A word to the wise: Reporters don’t cover products or features, they cover trends.
We know that might be hard to hear if you’re a startup CMO or product marketer.
So much work goes into building and launching your products and product features – it’s only natural to want attention for all the effort you’ve put in.
The good news is, you can get coverage around your product. You just need to know how.
Here’s a breakdown of what reporters care about when it comes to product news, plus four ways to get coverage around your new product or feature.
Background: The Challenge to Securing Product Coverage
There are simply too many new products and too few reporters to cover them all.
Also, journalists aim for unbiased reporting. Profiling one company over another would send the wrong signal. Often, publications reserve product-specific coverage for paid advertising, affiliates, and sponsored posts.
But securing earned coverage for your product-specific news is still possible. Let’s get into how.
Strategy 1: Tie Your Announcement to the News Cycle
This is arguably the most important strategy for securing media coverage around a new product or feature. Reporters are always looking for commentary related to the news cycle.
Identify trending news in your industry and share with reporters how your product or feature fits in.
Example: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, cloud-based Apple device management startup Addigy offered its platform free for 60 days as organizations scrambled to transition to remote work. Propllr shared a press release about this effort with editors and reporters across and secured more than a dozen placements as a result.
Strategy 2: Pitch Your News as a Trend
Say it with me: The trend is your friend.
By demonstrating how your product or feature ties into a larger trend happening in your industry, or by pitching yourself alongside one of many startups addressing similar issues, you’ll have the best shot at catching reporters’ attention.
Example: Propllr landed advanced battery materials startup NanoGraf a profile alongside much better known competitors in WIRED. The trend story covered the surge in lithium-ion battery innovation during a time of serious growth for the electric vehicles market. Our initial pitch mentioned other companies doing similar work in the market but focused on NanoGraf’s core differentiators.
Strategy 3: Get Your Customers Involved
I wrote a recent blog post all about leveraging your customer stories to secure PR opportunities. You can do the same thing for new product or product feature announcements.
When you place your customers in the spotlight, reporters can better understand the value your new product or feature brings to the market. And prospects reading your announcement can put themselves in your current customers’ shoes.
To identify customers for your announcement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you launching your new feature with a specific customer?
- Has one of your customers completed a successful beta of the new product?
- Do you have specific customers on board to leverage your new product or feature?
Once you’ve answered these questions, plug your customers into your PR efforts around the launch:
- Press release: Include a customer example and quote.
- Reporter pitches: Include a success story and metrics related to your product.
- Commentary and thought leadership: Offer insights from customers who can speak to how they use your product.
- Contributed articles: Pitch a joint byline with a thought leader from your company and a happy customer.
- Award nominations: Nominate a customer whose success is attributable to your new product or feature.
Example: In 2020, Propllr helped Total Expert nominate several customers for industry leadership awards. Three won, which helped Total Expert not only spread the word about its product but also strengthen relationships with customers who were using that product to drive success in their businesses. Celebrating the wins also led to engagement on social, which boosted Total Expert’s visibility among its core audience.
Strategy 4: Focus on Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is the Swiss Army Knife of product-related pitching.
Whether it’s a contributed article or commentary shared via a Q&A, email, or phone interview, sharing insights and expertise that relate to your product shows you’re an expert without sounding salesy.
That’s why reporters like these kinds of insights.
If, for example, the CFPB has made major announcements about mortgages in forbearance, your mortgage servicing software platform might reach out to provide some policy-wonk background about what the announcements mean for the industry. And, hey, you might throw in some insight about how better tech can help servicers meet the CFPB’s guidelines.
Example: For our client MobStac, a leading QR code generator and marketing platform, we were able to secure the CEO a contributed article in a key industry publication on how QR technology continues to shine throughout the pandemic.
Not only was he able to cement the company in timely news around COVID, he also made sure that use cases for the company’s core product were front and center throughout the article.
Product News Works Best as Part of a Healthy PR Program
The most successful PR strategy focuses on building strong relationships with reporters. The stronger the relationship, the more likely a reporter will be to read your pitch and ultimately write a story.
Product and feature updates are just one more opportunity to reach out to reporters. When done the right way (e.g., tying the news into a trend or sending it as a friendly FYI and not demanding media coverage), reporters will come to know who you are and how your product is evolving.
Have more questions about the best way to integrate PR into your go-to-market strategy? Drop us a line. We’re here to help.