As publicists, we hear it all the time – writers receive hundreds of pitches each day, and they’re exhausted by rote product promotion. This makes breaking through to media challenging, no matter how creative, captivating, or newsworthy the pitch. Whether announcing a new mobile app’s release, or proposing a product for holiday gift guides, it’s difficult to rise above the clamor and differentiate your message from the masses of emails flooding editorial inboxes.
We’re always looking for original ways to share our clients’ messages in a style that resonates with writers and consumers alike. To that end, our New York office recently hosted a SHIFT Consumer Technology Showcase, bringing together the best in mobile apps, wearable technology, and holiday gifts to a range of top-tier consumer technology media. Highlighting the latest and greatest from our roster of clients, we were able to pool team assets and engage some of the industry’s most sought-after reporters, securing attendees from TechCrunch, InStyle, Fast Company and Engadget, to name a few.
If you’re looking for a fresh approach to product pitching, here are our tips for hosting your own consumer client showcase.
Offer a solution to incentivize invitees. Whether it’s mobile app fatigue or gift guide pitch overload, all publicists face the frustrating experience of sharing tailored, compelling pitches only to be met with silence. To combat media apathy, offer writers a solution-driven incentive that puts their needs first. A showcase allows them to visit one place for one hour and leave with a plethora of story ideas, complete with 1:1 demos and interviews with app developers or brand founders. In and out in sixty minutes with six stories queued up? Talk about media motivation!
Provide an extra-ordinary experience. While journalism may seem glamorous – and it certainly comes with its perks – the majority of media work very had to earn their way up the masthead, often on a tight budget. With that in mind, provide invitees with a special experience to sweeten the deal. For our showcase, we organized door-to-door transportation in the latest 2014 Lexus and Toyota vehicles. This service allowed us to tout the latest technological features of each car en route, leveraging client messaging, and protect from media drop-off, commonly caused by perceived inconvenience.
Create compelling displays. Find a fun way to merchandize your clients as a group. We set up two themed zones for product introductions and experiences: the “Zoom Zone” and the “App Zone.” The Zoom Zone offered all things planes, trains, and automobiles, featuring interactive Lionel train and racing displays for gift guide editors, coupled with Lexus and Toyota feature reels playing on the big screen for the tech and auto folks. The App Zone was set up along the central island of our main work area, offering editors a convivial “apps and apps” experience – appetizers paired with personalized demos of the latest mobile applications, like Athla’s Velocity and DoggyBnB. Look at your own product lineup, then get creative!
Personalize the experience. Beyond targeting appropriate invitees, it’s important to customize each writer’s experience. Team briefings ensured that we were all up to speed on attendees’ areas of interest and latest bylines, while tailored walk-throughs and demos made sure that they maximized their time at the showcase. Upon departure, editors were offered a SHIFT-branded gift bag complete with agency treats and client swag, along with bespoke USBs containing relevant client press kits. By personalizing each experience, we ensured that editors were set up for coverage – meeting their needs, and ours!
Know the client and reap the benefits. Of course, we all know who pays the bills in the agency world – without our wonderful client-partners, agencies would cease to be! That said, our primary role as publicists is to serve the media. From start to finish, SHIFT’s Consumer Technology Showcase was designed to cater to reporters’ needs, providing them with relevant material and the assets necessary to create content, while ensuring that we facilitated an easy and enjoyable experience at our offices in NYC.
By hosting the event, not only were we able to engage reporters by offering a solution, but we were also able to increase awareness of SHIFT’s impressive client roster among major media players – a win for all!