Want to know how you can land your client’s products in magazine pages? Here are three tips from Apex PR vice president Jennifer Stein, who works closely throughout the year with clients like Walmart to develop these plans.
1. Start early
The holiday season for Apex starts in the spring. That may seem early to some, but when you consider the coordination required to engage with a brand like Walmart’s extensive product catalogue, it makes sense.
“We’ve been thinking about the holidays since before the summer, meeting with our clients to figure out what the trends are and what will be the hot products,” said Stein.
From Stein’s experience if you start in July you will be more reacting to a client’s need instead of advising toward a longer-term benefit. By starting your planning early you can contribute more to the discussion.
Get your media advisories out early as well so that journalists can schedule around your event.
“Multiple days [for an event] allows for more flexibility with journalists schedules,” said Stein.
Stein’s planning included coordinating with Toronto-based designer and home décor expert, Karl Lohnes. Apex used Lohnes’s three-story townhome for the experiential event, decorating it with holiday decor throughout the kitchen, dining room, den, bedroom and living room.
Each room in the home featured products specifically catered to that space, which can then be used by décor magazines in different niches. As an example, a Walmart dining set of plates and flatware set out on a dinner table, a Christmas theme toiletry set for a bathroom. This gives the widest assortment of features possible to magazine editors and journalists.
2. Do your research
Stein reviews the previous year’s holiday product features and identifies different buckets that a client’s products could fit in.
“It goes beyond just the Top 20 Toys for 2016,” said Stein. “It can be even more niche specific and filling those specific niches is what drives success.”
A child’s bedroom featured everything from stuffed animals, toys and an advent calendar. By covering the living room with throw pillows and blankets you could imagine Walmart products being featured in articles about getting cozy for the holidays.
Utilizing a PR software solution with a media database can help you find contact information and editorial calendars, as well as deadlines, for leading publications throughout Canada.
3. Educate your client
Editors are careful to display only the most exciting and interesting products, so position what is most in the magazine’s interest.
Clients and magazines don’t always align on what each thinks is important — in the end the magazine will win.
This is a lesson echoed by Lohnes who appeared on various day-time television shows last year presenting design tips and product recommendations to Canadian viewers.
“I look to discuss products that are on-trend and that I think will fit in people’s home and lives,” said Lohnes. “A brand might say, ‘This is what we’d like you to promote’ based off of what they think will sell. When I find something I really like I tell them, ‘Yes, but after I go on TV and discuss this other item, you’ll have trouble keeping it on the shelves.’”
Lohnes is emblematic of the relationship editors would like to have with brands — helping provide readers the insights and ideas they believe will be of the strongest mutual benefit.
By bringing journalists and editors into a home over the better part of a work-week, Apex has provided deeper context than a traditional pitch — showcasing the beneficial message that Walmart Canada has a customer’s holiday décor needs covered. It also gives journalists the chance to create all of the social and video content they need and that a brand like Walmart craves.