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New Product? With Publicity, Give It Nine Lives

by Marcia Yudkin

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.

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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.

Got Content?  Then Get Gobs of Additional Publicity!
Convert existing content into press releases for a three-pronged second round of business visibility:  a good shot at media exposure, new readers for your content and increased web traffic. Using the tips in this report, cash-flow expert Caroline Jordan spent 15 minutes transforming a set of tips into a release that got her onto sites for the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Fox News, CBS, ABC, UPI, and many others.  Publicity strategy for content czars.

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 2000 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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