If your business is targeting parents, babies or children then it can be great to be featured in the parenting media. You would no doubt love to see your product in one of the 'What's New' pages in a magazine, or being reviewed on a blog or website, or perhaps being discussed with you in a radio interview or as part of a small article in a magazine or newspaper. This is not as hard to do as it sounds.
There are a few things you should know before you get started. If you want to know more, go to my website where there is a lot more information to be found!
The importance of photography cannot be underestimated
When you are selling a product or service then you need to show people (including the journalist you are pitching to), what the product looks like. This means beautiful images that have been professionally shot. There are three main types of shots you should aim to have ready:
If you have a fashion range then you should also have a 'flat lay' image, where the product has been photographed lying flat on a white background. For example:
You will need to find a way to help the journalist, and their readers, experience the product or business. If it is an online service then prepare to create access for reviewers, if it is a product then have samples ready to send the journalist.
Fashion PR is a little different...
If you have a fashion label then you probably already realise you need to have a catalogue or portfolio of the products – either online or as a PDF. You will also need to have samples available, in an array of sizes, in order to be able to respond to the callouts from stylists.
Then you need to find out the names of the fashion stylists. You can contact various magazines and ask them who they use and they will normally be happy to give you the details. Once you are on the email callout list for a stylist you should start to receive regular emails (probably monthly or quarterly) asking for specific items for them to shoot.
The mainstream women's magazines and weekend newspapers will often do a parenting/maternity/children's fashion feature at least once a year. These are harder to get in to but are worth it!
Sometimes it is good to think creatively when it comes to fashion coverage. We managed to secure some great coverage for a children's clothing range by offering them for the Christmas toy shoot for a major metro newspaper. They feature was really about toys but the kids had to wear clothes! We ended up getting about 10 pages of coverage, with the fashion label credited on each page, for no cost.
Make sure you that as well as sending samples, you email (or include in hard copy) the clothing descriptions, the sizes they are available in, the retail price and the website address for purchases. Sometimes the stylists/journalists will just ask you to provide an itemised invoice to cover this information. Of course, they are not going to pay for the samples so just be clear about that!
Approach the media for a list of features
Most magazines and newspapers plan their features well ahead. In fact they often know at least 6 months in advance, what they will be working on. You can ask them to send you this features list as many will be happy to, or look on their media kit.
Many of the bigger media outlets such as Bauer, News Ltd and Pacific Magazines will have media kits for the various magazines on their websites. As well as having the advertising rates, the circulation, readership and normally some demographics about their readers, these media kits often include feature lists for the year too so scout around online and you may be able to find out what you need.
Getting featured on TV
It can be hard to get your product or business featured on TV but it is always worth a shot because the resulting exposure can be so good for your business! In the parenting sector, the best TV shows to aim for are the morning and daytime shows such as Sunrise, Today or Mornings etc.
Most of these shows have a parenting expert or run a parenting segment on a pretty regular basis. Find out the name of the producer of that segment and approach them to include your product either as a review or as part of a collection of new products that are being talked about on air.
If your product lends itself to a bit of adult fun, suggest a way that you can involve the presenters. For instance, for a company that made personalised superhero DVDs featuring a child's face, we created a Spiderman video featuring the hosts of a morning TV show. A 1 minute section was shown on air and the hosts loved it as well as the producer who enjoyed 'playing a trick' on the presenters. We also managed to get a children's cookbook on a show by offering to do a cooking segment with kids (we provided the children) on air.
Seasonal gift guides are the easiest way to get exposure for a product on TV. Most of the morning/daytime TV shows run Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day and perhaps Valentine's Day gift guides. These are normally organised a week or two before the date.
Competitions and Giveaways – worth the bother!
If you have enough stock then running a competition or giveaway in the parenting media can get you some great exposure. You can offer small samples – for instance a small toy or a few cloth nappies – or something much bigger. These are easy to organise as you generally just have to ask if they would be keen! If they are, the media outlet will normally set the whole thing up and then send you a link or a copy when it becomes live.
The alternative to lots of small products is one large one. For instance, if you sell prams or cots you could offer a complete nursery or a 'new baby starter kit'. If the retail value is quite high ($2,500 and above) then they may dedicate quite a bit of space to the promotion. A good promotion can get hundreds, or even thousands, entering and think of all those eyeballs on your brand!
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Jules is the founder of Handle Your Own PR and is passionate about helping small businesses.
Handle Communications has worked with numerous small and micro businesses and start ups and Jules soon realised that although many people couldn't afford to hire a PR agency, they had great stories to tell and the media would be excited to hear from them. So, in the aftermath of the GFC, Jules decided to set up Handle Your Own PR in conjunction with her then business partner, Simone Heydon. Simone has since bowed out and Jules has gathered a great team to take the business to the next level.
Jules is quite entrepreneurial and has also got a few products on the market so she totally understands what it is like from the perspective of the business owner as well as being an advisor. She works hard to show people that doing PR is a skill that can be learned. And she believes wholeheartedly that it is the best choice for small businesses and start ups who want to create awareness. As well as continuing to work in her full service agency and on HYOPR, Jules has 3 young sons that keep her on her toes!