Tuesday, November 12, 2019

LCWA Shows Magazine Editors that We’ve Got Them “Covered”!

While we may be gearing up for cold temperatures and snowfall, shelter magazine editors are already thinking spring! With that in mind, we recently headed to Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa – the headquarters for several of the nation’s leading home and lifestyle publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Midwest Living and Traditional Home – to promote some 2020 outdoor living must-haves from our new client Classic Accessories.

Classic Accessories is the leading manufacturer of high-quality, benefit-rich protective covers, furnishings and accessories for outdoor living and today’s active lifestyles. In spring of 2020, the company will launch a new patio collection under its Duck Covers brand and we wanted to give editors a sneak peek at what’s to come. (You’ll have to wait until next year to learn more!)

We met one-on-one with more than 20 editors representing 15 different Meredith print and online properties. Our display proved a great conversation starter, allowing us the opportunity to discuss in detail the Classic Accessories brand and new products. Each editor walked away with a comprehensive media kit and story ideas that could feature the new collection or other Classic Accessories products. And, LCWA walked away with a number of great leads for editorial coverage in spring and summer editions!

Overall, our visit to Meredith Corporation afforded us direct access to editorial influencers and provided the opportunity to position Classic Accessories as the leader in protective covers and as a valuable resource for outdoor living coverage. LCWA effectively solidified relationships with known editors, established rapport with new editors and laid the groundwork for future editorial coverage.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Influencer Marketing – Not Just a Consumer Tactic

When you talk about “online influencers,” most people think of mommy bloggers, celebrities or fashionistas telling consumers about the latest “must have” products. But influencer marketing can also be a huge asset for business-to-business marketing. Here are a few reasons why B2B companies should consider partnering with influencers in their next PR push.
  • Drive critical audience awareness. There are influencers reaching every segment of the population, it’s just a matter of finding the right person for your messages. Today’s influencers cover a wide variety of topics and reach audiences through workplace blogs, LinkedIn timelines, ongoing podcasts and more. To find the right influencer, look for three things: reach, relevance and resonance. If you have those things, the influencer will have the power to bring critical awareness to your campaign within your audience.
  • Build thought leadership. Influencers are always looking for new and interesting content. Have interesting survey results or an intelligent white paper? Send it to an influencer to discuss and dissect in a new and interesting way, keeping your brand at the forefront of the conversation.
  • Help your company stand out. Influencer marketing in the B2B market is still relatively untapped, so why not be the first in your industry to harness it? Your brand will stand out and apart from competitors. Influencer marketing isn’t slowing down, so the sooner B2B companies lean into it, the more ROI they will get out of it.
  • Create essential credibility. Building customer trust is important and necessary when growing a business, and there’s no better way to illustrate your credibility than by working with a trustworthy third party.  Choose an influencer that matches up with your company’s values and style so that their followers will connect with your brand’s content. An influencer stamp of approval is useful in demonstrating credibility and can win you new fans for the long term.

There are many great influencers out there. Hopefully this insight will encourage your company to start applying influencer marketing into your next campaign!

Monday, November 4, 2019

First Alert Celebrates Fire Prevention Month

When it comes to fire and carbon monoxide (CO) safety, First Alert works hard to ensure everyone has the tools to keep loved ones safe year-round. During October, the fire service, nonprofit organizations and industry partners offer families ample fire safety education for Fire Prevention Month. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of every five home fire deaths result from fires where there is no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarms. To highlight the importance of home safety, LCWA worked with First Alert to improve awareness nationwide.

To reach consumers directly and underscore this information, First Alert partnered with Lowe’s stores and local fire departments across the U.S. to educate the public about how to protect their families and homes from the threats of fire and carbon monoxide (CO). This involved fun, family-focused activities to teach families about equipping their homes with smoke and CO alarms, as well as planning and practicing a fire escape plan.

LCWA assisted First Alert and Lowe’s in announcing the partnership with a press release as well as distributing a separate release focusing on fire safety and reliable protection for Fire Prevention Month. First Alert shared new data which showed that 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly as many forget or aren’t aware of the need for regular testing.

To ensure successful events at the participating Lowe’s stores, LCWA assisted in securing participation at the events nationwide. This included customer service support and coordination with fire safety professionals.

To increase public education, LCWA coordinated a multi-faceted media campaign. This included two media tours promoting home safety and the Lowe’s events in local markets. Additionally, we conducted outreach to numerous local markets to highlight the home safety events occurring at local Lowe’s stores.

In total, LCWA coordinated more than two billion impressions for Fire Prevention Month. Through this outreach, we hope people take home safety seriously all year!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

How to Help Clients Earn Valuable Awards and List Placements

A gold star is a great way to denote a job well done. This applies to products, as well. Awards, “best of,” and “top of the top” lists are recognition for a great device and respect for innovation and quality. This recognition can give cachet within the industry, improve credibility with consumers and drive overall brand awareness.

To create a successful award program, here are three steps to consider:

Set the stage.
All award entries are not created equal, and there could be many that could fit your product. If there are not set parameters for your program, the list of possible awards could become a daunting prospect. It’s important to narrow the list. Consider your product’s audience. For a toy, this may be parents and children, while for an app it may be mobile developers. Once you have defined the target audience, it’s important to consider budget. There are typically costs for submitting a product award entry, and some can be quite costly. Additionally, winners will need to consider any add-ons as well. This could include logo usage on the website, a press release or even packaging.

Research award programs.
Once clear goals have been determined, it’s time to dig into the awards that fit for your product. When doing your evaluation, it’s critical to consider two types of submissions – product and editorial awards.

Product awards have a formal entry, criteria and evaluation process – typically along with a fee. Some well-known product awards include the Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards, the Good Design Awards and the CEPro Best Product Awards. Conversely, editorial awards or “best of” lists are more fluid – there may not be a formal submission form or application, however publication editors evaluate products and determine which are the best after a series of rigorous tests. The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is the most well known. Both editorial and product awards can still include add-on costs.

When evaluating awards, it’s important to consider what products won in the past. This can confirm if your product is a fit for the award, and ensure your time and budget are not wasted on an unlikely entry.

Crafting the submission.
After selecting awards that are the best fit for your product, the last step is handling the submission itself. The bulk of submissions are based on a written product description.

Each award program considers specific criteria. This can be as vague as if the product went to market that year, or specific questions such as “Did the product meet an unmet need?” Each entry should be handled as a unique submission, catering the product for the specific award submission criteria. While the product may be the same, it’s best to hark on different values to promote how it is innovative, impacting the end user or different than existing products.

If you put the right tools in place with robust goals, research and submissions, then your award program will be on the right path to finish strong!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Making the Case for Urgent Care Reimbursements

In an industry as complex as healthcare, there are many sectors that are constantly changing and progressing. One such sector is urgent care, where our client the Urgent Care Association (UCA) is leading the charge for better payer reimbursements for urgent care centers that provide valuable services to millions of patients nationwide.

When pitching a new UCA position statement on payer reimbursements, it was important to target trade media that speak directly to insurance-related audiences. In addition, we reached out to more general healthcare media to ensure a wide audience of industry decision-makers were aware of UCA’s stance on the issue. While most healthcare outlets understood the situation and why the position statement was being shared, a few needed some context as to the who, what, where, when and why of the statement.

We worked with UCA to define the key messages and assembled background on what initially catalyzed the need for the statement. We weaved these details into our pitches to ensure all media understood why UCA created the position statement and the importance of it in the current healthcare landscape. Our efforts resulted in six trade media placements and an interview with Health Plan Weekly that resulted in an in-depth feature article on urgent care reimbursements! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Take Your Product Launch to the Next Level

There are certain basic PR tactics that should be done as a matter of course when you are releasing a new product, from developing key messages and issuing a press release to establishing a target audience and seeding products with media.

In order to capture an increasingly distracted audience, your brand needs to take some extra steps to create a remarkably effective PR campaign. Here are some big ways to make your product launch pack a punch:
  • Generate buzz. A teaser campaign is essential to building expectation and excitement for a new product launch. Start building anticipation weeks or even months in advance on social media with consistent, vague updates. Drop hints, such as cool features or new colors, or simply post images with a catchy headline or “coming soon” message. A fun, engaging teaser campaign will create hype and lay the foundation for a successful launch day. If possible, offer select editors some exclusivity with unique content to generate some high-profile coverage in the days leading up to the launch.
  • Upgrade your press release. When it comes to engaging both consumers and editors, traditional press releases are getting lost in the shuffle. Consider distributing a multimedia news release, which can help bring your brand and new product to life with video, images, links, audio, social bookmarking and other compelling creative assets. A multimedia approach encourages more sharing among consumers and provides much more digestible information for the modern journalist, as well as more resources to help them develop their story angles.
  • Create multiple videos. The importance and impact of video cannot be overstated. While they can take a lot of time, energy and resources to create, all your hard work will definitely pay off. The key to maximizing engagement and effectiveness are several catchy videos that are one minute or less. For content hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, the videos can be longer and more in-depth. Videos produced to support a product launch should highlight the different product features, demonstrate how the product can be used in daily life or offer behind-the-scenes look at the product development or design.
  • Go live. Making your product release a big deal with a launch event is a tried-and-true tactic. If you can’t coordinate your launch around an existing event, such as a trade show or big occasion like the Super Bowl, get the creative juices flowing to determine the best approach to gain face-to-face time with your target audience. Live events could be a charity auction, customer dinner or guerrilla marketing stunt. If an in-person event isn’t possible, you can still make it an occasion by hosting a webinar, Reddit AMA or a live social chat. 
The bottom line is that you need to create a unique, effective PR strategy that suits your brand and builds enthusiasm for your new product, driving media, consumers and any other key players to act.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Smoke Alarms Help Protect What Matters Most in Any Language

Our multi-lingual society calls for communications in other tongues, particularly when it comes to a topic relevant to everyone: home fire safety.

For Fire Prevention Month the First Alert brand and PR teams created and leveraged a variety of Spanish-language resources to reach a wider audience at a heightened time of public fire safety education and retail initiatives. 

In addition to a Spanish-language press release and direct-to-editor pitching to share new home fire statistics and key safety directives, the team collaborated with other brands on a bilingual satellite media tour, expanding our reach and important safety messages to include Spanish-language radio and TV stations across the country.

We also coordinated and publicized in-store fire education events for adults and children nationwide, providing Spanish-language spokespeople in key markets through retail partners and distributing thousands of bilingual activity books to teach children about fire safety and proper emergency escape planning.

For this campaign and for future initiatives, the brand team developed a series of Spanish-language fire safety videos featuring Dr. Manuel Fonseca, president of the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters. A veteran firefighter and passionate educator, Dr. Fonseca shares for Spanish-speaking consumers some vital information about proper home fire and carbon monoxide safety.

As a part-time foreign language instructor, I personally and professionally view these as vital components in our efforts to spread the word about home fire safety to as wide an audience as possible. With hope I say they make an impact.