Let’s Go On Tour!

Consider hosting a media tour as part of your new product launch . Many food manufacturing companies are missing a golden opportunity when it comes to launching new products to the market place. While writing a press release is an effective vehicle in announcing a new product, companies should consider taking it a step further by hosting a media tour.

Consider hosting a media tour as part of your new product launch.

Many food manufacturing companies are missing a golden opportunity when it comes to launching new products to the market place. While writing a press release is an effective vehicle in announcing a new product, companies should consider taking it a step further by hosting a media tour.

As implied by its name, media tours involve inviting the trade press to your facility for a sneak peak of your product and learn of its development from the drawing board to fruition. The goal of a media tour is to generate awareness and excitement in advance of the launch.

Most editors like the idea of getting out and meeting with a manufacturer, touring their facility, talking to engineers and seeing the product. The benefit of a media tour to a manufacturer is two-fold. First, they’re more likely to receive better coverage. Whereas a simple press release might get a company 100 words and a photo in their publication, editors attending a media tour generally write a larger story (400 – 800 words) on the company and their product. If an editor is going to invest a day or two of their time visiting your facility, they’re going to take the time to write a more in-depth story.

Secondly, and more importantly, are the relationships created from the media tour. The editors have a chance to meet and talk with product managers, engineers and company leadership. They receive more of the behind-the-scenes story on the product’s development, have the opportunity to swap stories and build a sense of camaraderie. This can lead to additional interaction at trade shows and industry forums from the common bonds formed at the media tour.

These relationships also can help secure coverage on other allied/related topics in the future. When the editor is writing a story several months later on a topic that pertains to the manufacturer, who are they more likely to call for information – an engineer they met at the media tour or cold-call another supplier? Editors are a busy bunch and don’t have time to call around looking for information. If they have a relationship with a manufacturer that will help them finish their story on deadline, they’ll call them first.

Hosting a media tour does take a lot of coordination: invitations have to be sent, travel and lodging reservations must be made, press kits assembled, presentations created etc., but a well organized event can prove to be a valuable strategic tactic when launching a new product.  Clearly, the benefits of hosting a media tour will continue to pay dividends long after the editors head home. The ink in the short term is good, but the relationships that are formed long term are best.

Steve Staedler is a senior account executive at LePoidevin Marketing (www.lepoidevinmarketing.com), a public relations and marketing firm based in Brookfield, Wis. He can be reached at 262-754-9550 or steve@lepoidevinmarketing.com

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