Product submissions are an important part of prepping for release day. (And by “product submissions,” we mean, “to press outlets.”)
In my position as managing editor of the website inStash.com, there are a number of things I look for before deciding a product connects enough with our readership to feature it.
For starters, each week I have a release schedule I have to work with that needs to stay flexible so we can report on some of the big news events that happens in the world of gadgets, men’s fashion/accessories, entertainment, technology and automobiles. News breaks every week, and I’ve got to stay on top of that.
Once I work them in, I’m left with a finite amount of time and resources to feature new products and services that might appeal to our demographics.
As a general rule, here’s what I’m looking for:
- Products/ideas/services that men in the 18 to 49 demographics might find appealing, are more up our alley at inStash. So, if I get a group of product submissions for a new Barbie competitor, I’m naturally going to balk at that. It’s important to gear your products to the theme of the website, whether you’re dealing with men’s interests, pet lovers, or toy collectors. You’ll need to realize that, wherever you’re sending your pitch, what the media outlet is looking for, above all else, is something that will get their users active. Something that generates lots of comments or shares on social media. You want that, too, so it’s as much in your best interests to be well-versed on the website as it is theirs.
- Also, I want a clean presentation — something that makes it easy for me to post by providing the important details in a format that’s “glance-able,” or able to be determined without me having to read the entire query. Don’t make me — or anyone else — hunt for key product features. If you have a MSRP associated to the item, include it. If you don’t, give me some idea of when the audience might be able to get their hands on it.
- Thirdly, keep everything electronic. I run several websites in a wide range of categories. If I do get something in the mail — other than the product sample itself — that trees had to die for, it’s probably going into the trashcan shortly after it arrives. It isn’t that I’m being an ass. I just get busy trying to juggle everything in an effort to make ends meet. A good email that either links to your Dropbox or provides good, crisp images, is awesome. After all, the web is as much a visual medium as an informational one, and you’re in the best position to make your product look as good as possible. Sending all of this data — query, pitch, images — in electronic form means I don’t have a lot of papers shuffling around my desk, and it also means that I have access to everything I need to compose a post that gets the word out to our audience.
- On follow ups: I would advise that you do them, but don’t be obnoxious about it. No one wants to be hounded every single day with the same query, but things get busy in the online world, and sometimes you have to speak up more than once to be heard. Don’t be pushy about it. Keep things professional and friendly, and I will completely understand why I have two or three messages. You might also mention whether your product release is on a timetable. That motivates me to work you in quickly if I like what I see and you’ve been a champ about following up.
While these tips obviously are directed at online media, they could also go for the dwindling print community. If you have product submissions you need to make for an impending release, use these as a guide, and best of luck![Image via Hyatt.jobs]