“How can we get coverage for our new product in [insert name of top-tier newspaper, magazine or newsletter]?” As media director, it’s a question I get often from B2B marketers, and my answer is almost always: “You can’t.” At least not in the way you could in the relatively recent past.
I recall the “Golden Years” of B2B media relations. When a company announced a new product or service, a new office opening or a new CEO, you’d fax (yes, you read that right) a news release and maybe send a few photos via (snail) mail. Then the news appeared in ink the following week, or perhaps the next day, if you were that quick and that lucky.
Today, while the 24-7 news cycle seems open to a plethora of new content, B2B marketers should know there is no such thing as “automatic” coverage of corporate events or announcements like new products and services, even in the trade press.While today's news cycle seems open to a plethora of new content, there's no such thing as “automatic” coverage.Click To TweetEvery placement is hard-won, and typically involves transforming your message (new product, service, office or staff) into something that directly ties into what the journalists and outlets need to cover at that moment.
“So, you have a new product… Why should my readers care?”
This question, and many like it, are the driving force behind today’s changing media landscape. In a fake news world where readers (and of course, journalists) take all corporate announcements with a grain of salt, it’s never been more important to make your announcement relevant, reliable, repeatable and resource-heavy.
The 4 Rs of Media Relations for B2B Marketers
- Relevant – Your news MUST be of interest to the intended audience and the broader community you are trying to reach
- Reliable – Announcements cannot be filled with false promises, semi-truths or unsubstantiated claims (My favorite term to hate is “revolutionary.” I doubt it!)
- Repeatable – Is your news easy to share? It should be relatively short, or “snackable,” and offer interesting insights that people in your circle (and not in your circle) would likely want to share
- Resource-heavy – Include hyperlinks to similar content that drives your point home, such as survey data or other tangential, yet relevant, content. Consider multimedia (video, audio) too
To hammer home the first (and most important) point, you can’t just “announce” a new product anymore. That has gone the way of the dodo and the typewriter. Today, B2B marketing strategies must “reveal” a company’s new product, service or message. I don’t necessarily mean some fancy display or grand gesture. Rather, I’m referring to the thought process behind the announcement. To reveal news today, your brand must dig deep and uncover why it is necessary in the world – even if in your own very niche, vertical-focused world.
You’re Telling Me There’s Still a Chance?
We’re all aware that the typical newsroom has changed quite a bit in the recent past. It’s smaller, leaner and hyper-focused on the consumer of that content. Journalists are under severe pressure to produce content that provides the four Rs noted above. It’s your job to help them do theirs.
There is some good news to share. According to the 2018 “State of the Media” survey conducted in February by Cision, journalists have not given up on company-produced news. In fact, of the more than 1,350 reporters, editors, producers and bloggers who responded, 63 percent said they actively invite companies to send news announcements and timely press releases with clearly stated news hooks. A surprising 44 percent said they trust the information provided in press releases and direct story pitches more than company websites, blogs or social media platforms.
So, the press release isn’t dead after all! If you provide the right content to the right journalist, your story has a good chance of being covered. And if you do that often enough, the journalist might start coming to you first because, hey… you ARE the expert, right?
And if you’re the expert, then your product must be pretty good, too. So B2B marketers, tell me what you’re working on!