Why You Can’t Sell Your Product too Early to Reporters

Entrepreneurs are usually born to sell, but that doesn’t always work in your favor when speaking with reporters. In fact, if you try to sell your product or service too early to a reporter, your story is more likely to get rejected.

Experienced reporters are trained to read between the lines. They know when someone is trying to sell them on a commercial versus pitching them an actual story. Selling a product is one of the fastest ways to get your story idea rejected. (I wrote an in-depth article on this for Entrepreneur Magazine if you’d like to hear more on that. You can read that article here).

Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of smart and experienced entrepreneurs jump right into selling their product or services when speaking with reporters. It’s like they know their time is limited so they jump right into selling their product. Unless you’re speaking with a trade reporter writing for an industry-specific audience, stay away from the backstory. Reporters don’t want to hear how the logistics work; they want to hear what is the final result.

Even more important, they want to hear the actual story of the product or service.

Advice for Media Interviews

If you’re fortunate enough to speak with a reporter, focus the product or service around the story line. Don’t jump into why your product is the best or how it’s the future. (I’ve heard many entrepreneurs explain their new product like that). Instead, focus on the angle that will advance the story you want the reporter to tell. You want to sound like a contestant on Shark Tank. Not the product pitcher for a late night infomercial.

I go more in-depth on these approaches in my Entrepreneur article. Please follow me on Linkedin to get more of my articles on best approaches for PR. Or message me at the bottom of this page to schedule a call.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named Macias one of the top 50 best PR pros in New York in 2022 and 2024. Finance Monthly also named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year.

The Overlooked Consumer Group Every Campaign Should Target – Forbes Editorial

By Mark Macias

I recently wrote a story for Forbes that breaks down a hidden group of consumers that many PR campaigns miss. You can read that Forbes editorial by clicking here. A synopsis of that thought leadership is below in case you are short on time.

The social scientists define emotional motivators as those who are not shy about expressing their feelings; when they “feel,” everyone around them feels, too. And when they like something, everyone knows it. 

When a PR strategy taps into emotional motivators, you can earn a brand ambassador better than any celebrity spokesperson. In my experience, these motivators help bring a higher return on investment for any PR campaign and increase the chances that your brand will spread via word-of-mouth.

Want to learn more? Click here to read my full thought leadership on Forbes.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the Best Strategic PR Firm while Finance Monthly named us the Top PR consulting firm from 2015 to 2021. City & State Magazine has named Mark Macias a Top 50 Political PR Player in New York.

Case Study – Noom Media & Branding Campaign

The weight loss and wellness company, Noom, had little national name recognition back in 2016, despite being popular with consumers. But all that changed after MACIAS PR took over their media coverage that year.

From the start, we faced challenges in the crowded weight loss space, and had to identify unique angles to differentiate Noom in a crowded weight loss market. Mark Macias worked closely with the founders to create a comprehensive strategy to elevate their brand via earned media.

Within the first month of collaboration, MACIAS PR secured its first story came with CBS News. The segment highlighted how Noom’s mobile app was helping pre-diabetics and diabetics manage their conditions. Over the next three years, this media coverage continued with hundreds of stories appearing with major news outlets.

Media coverage included: NBC Today Show, People Magazine, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, CNBC, PIX 11 in NYC, CNN, Fortune, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, New York Post, and more.

MACIAS PR also helped expand Noom’s reach with Spanish consumers by placing stories with Telemundo and Univision.

B2B and B2C Media Campaign

Besides the B2C focus, Noom also needed help promoting their B2B service targeting HR leaders and providers. MACIAS PR developed a tailored B2B strategy that secured features that explained the B2B service with outlets like MobiHealthNews, The American Journal of Managed Care, Fierce Biotech, FW Pharma, Med City News, among others.

The narrative for all of these stories emphasized Noom as an employee benefit that could save companies money from a health care spend perspective.

Measurable Results from Media and Branding Campaign

Google named Noom one of the top-trending diet terms in their annual “Year in Search Report” in 2018 and 2019. This increased search exposure was a direct result of our media coverage.

And a year after we launched this branding company, Fast Company Magazine named Noom a Breakthrough Brand in 2017. Noom did not have a Chief Marketing Officer during the entire time we worked together. Our media and branding strategy came from our time working directly with the founders.

Media Exposure Helps with Fundraising

Our media campaign also helped support Noom’s fundraising goals. MACIAS PR conceptualized angles that resonated with reporters and investors, showcasing the digital health company as a top disruptor in health tech.

Despite the challenges of obtaining media coverage for investment rounds, MACIAS PR successfully navigated and ensured Noom received extensive and positive exposure. Our PR team secured media coverage for Noom’s $58 million investment round with outlets like TechCrunch, Fortune, Entrepreneur, and AlleyWatch in 2019.

Media Trained Founders and Spokespeople

Throughout the partnership, Mark Macias media trained the C-suite for all media interviews.

For a more detailed case study, please reach out to us. We can share a more in-depth case study that reveals even more successes from our 3+ year relationship with Noom. You can also get a PR estimate by clicking here.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

Are you Wasting your Money on PR? Here’s how to Find Out

Are you a good candidate for PR, or are you wasting your money? I just had a conversation with a potential client and laid out which types of businesses have an advantage with media coverage, and which are better suited for ads.

Getting media coverage is not a crap shoot. If your campaign has the right elements, you can get media coverage with the right narrative and targeted outlet. Here are a few elements that make for the strongest campaigns.

Compelling Data or Research

Data for the sake of data is not valuable. Any data or research must provide context for a news story, and it must be credible and provide insight on an emerging trend. The ideal data should alert the reader to something they do not already know. Ask yourself – is this common sense? If it is, it’s not a story. I’m able to filter through lots of bad story ideas with clients by asking them that one question.

And you don’t need to be a health tech or fintech startup to leverage this approach. It’s very likely your firm has research to support your business decisions. If you’re a realtor or investor, you might have this internal research that guides your decision-making process.

Legitimate News Updates

Over the last few years, I’ve worked with a member of Congress and the former UN Executive Secretary on Climate. These politicians were the best clients to position for news coverage because they could add color and commentary to stories in the news. But you don’t need to be a member of Congress to possess this type of knowledge. Accountants, lawyers, physicians – or anyone with a high level of expertise – can also leverage their industry insight for thought leadership. The media gravitates towards this kind of expertise, especially if the topic is timely.

I wrote an article for Entrepreneur Magazine that elaborates on other elements that will give your campaign an edge. The article is straight forward: Are you wasting your money on PR?

Message me if you need some guidance.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in New York.

Case Study – Branding Campaign for RX Brand in Provider Space

Rising prescription costs are at the forefront of the healthcare debate. Despite this timely news issue, one digital health company had trouble standing out even though it provided a unique value proposition that lowered prescription costs.

This case study looks at how MACIAS PR helped elevate the WellRx brand by placing targeted consumer stories across TV, print and influential online news publications. You can also read a Linkedin testimonial from the company executive who worked with our agency throughout our 3+ year relationship.

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How to Identify the Best PR Agency for your Business

What is the best PR agency for your organization?

There are objective measures to help you identify the best firm for your business – and it has nothing to do with a firm’s size, revenue, industry or makeup. Here are three questions to help your selection process.

Do you want national media coverage?

With today’s technology, you don’t need to be in any specific city because you can reach reporters from anywhere. However, there are advantages to being on East Coast time.

A publicist on the East Coast has more time to develop angles from overnight developments. It’s not as easy on the West Coast since most publicists are asleep when reporter assignments are handed out (5 am PST). Factor in deadlines, and you can see why people on the West Coast have less than three hours to pitch national news organizations.

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Client Case Study – Private Equity Firm Commercial Real Estate

MACIAS PR launched a media, branding and crowd funding campaign for a private equity firm that needed help raising capital for their commercial real estate projects.

The PE firm had specific goals. They needed help funding their real estate projects in Arizona, Long Island and Ohio, and they wanted to target accredited investors. Equally important, the PR firm didn’t have a CMO or marketing team. MACIAS PR worked closely with their CEO to conceptualize story lines, identify media outlets and markets, and pitch reporters.

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Did a Reporter Make a Mistake with your Story? How to Fix it.

What happens when the media makes a mistake with your message? Or worse, customer backlash ignites following the news? Wendy’s is a great example of how to quickly get the record straight before that incorrect messaging starts gathering momentum. 

To summarize, Wendy’s announced on yesterday’s earnings call that they were going to add digital menus that could change prices with demand. Earnings calls are usually messaged around analysts and investors, so the idea that the fast food chain found new ways to increase profits was probably perceived as a friendly audience. But I don’t think their internal comms team adequately debated how their customers would react to the news.

It only takes one reporter to coin a popular phrase for a story to go viral. And that’s what happened here. A reporter compared the surge pricing to Uber and the backlash was underway. It’s now trending on Linkedin. Yahoo has the story on their front page. And any customer, like myself who loves Wendy’s, is probably questioning that loyalty at dinner time if higher prices are sneaking into my bill.

What did Wendy’s do right?

They quickly addressed the miscommunication and said no one ever discussed raising prices during dinner. As a long time journalist with NBC and CBS, I suspect the raising prices message was likely inferred- if not outright stated to specific reporters. Reporters don’t make up quotes, especially if the message describes a menu that will change prices based on demand. I suspect Wendy’s executives quickly recognized the customer backlash and had a change of mind.

And that’s ok. If you realize a policy or pricing change wasn’t perceived as expected, it’s okay to change it and communicate it to the media. Just change it before the story goes viral. In the case with Wendy’s, the overall message should have been more clear. You can’t assume a message will be correctly interpreted with reporters. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you’re discussing a critical component of your business model, be clear about it. Don’t mince words.

There are still some outlets writing about this surge pricing today. The mixed messaging won’t end overnight even if Wendy’s adapted to the message overnight. Lesson for you: if the media gets your story wrong or the message is misconstrued, be quick to address it. Don’t wait for it to go viral.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice. City & State Magazine named him a 2024 top Political PR Player in New York.

How to Leverage Smaller News Organizations for Brand Building

No one denies Elon Musk is a brilliant entrepreneur but when it comes to marketing and brand building, he’s made several mistakes that would destroy most budding startups.

Twitter has lost more than 72 percent of its value since Musk took it over, and renamed it X. Luckily you can’t destroy your brand like Twitter if you’re a startup. That’s because no one has heard of your company. But, there are missteps you can make that will hinder your brand building.

Over the years, I’ve watched a few CEOs, entrepreneurs and CMOs turn down media opportunities because they thought the news organization was too small. In some cases, they made those decisions based on the news website design.

It sounds rational on the surface. Make something scarce and it becomes more valuable. But that logic doesn’t apply to branding, especially for early stage startups. Unless you’re Jeff Bezos or Marc Lore, you shouldn’t give exclusives. Your job as a founder is to get as much media exposure for your startup, and as quickly as possible.

What a News Website Reveals

Lastly, don’t judge a news organization by its website. A few months ago we secured a radio interview with the #1 morning news talk radio show in South Florida. Their website is bad, but their audience is captive. Those drivers aren’t going anywhere.

In addition, MSN, Yahoo and other publishers frequently pick up stories from these smaller news outlets under their syndicated deals. I’ve watched local NPR content on clients go viral after the search engines syndicated the story on their home pages. This is exposure your startup needs.

If you want to hear more about building a startup brand (rather than destroying it like Musk), you can read my Entrepreneur article on how to better leverage smaller news organizations.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice. City & State Magazine named him a 2024 top Political PR Player in New York.

How Generative AI will Disrupt PR and Media

OpenAI just took another huge leap in content creation with the ability to create videos from text prompts. This is going to dramatically and quickly disrupt the world for content creators, publicists and journalists –  but not in the way you might suspect.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Forbes that predicted AI wouldn’t replace PR. Generative AI will definitely streamline content creation and steal jobs from creators, but there isn’t enough quality data for AI to create an actual media strategy from scratch. Without quality data, AI doesn’t have the information to create a timely strategy. In the case with news, most data would become outdated with each passing news cycle.

Machine learning is great for analyzing data and predicting behaviors on the macro level, but creating a business or media strategy for most industries requires an intimate knowledge of processes, history, trends and emerging technologies that can expand market share. Machine learning needs that valuable component that is missing in PR and news.

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