The following is an edited excerpt from Ed Shiller's
book "The Canadian Guide to Managing the Media" in which
he explains how a media relations strategy was utilized to promote
a new product in lieu of an expensive advertising campaign.
Howard Fisher, a Toronto chiropractor, wanted to promote his latest
invention: the Back Strip, a firm, but flexible foam cushion designed
to reduce the risk of back injury by athletes playing demanding
contact sports such as hockey and football.
He couldn't afford to buy advertising in volumes that would effectively
promote his invention, so he chose, instead, to generate news coverage
Strategy Ideally, the thing to do when promoting
a product is to get third-party endorsement. Your message will be
much more credible when a recognized authority whose objectivity
is beyond question touts the virtues of your invention. Howard persuaded
a couple of National Hockey League players to try out the Back Strip
and got permission to use their brief testimonials in a news release.
The standing of the Back Strip now assured, we set about our primary
goal of getting media coverage for Howard's invention.
Our target audiences were easy to identify: any primary- or secondary-school
boy or girl who played contact sports; their parents; hockey and
football coaches at primary and secondary schools and universities
and in the myriad amateur leagues across the country; professional
athletes and coaches; and physiotherapists, chiropractors and other
health care professionals who would treat sports-related back injuries.
Our target media included the daily press, community newspapers,
trade magazines and radio and television stations.
Procedure We produced a comprehensive media kit that
contained a news release that focused on how the Back Strip would
help prevent sports injuries and included quotes from an established
NHL player and trainer. Also in the kit were photographs showing
the player being checked while wearing the Back Strip during an
NHL game; a fact sheet on the Back Strip; biographical sketches
of Howard Fisher and Michael Finewax, his business partner and marketer;
If the media chose to run the news release and nothing more, that
was fine with us. But one of our key objectives was to arrange interviews
for Howard and thus get much more extensive and varied media coverage.
To achieve this, we topped the media kit off with a personalized
letter addressed individually to sports editors, medical writers
and assignment or news editors at our targeted media. The kits were
mailed or hand delivered and, a few days later, Michael Finewax
followed up by phone to arrange interviews. The product was legitimate,
the endorsements gave it credibility and the news release pinpointed
a persuasive news angle.
The result was that Howard gave more than 50 interviews.
Read the actual news release, fact sheet, biographical information
and testimonials used in this case in "The Canadian Guide to
Managing the Media". Copies are available from Ed Shiller.
Contact him by telephone at 416-496-2243 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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