like so:
It reads and looks like junk mail. It's uninformative, impersonal and gives the impression that both the news offered is worthless and the sender does not care if the receiver even reads it.
Emphasize New and Different
More often that not, it's one big new element of a release that is going to get it covered. Find that and highlight it early. If you can legitimately use terms like "We're the first", "We're the only", "We've solved problem X", do it right up front.
Include Tech Details and Cost
At least for us, this is a requirement. Send the data sheet (even if preliminary, even if it's for our internal use only). Send MSRP pricing or at least a price range. We need to get a sense of roughly what you are claiming to do and how it compares cost wise to what is out there.
These are non-negotiable. If you do not have this, we will not cover.
More importantly, sending this up front cuts out a step and makes it easier for us to post quickly.
Find practical problems and issues stated on IPVM or Pubs
You maximize your chances of coverage by connecting your news or products to specific discussions or issues mentioned on the publication you want to be covered on.
For example, an end user with 900 cameras asked for a VMS that supports black screen monitoring. This is a perfect opportunity to 'pitch' yourself. The WRONG way is to say something dumb like "My VMS does that." A better way is to explain how it does. A great way is to do a short video that shows it. You can post it on your site, put it on IPVM, give it to your sales people, etc.
Any manufacturer can replicate this for their own areas. For instance, a wireless manufacturer asked about coverage. Here are 190+ discussions about wireless, sorted by most recent post. See where you fit or where you can add expertise, and either comment directly or pitch us via email.
Remember: when comments mention your own products, disclose your affiliation up front and present a thoughtful response of at least 10 lines.
Personalize / Customize Pitches
Instead of a generic, junk mail, PR approach, send an email directly to the publication of interest, address it just to that person and customize to their needs / interests / issues.
This takes 5 to 10 minutes but radically increase the probability of coverage, either because you will realize your news has no fit or will you make it clearer what fit there is.
Your sales counterparts don't send generic quotes to dozens of customers, nor should you.
And for those saying that they have 100 or more total contacts, pick the ones you must value and focus on them. There are not that many sites in security / surveillance that have relevance / reach.
Find Your Right Contact
Inside your organization, see if you have people who have built up trust with specific editors / publications. Even if they are not in PR or marketing, let them make the pitch.
PR and marketing people frequently have no domain experience or industry understanding so, at least for us, we find them to be a waste of time. If we have a connection inside your company who we know and trust, it is easier for us to push back and be confident that we will get our questions answered.
Push It If It's Done Right
If you make a personalized / customized pitch and do not hear within a week, send it again. Everybody gets busy. Emails are non stop. A second or even third follow up, with a good pitch, will help get attention.
Why 'Bad' Press is Good
One manufacturer commented / asked on the webinar: "Skepticism and/or criticism seems to be the theme of IPVM articles, staying off the IPVM radar seems like the best path for manufacturers?"
Another manufacturer, who is regularly criticized on IPVM, responded with, "If you have new users or people who don't know you, even if its to see why it got slammed, is beneficial. They will then make their own educated decisions on it."
I agree with the latter manufacturer. Don't be like Arecont Vision and put your head in the sand. Besides, we'll still cover you, even if you avoid talking to us.
Going back to the top 2 manufacturer problems, the big issue for nearly every manufacturer is not enough publicity. Hiding is not a good option. Most people who read something critical about a company are likely never going to use them anyway, simply because they are not even aware of the company. At least getting one's name out there opens the possibility for users checking it out themselves.
And if you are good at PR or marketing, you should be able to find and highlight positive things you are doing or products you are releasing. If you are a good...
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