Avoid fumbles by following these strategies to share your news with the industry.
Early in my career I taught a journalism class for a community college. It was enjoyable, but frustrating, too. Some of my students made very little progress, despite my best efforts, while others excelled.
That’s how I feel as I take stock of where we are in the mattress industry when it comes to public relations, a subject about which I have almost 40 years of experience. I’ve seen some excellent PR practitioners over the years, but I continue to see too many companies fumbling opportunities to tell their stories.
I’ve been amused by the public relations folks who asked me if I wanted one of their client’s mattresses to review. Anyone who reads BedTimes or Sleep Savvy knows that our editors don’t review mattresses.
I also chuckled when PR types asked me over the years if I would be attending the markets in High Point or Las Vegas. Let’s see, I’ve attended High Point Market, located all of 10 minutes from my home in High Point, North Carolina, since 1983. And I’ve attended Las Vegas Market since the first one was held there in 2005. So, when someone asked me if I would be going to those markets, they demonstrated conclusively that they did no homework on me and my work in the industry.
A PR professional would not make those mistakes. It is easy — but often a waste of time — for a PR person to send out a batch of news releases and hope for the best. A better strategy is to get to know the media figures in the industry and seek to meet the information needs of their publications.
Here’s my checklist for ways that your company can get better coverage in our BedTimes and Sleep Savvy publications:
1. Know your audience.
BedTimes is aimed at mattress makers and mattress suppliers. It is published in print editions monthly and has daily news updates online at BedTimesMagazine.com, as well as weekly e-newsletters. Sleep Savvy is aimed at mattress retailers and publishes six print editions a year. It also publishes news updates on its website, SleepSavvy-Magazine.com, and has a bi-monthly e-newsletter.
2. Know your editors.
This is one of the most important things you can do to get better coverage: Talk to the editors who provide that coverage. Beth English is our editorial director. You can reach her at email@example.com. Waynette Goodson is our managing editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Kathryn Greene is our new senior editor. Contact her at email@example.com.
Our editors can tell you about our deadlines and the types of stories we run in our publications.
3. Consider getting professional PR help.
There are some PR agencies that specialize in the mattress industry and have track records of success in helping clients tell their stories and raise their profiles. Working with someone who already knows their way around the industry can give you a head start in getting your news out.
4. If you want to handle your own public relations, put someone in charge.
This is critical. Top executives often have too much on their plate to successfully take on PR duties. Find another senior person who can devote some time to PR work and make that work a priority. And tell that person to immediately reach out to our editors to help get the ball rolling.
5. Take a long-range view of your PR program.
If an editor cannot meet with you at any given market, set up a meeting after market. Look at the calendar and set up some dates for check-ins with industry editors. There is always another print issue, another newsletter and another opportunity to tell your story.
6. Focus on your story.
Over the years, I’ve heard a number of executives complain that they are not getting the coverage that another company is getting. Oftentimes, that other company is doing a much better job of getting its news to industry editors.
But it’s not productive to fret about your competitors. You can’t control what they do, but you can control what you do. And so you should make sure to get your own PR house in order.
Our team looks forward to helping you do just that.