10 ways to get your consumer technology product noticed in the media
According to a Forbes Magazine report in 2016, 82% of shoppers carry out online research before making a purchase. Nielsen, also in 2016, reported that 60% of people looking to buy consumer electronics goods carried out online research prior to purchase; this will include checking out prices and specifications on the vendor’s site. But when they look for objective advice they will refer to neutral sources like the media. So, more than ever, it is vital to make sure your consumer tech products are getting their fair share of positive media coverage. Here are our top ten tips to help you towards that goal.
Understand your USP
This might seem obvious, but understanding what makes a product unique is an important factor when generating media interest. For example, a journalist will look favourably on a product if it offers a new twist on a product category. Make sure you know what sets your product apart as the media are always looking for the unusual and the quirky, such as Rolls Royce’s retracting Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Our client devolo made sure that its Gigagate WiFi bridge was clearly positioned as a solution for connecting multi media devices like smart TVs and games consoles rather than a generic home WiFi solution.
Embrace big-name competition
The old adage “if you can’t beat them, join them” might appear to be counter-productive when trying to present a new product. After all, why would the media care about a product if it competes with the latest and greatest from household brands such as Uber, Apple or Google? However, these multinational corporations often spark topical debates within the media, which can present opportunities for other businesses to provide further insight. For example, a recent report about a new home care app from Cera generated major national coverage by pitching itself as “Uber for the care sector.”
Get professional on product reviews
One of the most common methods of generating media coverage is product reviews. Almost everyone has been influenced by a review at some stage whether it’s for a washing machine or a movie. But to have the best chance of success, you need to manage the relationship with the reviewer. First impressions count so make sure the pitch, packaging, and most importantly the product are delivered in mint condition, on time, with suitable instructions and reviewers notes. And don’t wind up the journalist by asking them to return a product that retails for less than around £200. Don’t forget, for them to return it will take time, and who will pay for their professional time, acting as your post boy?
Meet them face to face
Never under estimate the value of personal relationships. One to one interviews and media tours allow you to not only build those relationships but also to explain where your product fits into the market and to flag up forthcoming plans and product releases. If you do decide on a media tour, ensure each media representative leaves the meeting with all relevant marketing and editorial material – ideally on a USB drive – and a review sample. And don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to see you.
Give them an exclusive and they will love you for life
Relationships with the media should not be a one way street. If you can share some inside knowledge about your company or developments in the sector that you know are coming up, they will thank you and remember you took the trouble to give them an exclusive even when there was no immediate benefit for your company. This bond of trust can also pay dividends when you have to pull a story like in the case of a delayed product release or you need to deal with negative publicity.
Conduct original research but steer clear of fake news
Surveys are a well trodden path for consumer PR. But they are not cheap and you need to seek professional help from companies like YouGov or you might find yourself accused of generating fake news. One way to keep you on the survey straight and narrow might be to partner with a university so that they conduct the research and your brand shares in the credibility of the institution. Alternatively, your in-house experts may have done their own research that you could publish.
Make your website media friendly
Keeping the product information on your website up to date should be a given. But what about providing images and logos in all the possible formats the press might need? If you make your media section on the web site effectively a self-service portal it will mean that a journalist can complete their article in their own time without having to waste time calling you for a jpg or transparent back logo. Given the time constraints journalists work under they will go with the quickest option and work with a brand that makes their life easy.
Social media for amplification and insights
Social media can be seen as a way to amplify positive media coverage among consumers in the channel but it also plays a vital research role for the consumer tech brand. By following the key editors and freelance writers you can see what topics are trending and just as importantly, you can see what “grinds their gears” and avoid those pitfalls. Many journalists don’t have time to respond to emails but will respond to a DM on Twitter. So the more writers you are connected with the better your access to them on social media.
Competitions and reader offers
Competitions and reader offers are always a good bet for reaching the wider consumer press as well as the tech media. Consumer lifestyle titles only have so much editorial space for technology so reader offers and competitions can be a useful way to reach a new audience and secure coverage when you need it rather than waiting six months for the tech feature to come round again.
Become an expert source
In consumer tech PR there is not as much scope for the by-lined or thought leadership article as there is in B2B but the press still need expert comment. Offer yourself as an expert. Let them know where you have specialist expertise or insight and start pitching. Tools like Response Source can be useful for finding comment opportunities in the media but you can just as easily engage with journalists via social media or picking up the phone. Remember, they are looking for expert comment not a product plug. So keep it balanced and helpful and they will keep coming back for more.