Is product publicity important during a pandemic?

I’ve been a publicist for more than a decade, and have arranged thousands of media stories. I was a news producer before that. Because of my background, I know that most companies have a lot more stories to tell than they realize. I honestly hope your product publicity efforts didn’t come to a halt when the pandemic hit. 

As more businesses go under, people need to hear from you more right now. And not just with paid ads. They need credible proof that your business is viable, and reassurance that spending their money with you is a good decision. Media Relations Agency’s clients have two strong advocates in their corner: our publicists and the media. We’re busier than ever. The stories are just coming together a little differently.  

Rather than let the pandemic paralyze your marketing, we can make the media work in your favor. Here are some tactics we use that work well. 

  • Using technology to your advantage. Until now, our focus has been to get clients into the TV stations. Now, videoconferencing is working out well. At-home interviews are a reflection of what’s going on in the world, and we are adapting. We’ve used Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and others. Interviews can be recorded without concern for travel schedules, and we can arrange for clients to do multiple interviews in one day, in different markets. That’s a plus.
  • Making sure your setting looks professional. You can’t just do a video interview from your couch. I saw someone conducting an interview from their laundry room! We’re guiding our clients through lighting, appropriate props, the use of green screens, and the necessary audio/internet connections so they don’t freeze during live interviews. In most cases, you don’t need to worry if your cat comes into the shot. It humanizes you and provides some comic relief. 
  • Anticipating questions and responses with facts appropriate to the specific audience. The most common mistake people make when they just start doing media interviews is not preparing enough. You may not have much time to answer each question, so having bullet points helps. It may take a handful of interviews before you feel comfortable. When possible start with local TV or radio, as they’re less intimidating to most people than national media. By the time you feel ready for a national interview, you’ll do so well that they’ll want you back. 

My advice if you are considering hiring a PR agency 

You don’t have to be an expert in the media. You just have to feel confident that you can trust your publicists to do their jobs. Media Relations Agency has 30+ years of experience. We’ve been through a lot of changes in the marketing environment. Because we’re performance-based, we don’t get paid unless we deliver results. We know how to change our approaches based on the media’s needs. And we’re here to hold your hand through the process. 

Be wary of agencies that haven’t built trusted relationships with the media. I’ve worked hard to establish connections with my media contacts. I’m never going to give them a shady story just so I can get paid for it. It’s my integrity on the line. Those ethics make the media happy and their audiences happy. Clients like knowing I’ll keep working with them until we have stories worthy of the media’s and audience’s time and attention. 

Of course, we don’t have full control over the actual interviews. That’s why media stories have so much credibility and carry so much clout with consumers. So, in addition to preparing clients we also prep the media with the talking points our clients want to cover. 

At the end of the day, the media will do as they want. Their responsibility is to stay neutral and informative. But don’t let that frighten you. Out of the thousands of stories I’ve arranged, I’ve never had a reporter sabotage one of my clients. Hosts will do their best to make their guests look good. They will try to guide you if you’re nervous. They want a good show. 

That’s what I mean when I say our clients have two advocates: us and the media. Everyone wants the interviews to work. Inexperience with the media shouldn’t be a barrier to great product publicity. Call us at 952-697-5269 or contact us using this form. Let’s talk about how we can structure a PR campaign for your product that enhances your reputation in the community and builds your confidence as a credible spokesperson for your industry. 

Written by Krista Wignall

Krista is a former TV news producer, so she’s a natural at working with the media. She’s also creative and persistent. When she’s got a good story that needs to be told, she won’t give up until she’s made it happen.

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