I’ve been on about the fact that the monthly magazines are all ready on the hunt for the must have products to fill the pages of their Christmas gift guides for a while. Christmas gift guides are great to get in to but if you are a retail business you will be wanting to get your products seen on the product pages all the year through. So, whilst there is no guaranteed formula and competition can be fierce, I thought I’d share with you some tips that I have gained over the past 20 plus years of my career.
Know your audience.
Whether we are talking PR, marketing, social media, or sales knowing your audience is key. Whilst you might want to see your product in Hello magazine if your customers are reading Take a Break and your price point doesn’t fit the publication, it’s pretty pointless. Always go to where your customers are. It’s not about showing that you can get into high end publications it’s about talking to your audience.
Do your research.
This is a big part of my job, staying on top of who is writing about what and when it comes to products spotting what is trending and also what else is going on in the media that you might be able to piggyback off. If a celeb is seen wearing something and you sell something similar at a fraction of the price hit those publications where readers want to follow celeb trends but on a budget.
Tick tock, tick tock…. Timing is everything.
Is the publication a short lead or a long lead? What? You might be thinking. Short leads a daily and weekly publications and long leads are monthly or bi-monthly. Long leads work 3 to 6 months in advance, hence all my recent talk on Instagram about Christmas. This does mean if you’ve got a great product for Mother’s Day there is no point contacting Red magazine about it in February. Also bear this in mind when you think about up coming dates and awareness days that you might be able to target your product around. I keep a whole list of awareness days for the whole year, it means I can pitch for clients’ months in advance if their products relate.
Once you know where you want to pitch your products, I’d recommend following the journalist(s) on social media, this might give you an opportunity to get your brand name in front of them in advance of sending your email. Don’t bombard them but engage as and when it feels appropriate.
Once you’ve sent your email, I’d also recommend sending ONLY one follow-up email. If you don’t hear back from them, they’re not interested. Don’t be deterred though sometimes they pop up months later as what you have sent previously works with something they are working on.
Be prepared for the fact they may ask for a sample of the product, so factor this into your PR budget.
If they do include your product, send a quick ‘thank you’ email and when you post it on social, don’t forget to tag the journalist and media in your post.
Get your pitch right.
Use your research to tailor your pitch. Make sure that the subject line makes it obvious that it is a product pitch by including the words product for consideration for xyz section.
Keep your email short and to the point. They get reams of emails, so they want to know what you’re offering as soon as they open the email:
I’m getting in touch with a product for consideration for ‘You will love’ in You magazine. I absolutely loved your vegan shoes last week and thought you might be interested in my brand-new bag which is 100% vegan and has been designed for those who won’t a little bit of luxury without the use of animal materials?”
Follow the intro up with the same format that you see products in their page, so if it’s a one liner with the price and URL, then include that. You might also want to include a low-res image too, so that they can see what it looks like. Then add a link “To find out more about the business and products available” with a link to your media pack (more about media packs in a future blog)
If you have anything particularly exciting that they should know when pitching to product pages – e.g., an award win or celebrity customer – add that in the email too, but only if you think it could be a game changer.
Sign it off with your contact details
A picture paints a thousand words.
I do talk about the importance of images a lot and it is part of the reason I collaborated with Susan Truseler to create The Bigger Picture package. If you are pitching to product pages hi-res quality images are essential and can make the difference between whether your product graces the pages or not. A nice photo taken on your phone that works for Instagram isn’t going to cut it for the media. You need professional photos; both cut out product images and lifestyle shots. This goes back to your research; look at how they list products and provide an image that fits.
Make the most of your coverage.
Word of warning, even though you might make it to the product pages it may not convert to a massive increase in sales (although sometimes it does), but it can do wonders for your brand awareness. With this in mind make sure that your website and social media are ready. Make sure you have your products listed and available to purchase and look at how you can capitalise on additional traffic, such as building an email database or running an offer for return customers. Tell people who follow you on social media that where you have been featured. PR your PR
I hope you have found this helpful and that your products grace the product pages soon. If you need any help with any aspect of your PR, then please do get in touch either via email email@example.com or book a free 30 minute discovery call to find out if and how we could work together.
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