Friday, December 01, 2006

How to Get Your Garden Product Listed

Our latest Washington Examiner article is now out. It is our "Top 10 Gifts for Gardeners." We did a short piece on this on Channel 4 at 4 news yesterday and will do another this Sunday on Channel 9 at the 8:00 news. Our segment will be coming on around 8:46. Read it online (Dec 1 edition - page 66) or grab the print version at street boxes around town today - the article is on R10 (Real Estate section - page 10). The same piece is also in the Baltimore Examiner, which is posted here (see Dec 1 edition - page 94). You can of course get the print version in Balitmore and its surrounding counties also. The article is on R30 (Real Estate section - page 30).

Of course we are promoting gift subscriptions to our magazine as a great idea. But I'm also giving exposure to some great products and samples we've been sent over the past year. I get at least 3-5 press release for new products (and some not so new) per day. We run a "ProductPreview" column in the magazine that we can usually squeeze around 6 of these into. We do not run this column in an each issue. So you do the math -- 365 x 5 -- products being pitched vs. space for me to highlight a maximum of 30 of them. This column and TV appearances let me spotlight a few more of them. However, that is still a tiny fraction.

How do I decide which products make the cut? It is very subjective, though I try to be as fair as possible. First, if I talked to the company's reps in person at an event like the GWA Annual Symposium, they get a leg up right there. Nothing like face-to-face to make the connection. Second, I listen to referrals -- what are other gardeners gushing about? Third, I try out samples and give them to readers/fellow gardeners to try out as well. Fourth, when it comes to deadline time and I don't have a product's info and high-res CMYK images on a CD/DVD or easily downloadable for the company's web site that second, guess what? I don't use it. If you make me dig and cause me precious time to get those items, I move on to the next product on my list.
One manufacturer who did everything right is West Country Gardener gloves. Not only did they come to GWA prepared with a great product, but they also sent follow-up samples and information. Further, their product photos are one step above the rest. See the one pictured here (converted to low-res for web by me). Good quality action shot -- full of color and life. Something I'd use any day in both product listings and in editorial shots.
So the take-home message for garden product marketers trying to get press placement? Meet the press in person, send product samples, and then follow-up with those CDs of product images and fact sheets.

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