Market your invention through news PR
Mainstream advertisers will always be looking for things in the news that make your product or invention likely to be featured.
BY DUTCH ALYSON
Many people know that a lumberjack is a fashion inspiration for men’s flannel shirts, and flapjack is a Sunday morning favorite with a good ‘o Joe’ mug. But if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve never heard of a newsjack, it’s worth exploring.
In April, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored the movie “Sound of Metal” with six Oscar nominations. The film, about a rock ‘n’ roll drummer losing his hearing, was a reason to relate that of Fardad Zabetian (Compendium of inventors cover, April 2021) Multilingual KUDO SaaS videoconference that offers a drop-down menu from 147 sign languages to reports after the Oscars telecast.
So, ahead of Sunday’s cultural celebration, our company prepared a pitch featuring a list of “did you know” facts about the number of Americans and world citizens who are Deaf, the number of sign languages in the world, and the how KUDO was helping to change the face of global trade for deaf people. We sent it out to all the journalists who write about global business and the entertainment press that we knew would cover the Oscars.
One of the reporters I know who does entertainment reporting for NBC-TV in Los Angeles responded, thanking us for the facts he could use in his pre and post Oscar reporting. He then introduced me to the executive producer of Marlee Marlin. For those of you who don’t know, she’s a famous deaf actress who appeared on the Oscars telecast for all “Sound of Metal” nominations.
As it turned out, KUDO was looking for a community leader to expand their sign language services, so we were delighted to put the company in touch with Marlee.
This is called a newsjack!
Commercial vs newsworthy
Newsjacking.com defines process as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a news article so that you and your ideas get noticed.” In 2017, the news hijacking was one of Oxford Dictionaries’ ‘words of the year’.
A good news hijacking starts with understanding what is newsworthy and what is not.
A product is a business entity, something the press won’t naturally talk about because it’s, well, not a story.
For a journalist, a product is something that needs to be marketed with advertising (read: banner ads, TV and radio buys, influencers, guaranteed placements because you pay for them). But when you find something in the news as a link, that’s when your product becomes relevant and reportable in an unbiased and objective manner.
If you don’t have a budget for a PR agency, learning how to do it is probably one of the best tips I can give you. If you’ve budgeted for an agency, now you know how to interview to find the right one. Mainstream advertisers will always be looking for things in the news that make your product or invention likely to be featured.
Keep up to date with the latest news
Here is another example.
For a company called Beam (formerly Envision Solar, run in November 2019 Compendium of inventors cover topic Desmond Wheatley, who makes solar-powered electric vehicle chargers), one of the most important pieces of marketing right now is the fact that the Biden administration is focusing on clean energy initiatives . In fact, the White House has spoken specifically and publicly about supporting electric vehicle charging technology.
When Beam associates his product with this initiative, every element of marketing he does, from sales to advertising, benefits from the credibility borrowed from presidential preference. For the press, Beam’s products are suddenly natural to include in their reporting.
Now that’s powerful (pardon the pun).
Specializing in product launches, our company works with entrepreneurs. For the companies that we present to our little black book of journalists through a matchmaking service that we call Consumer Product Events, we help them hijack their products before making those presentations.
The best way to find newsjacks is, of course, to read the news. The larger the story, the more likely you are to tie it together in a way that is truly worthy of interest.
What if you don’t come home?
What if your product doesn’t fit in these great stories?
Start looking for vacations and what I call “months of the day”. Examples of this could be making ties or cufflinks, which are traditional Father’s Day gifts, so June Father’s Day gift guides make them a hot topic.
If you’re making sparkling wine, champagne, Italian prosecco, or brachetto, New Years Eve celebrations are the number 1 time for this type of product, followed by Christmas and Thanksgiving.
You might be making a handmade luxury ceramic pet dish, so National Pet Month in May is the time to look for some publicity. You soften the angle of advertising with anything related to a cause, so if you connect your pet dish product to the Dog Guide Foundation to raise money for it, like Kym Gold (Jan 2021 Compendium of inventors cover) of Style Union Home did it, you’re off to a good start!
Another way to create a newsjack is to research studies, trends, and statistics that make it relevant.
For a customer who made a product called Pillpanion which organizes pills for the elderly, our company suggested they find statistics on the dangers of accidental over-medication in the elderly. We reinforced that story by finding statistics on the number of seniors in the United States and how overwhelming it could become.
Perhaps the best way to tell if something is newsworthy is to notice what we’re talking about, which includes hashtags on social media.
Newspaper hijacking is an important skill to master. Learn it. Do it. Become an instant advertising master.