There’s no understating the power of a well-written profile or a positive review of your gadget: Media endorsements can drive hundreds or even thousands of readers to your website and boost sales. For some tech companies, a public relations strategy can center on securing media reviews of your products.
For instance, when we secured coverage in Esquire and Yahoo! for the FDA clearance of client Apira Science’s iGrow Hair Growth System, traffic to Apira’s e-commerce site multiplied eight-fold and sales surged.
Similarly, media coverage we secured for Kubo Robot in TechCrunch, Mashable, Yahoo! Finance, and others during its crowdfunding campaign drove interest in the product and sales. The company raised nearly double its Indiegogo fundraising goal.
So how do you guarantee a positive review for your own product? You can’t. But there are several ways to improve your chances. Here’s how we got these companies on the radar of influential media and what you’ll need to do the same.
Analyzing reporters’ past coverage will help you determine how (and even if) they review products, and what attributes or functionality they find most important, so you can determine if they’d be a good fit for your product (and vice versa). Look beyond the obvious targets to find less conventional, but equally influential, opportunities for product coverage. The inclusion of Ventev Mobile chargers in articles by Vogue and Fashionista about New York Fashion Week opened up a large new audience that we might not have been able to reach via traditional tech editors.
Tips and hints can improve your chances
Some products lend themselves more easily to reviews than others. But if you’re launching a new product category or have a device that requires prolonged use, you’ll have to be explicit in your instructions and expectations for results.
Check in with reporters periodically to see how the trial is going, offer tips for use, or see if they have any questions. Once a device is in the reviewer’s hands, there’s no surefire way to ensure correct usage, but an occasional, unobtrusive reminder might be enough to positively influence their experience.
It’s how we secured positive reviews of the weight loss app LoseIt! Though users could get a basic feel for the app by logging their food daily, the app required at least a few weeks of data before it could provide insight into good and bad food choices, and make meal plan recommendations. To make sure reporters stuck with the program and experienced its more advanced features, we’d check in every couple weeks to answer any questions and also provide relevant updates that might make a review more timely — for instance, when Apple selected LoseIt! as one of the first featured apps for Apple Watch.
First – and second and third – impressions count
A product review doesn’t begin when a reporter receives your product, but rather the moment you contact them and inquire about the opportunity. From that point on, every email, phone call, tweet, or DM becomes part of her experience, and is likely to shape her review. From your initial outreach to how you answer questions or address issues during her trial, each communication influences her perception of your brand and customer service.
It’s why we include personalized, handwritten notes with each of the products we ship out for review or to influencers. From the stationery to the packing materials, we strive to create a positive, photo-worthy, branded experience with each and every product we send out.
— Annie Reuter (@yousingiwrite) May 27, 2016
No one can guarantee a good review
We’d like to think that every reporter is going to love and appreciate your product as much as you do, but the cold, hard truth is that, unless you’re sponsoring the content, you just can’t guarantee a glowing review.
That’s where this advice can help. Do your due diligence, understand what makes your target media tick, and sweat the small stuff. In the end, you’re not just being graded on how well your product works, but on the entire brand experience.