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"Research For Ink, How to Get Reporters Interested"
Business Publicity News May 2005

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One of the more challenging aspects of generating publicity is getting reporters and editors interested in your story. They are in the NEWS business, not the OLDS business. One approach is to talk about new products or services, but even then, there has to be a compelling reason for a publication to give you "free advertising" for a new product introduction.

Market research that uncovers something new about consumers - their wants and needs, attitudes and purchase habits - often does the trick. Here are some examples:

  • A manufacturer of prescription eyeglass lenses wanted to show that children are an underserved market. They conducted a survey among parents of school-aged children and had an ophthalmologist comment on the findings.
  • A maker of data storage devices wanted to show that their new product addressed a real need in the marketplace. A survey of MIS directors did the trick, and got them coverage in every major trade publication here and in Europe.
  • A maker of an herbal supplement for leg swelling wanted to emphasize the dangers of crossing ones legs. A survey of leg-crossing habits, in conjunction with National Cross-Out Week got the attention of network morning shows as well as newspapers.

While these research efforts may be too rich for your budget, there are much more cost effective ways to highlight new products, new markets, the quality of your products and services, or some other aspect of your business. You can try:

  • Secondary research: a search of general and specialty databases of articles that support a position you want to publicize.
  • Omnibus research: placement of a few questions on a larger survey that shares the costs with non-competitors
  • Focus groups: in-depth research that can elicit real experiences with your products or in your category for use as testimonials or confirmation of your position.

Reporters and editors love research because it is NEWS. But you must have it done right, or they will lose interest quickly. A modest investment can bring you a healthy return in publicity.

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