Positive press coverage is a powerful marketing tool and you should expect every experienced PR professional to know the basics of approaching the media.
Understanding your client’s objectives, having a clear campaign plan, never pitching the day before you disappear on leave. These are just some of the fundamentals, along with how to write a compelling press release. That’s a whole topic in itself.
Does the press release still have a pulse in the PR world? When there is genuine news to convey, absolutely, but it is just one way of gaining media coverage. For all our clients there are times between news announcements that call for some initiative.
Here are just a few of the ways we secure Laser Lines continued presence in the press by using different kinds of content.
Thought leadership is great for PR
As you might expect from one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality lasers and accessories, 3D printers, rapid prototyping machines and vacuum casting systems, Laser Lines has lots of industry experts on its team. Spokespeople quickly stood out to us as specialists in their field who are not only able to talk with enthusiasm on their specialist subjects, but often have informed opinions on hot topics, too.
By matching these fresh insights with a targeted list of media outlets, we are able to secure thought leadership articles that are useful to readers who might be future Laser Lines customers. These insights can complement editors’ content schedules. For example, when we learn about features planned months in advance, we can offer a précis of the contribution Laser Lines might make. Or we can prepare opinion pieces led by Laser Lines, tailored to pique reporters’ interest.
With thought leadership content, editors often welcome bylined articles: articles clearly authored in their entirety by a named member of the Laser Lines team. Not only this a great opportunity to position Laser Lines as experts in their field, but it’s a fail-safe way of guaranteeing our client’s core messages are communicated.
We have successfully adopted the thought leadership approach on numerous occasions, most recently in pieces on 3D predictions for the coming months, how surgical safety is on the up thanks to 3D printing, and why it’s time to focus on metal 3D printing.
The same groundwork applies when you are placing expert comment, such as knowing your spokespeople, and it can be a much quicker win too. Provided you have got your eye on the ball, that is. This approach tends to be very reactive, and with reactive media relations you need to be quick off the mark to beat the competition. Reporters will call for comment, and only those quick to respond with a relevant, considered perspective will make it to print.
Expert comment can be proactive, too. For example, when we knew that the global leader in 3D printing solutions, Stratasys, was planning to launch a groundbreaking new range of office friendly 3D printers, we seized our opportunity.
Laser Lines is one of the few European resellers of the new Stratasys F123 Series and, in keeping with its client base, the majority of the publications we target have a UK circulation. We knew that comment on the Stratasys launch from a relevant, UK-based expert would be welcomed by numerous reporters and, by planning ahead, we were able to get our expert’s comment out there early.
Case studies are loved by the press
This leads nicely into a case study we later pitched when Robinson Packaging, a UK provider of moulded plastic and paperboard packaging, chose Laser Lines to install a Stratasys F270 – the first in Europe. Case studies gain the most media coverage for our clients. Editors like the fact that these tend to be impartial, rather than reeking of marketing and, in return for this subjective content, they will invariably give a hat tip to Laser Lines as well as a web link, which is gold dust for SEO.
Our tip? Images are an absolute deal breaker. Have hi res images ready to go, and make the reporter aware of these upfront – very few will run a case study without supporting images.
Raise your profile from interviews at exhibitions
Positioning your clients’ spokespeople as the authoritative voice in their field means that they will often become the first port of call for a reporter with an interview opportunity. This takes time. By establishing great relationships with key reporters, we have now achieved this privileged position with Laser Lines. But how to approach and engage new target publications? An all too often overlooked tactic is to leverage trade shows.
Many of our clients exhibit. It is a great way to gain visibility, and it comes at a price. That’s why we are keen to support our clients in getting maximum return on their investment. Trade shows, particularly the more established, high profile ones, tend to have a strong press presence. As a quid pro quo for your client exhibiting, the event organisers are often all too happy to share a list of attending media.
Armed with this insider knowledge, we can then select those reporters we want to approach and offer our attending experts for interview, along with a list of the topics they can speak on – it helps if some of these are super timely – and any demonstrations they can give on the stand.
We then have to be available to schedule and shuffle interviews, with the latter being particularly important at the most hectic shows. For example, at the 2016 TCT Show – which is one of the world’s leading events dedicated to 3D printing, additive manufacturing and product development – our Laser Lines’ experts were inundated with interview requests. Without careful scheduling it could have been a scrum! We are proud of that.
We’re proud too of the continued, meaningful coverage we secure for our clients by mixing up our media pitches. The press release has its place, but with so many other tricks up our sleeves there is never a quiet moment.