When should cleaning product manufacturers begin pitching magazines to achieve spring cleaning media coverage, and what is the best approach?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Now is the time (July/August/September) to plan your approach and begin pitching long-lead media (home magazines, women’s magazines, parent’s magazines, green magazines, etc.)! Most long-lead media work anywhere from 4-6 months in advance; so beginning to plan now ensures you don’t miss an opportunity for your product to be considered.
Here are five steps to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity and better yet, your product gets in the mix for consideration.
Step 1: Review/update your media list
If you haven’t been keeping your media list up to date, take time to double check and ensure your key media outlet contacts are up to date. With magazines closing and staff changes taking place daily this is a necessary step. Otherwise, all your hard work developing pitches will fall on deaf ears.
Step 2: Determine your “hook”
If you have a new product launch that coincides with spring, then certainly use that as your lead. However, if you don’t have a new product to pitch, you can still pitch existing products that the media outlet hasn’t yet covered, which can be just as successful.
Also, rather than just touting a new or existing product, focus on a hook that media can create an entire story around. Consider the magazine’s target audience and what would be of most interest. For example, for parenting publications provide tips on how to “speed clean” while still getting the job done or how to involve children in spring cleaning.
Step 3: Follow up, follow up and follow up
No matter how you send media your pitch – email, snail mail or fax (yes… faxes still exist) – you need to conduct follow up for a few reasons. First, it is possible media did not see your pitch or that it got caught in a spam filter. Secondly, you’ll want to learn what the media outlet’s focus is for spring cleaning so you can respond accordingly.
Don’t get discouraged if you get the media contact’s voicemail. On average it takes seven calls to a media contact to get them on the phone. So don’t consider your job done when you leave a voicemail. Continue to call back until you get a contact on the phone, but don’t continue to leave voicemail messages or you’ll have one upset media contact.
Also, when you do get a media contact on the phone avoid the #1 pitching mistake; don’t ask the media contact if they received your pitch. Rather, engage him/her in a conversation on their publication’s spring cleaning focus and determine how your products/company can best support that focus.
Step 4: Distribute product samples upon request
If media are interested in sampling your product, they will let you know.
We highly advise against distributing unsolicited samples to media because it is a waste of time and money. And sometimes media contacts will even send product back to you if they didn’t request it.
Step 5: Follow up again
If media requests a product sample, definitely follow up with him/her again to ensure it was received. Also, get a sense for when they plan to test it (if they haven’t already), and ask if it is okay if you call back around that time frame to learn about the results.
As you can see, securing spring cleaning media coverage (or any coverage for that matter) is a process and takes time to do it right. Assuming your product has good efficacy, these tips will help you approach the media effectively and bring you one step closer to seeing your product appear in the publication.
Need help securing media and blog coverage for your cleaning products? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.