The Client: New Deal Playing Card Company
“Making the best of the hand you are dealt.”
Several months ago I took a phone call from an executive at The New Deal Playing Card Company. Her husband had just invented, patented and launched a unique line of ergonomically correct playing cards designed to fit the natural curvature of the hand. The woman had come across a magazine article about another client of mine whose new product was receiving some widespread media exposure. “Can you do the same for us?” she inquired. We did and to our delight the campaign was even more successful than the other campaign she had initially inquired about.
We researched and implemented a multi-faceted campaign of publicity and media exposure that quickly spread the news about New Deal Playing Cards through the media market. We generated dozens of features in media outlets nationwide including: every local print and TV medium in their market; large general circulation magazines like Men’s Health, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day and Child, to name a few; National Public Radio; and several newspapers and TV news broadcasts.
How Did We Do It? Diversified Publicity
The key to a successful media campaign is something I call Diversified Publicity. That is, generating exposure in as many different media outlets in as many different ways to optimize the chances of publicity for the product or business. Here’s how we dealt a winning hand to the
New Deal Playing Card Company:
1) Media Notification
We knew the client had a great product, but consumers simply didn’t know about it yet.
This isn’t advertising; this is “media notification” of an interesting new product that their readers and viewers would be interested in. We let the media be our bullhorn to educate consumers about New Deal. We researched and contacted media outlets whose profiles matched New Deal’s product line and submitted effective feature pitches to appropriate editors, reporters and producers. But that was just the beginning.
The key to generating the most media interest and placements is meticulous media interaction over an extended period of time: weekly/monthly follow-ups; prompt fulfillment of media requests (interviews, photos, samples); ongoing editorial calendar research and pitches, etc.. This is where many publicity campaigns fall short. Many business owners have the misconception that they can simply write a single release, submit it to a media release distribution service and the media interest will pour in. The majority of the media interest comes several weeks or sometimes months into the campaign, after the media has had a chance to see your pitch a few times and determine how/when they are going to lend it coverage. Just like when playing cards, sometimes you have to deal them several times before you win a hand — but that winning hand can be very beneficial to you.
2) Relative Releases
This is an aspect where business owners often fail to take full advantage of the media market. We interviewed all of the principals involved in the New Deal Playing Card Company and came up with information like hometowns, cities where they may have lived or been employed in the past, towns where they attended college, etc.. We then hit the media in those markets with what I call “relative releases” – a pitch alerting them that someone with a connection to their market (native/former resident/alumnus) is involved in an interesting, newsworthy venture –
i.e. “Former Waukesha Resident Launches Innovative Playing Card Company.”
Local media are typically very receptive to features that have a local connection. Those local features many times get picked up by news syndicates that may make the story go nationwide.
It’s a creative and effective way to turn a local story into a national one and generate extensive media exposure for your product or business.
3) Parallel-Media Targeting
One of the biggest mistakes with most publicity campaigns is improperly determining the media market. For New Deal Playing Cards we covered our bets by cross-referencing the entire North American media market to determine potential media targets for them. That is to say, in addition to obvious media targets like Children’s Editors or Feature Producers, we made many creative pitches to gain interest from several other contacts at magazines, newspapers & broadcast media nationwide. For instance, in the New Deal campaign we made three different pitches over the course of the nine-month campaign. We targeted media outlets whose editorial profiles focused on:
a) Games, Hobbies, Toys, Children, Family
b) Feature, Lifestyle, Elderly, Physically Challenged,
c) Business, Entrepreneurial, Consumer Interest,
By hitting these parallel media with our pitch, we were able to saturate the entire media market with newsworthy pitches and generate placements in multiple media outlets, from senior citizen magazines to kids shows to business news features. The key is to tailor the media pitch to the respective media market. A consumer product pitch to family magazines has a much different editorial slant and focus than an entrepreneurial feature pitch to business reporters at newspapers & TV shows.
Much like a game of cards, the success of your publicity campaign comes down how you take advantage of the cards you are dealt. The player who can create a winning hand will be the one who ends up with the most money in the end. And isn’t that the deal you want for you and your company.
Todd Brabender is the President of Spread The News Public Relations, Inc. His business specializes in generating media exposure and publicity for innovative products & services.