Product Pitches: Three Steps to Success
by Kasey Backherms
Write Comment June 11th, 2013 Tips · Uncategorized
One of the most difficult tasks for a PR professional handling a technology company’s communication program is garnering interest around a product update announcement. In the eyes of your client, it is one of the most important types of coverage they will receive because of the immediate value it creates for the sales team. However, there is often a disconnect between the value a client receives from the coverage, and the real “news value” to a reporter.
Given the nature of the announcement, skeptical reporters will ignore your pitch altogether, or respond to tell you they don’t cover product news. However, some will follow up with a series of fairly predictable questions. Your success with the announcement will hinge on how well you are prepared to respond.
Keep in mind, there is a time element working against you. If you don’t respond to reporters rapidly, the window of opportunity closes. In dealing with this scenario time and time again, here are three sure fire questions that you can expect from reporters and editors, and how you can be ready to ensure that your client is getting the editorial exposure they deserve.
Do they have a customer reference?
Reporters are trying to create something of interest to their readers, so many times they will ask for customer case studies or will want to talk to a customer directly in order to tell more of a “real life” story. While many customers are not always available or reluctant to disclose their use of a product, some will see it as an opportunity for positive exposure. Be ready for this question, and have the details at the ready when a reporter asks. It will strike further interest, and will most likely lead to editorial coverage.
Can I see the press release?
When pitching the media prior to the announcement date under embargo, it is critical to have a working draft or final draft of the product announcement at the ready. Many time reporters will only ask for the release to preview and draft their stories on this without even taking a briefing. Once you have gained partial interest from them by asking for an embargoed release, stalling on it like shooting yourself in the foot.
Do you have any photos or screenshots?
Visual aids are always a plus to have as additional information that can be quickly sent to reporters and editors. Many times in drafting their stories around the product announcement, reporters will ask for screenshots of the product dashboard and even headshots of executives that are being quoted in the piece. Having these resources at the ready before a dialogue begins with the media can make a dramatic difference for the better the quality of the editorial coverage.