This year’s AACC Meeting July 31st to August 4th in Philadelphia was by all accounts a great success.
The AACC does an excellent job in bringing together leaders from laboratories, manufacturers, regulatory bodies, and academia, not just to impart their knowledge, but also to develop relationships and gain well-rounded perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the diagnostics industry. Headliners this year included CEO Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos who introduced to a standing-room-only crowd preliminary validation data for MiniLab, a cartridge‐based testing system. (Have you seen the Vanity Fair article on the post-presentation takeaways of Dr. Stephen Master, co-moderator of the AACC presentation with Ms. Holmes? It’s worth a read here)
Brandwidth Solutions was a proud AACC exhibitor this year, sharing booth space together with Kaon Interactive, to discuss how holistic brand communications– along with interactive sales applications– can simplify complex technologies in powerful ways.
As a strategic communications services provider to the diagnostics community, the Brandwidth Solutions team had many, many visitors at the booth who wanted to discuss how the marketing strategies and solutions that we’ve developed over the years delivered results. We were happy to share the ways we have broken down internal and external barriers and helped our clients implement better ways to globally communicate across all forms of media.
As we heard at AACC, reducing testing costs while ensuring better patient outcomes are universal challenges for those marketing diagnostic tests— no matter the type of instrument nor type of test. Laboratorians and administrators what to know how these testing solutions deliver on their pressing operational and clinical challenges in a simple, engaging, and informative way.
With that, now more than ever, it’s essential to work with a strategic partner who can help you get the most from your communications investment with high-impact campaigns that deliver real results.
We hope to see you in San Diego for AACC 2016. If you’d like to talk sooner, please let me know!
Are you always talking about your product or service in your marketing materials and PR? You do have a great product (or service) and of course, you need to market it. In fact, we just wrote about how to get an editor’s attention in these two posts, here and here, to improve the usefulness of your press releases.
That being said, I must point out that you may not be the best person to be speaking to your product or service.
Should You or Your Customer Speak?
The short answer? Your customer, whenever possible.
The press really has heard it all before. But nothing gets an editor’s attention faster than the ability to speak to an actual customer using that great new product of yours. Your customers can make the press understand the value of your product better than you can.
Customers provide perspective for editors. They show:
- Who buys your products or services
- How well your product performed compared to your competitors
- The current and future applications for the product
- The value it has given them
Keep in mind that it isn’t just editors that find a customer testimonial about a new product valuable.
One of the true strengths of a customer’s story is in the value it gives your prospective customers.
When you release a new product and you also provide a success story of how a customer has used the same product, that customer has just validated everything you’ve said in your marketing materials about the product. These stories provide your prospects a way to appreciate how that product is used in the lab. They present a way for potential new customers to understand how the product will work in their own labs.
A BWS Customer Story
A great example of a company that does this well is Bruker Daltonics. Each year at ASMS they hold a press event to speak about their products and how they work. And each year, they have their customers speak to how their products work.
This gives the press the chance to ask questions and understand how these new products work in an actual lab environment. Bruker’s customers are right there, and can talk about how the product fits into their research or lab. They can also provide the press with a perspective on where they see the future of the technology. (If you happen to be a publically-traded company, this is important because the information reaches investors who also attend the press events.)
These press events go well beyond the print journals you might be envisioning. Most publications have moved into digital channels in addition to print – or they may be web only. The flexibility of channels means that your information may reach further than you imagine, as publications can now provide video as well as editor’s content and press release coverage.
For instance, Select Science, a digital-only publication, covered the Bruker press event and found Bruker’s new timsTOF™ of particular interest all because of the fact that they had a customer on-site talking about how it works, what they see as they value of the equipment and where they see using it in the future.
So while Select Science covered the press event and published the press release, they also had an editor interview Bruker’s customer which they published as an online video. See the video here.
What was the overall value of a customer story to the company? The leads it generated.
Once the video was published on the Select Science website, it was viewed 176 times, with 28 click-throughs and 17 leads between the show in June and August.
The real trick is developing your relationship with industry editors so that when their reporters are writing about topics, they immediately think about your company (your brand), and your product or service.
If you’re wondering how to develop those relationships, give us a call. We’re happy to point you in the right direction.
If mass spectrometry is your analytical technology of choice, then you could surround yourself in new instruments with innovative features at the recent ASMS meeting in San Antonio, TX. Researchers seeking higher resolution accurate mass systems or novel ion mobility techniques that add an additional dimension of separation based on structure had to look no farther than the new offerings from Bruker or Waters. MS limits of detection are dropping and mass ranges are expanding as MS technology continues to advance. That was clearly evident in new instruments launched by Thermo Fisher Scientific and Agilent.
Yet even as MS hardware becomes increasingly more powerful and complex, the need is increasing for more user-friendly, easy to operate MS tools, especially in analytical laboratories that process large numbers of samples. This need is not going unanswered, as the major MS vendors introduced new automated workflows, system and data control software, ion sources, and sample preparation devices all designed to enhance ease of use and to expand MS access to less skilled operators.
PR is important, but it’s even more important that it’s done correctly. When your press release doesn’t include these five key elements you won’t get that key editor to take notice of your company, and your public relations’ efforts will fail. The next time you’re called on to produce a press release, keep these five things in mind.
Is There Industry Interest?
Like it or not, a press release needs to interest an editor in the first paragraph or it won’t make the cut. It’s the same advice given to job applicants about their resume attracting the attention of time-crunched human resources managers.
Editors often see 50 or more press releases each day. That means you have only a couple of minutes to make an impression and pique their interest in your story. And your story needs to be important and of interest to your industry – it can’t be simply a marketing message or company celebration. (You may want to read my prior post about what makes an editor take notice of your story.)
How Strong Is Your Headline & Lede?
Every good press release starts with a strong headline. In many cases there is also a subhead that provides a bit more information. These two key items are followed by a compelling opening lead paragraph. That means clear, concise language without errors – and a message that gets right to the point.
For instance, if your company is launching a new product – with a breakthrough technology that has significant performance advantages over other competing technologies – the editors should know that by the time they have read the first sentence of your press release. It’s even better if they know this from just reading the headline and subheading.
Yes, it does seem elementary, but you’d be surprised how many press releases “bury the lede” – the main reason for the story. Instead of getting right to the point, they begin with a rose-colored recap of the 20 years of innovation at the company, followed by a pointless quote from the CEO about how proud they are of their storied history.
Editors won’t spend time searching for a story in your press release. Spending time on what amounts to fluff from the beginning is a sure-fire way to prevent an editor from learning about your big news.
Good Writing Counts
If your press release gets straight to the point, that’s a good first step. But you need to make sure the release itself is well written and devoid of grammatical and spelling errors. Like it or not, the people you are presenting your story to write and edit similar content every day. Most have very high standards when it comes to the written word, so be sure you don’t distract them from your story with poor writing and typos.
While you might make the first cut by putting the important stuff first, your news still needs to compete with other press releases to make the final cut. Make sure the writing throughout is clear, factual and devoid of careless little mistakes. Details matter to editors. They want to know when they call to request an interview that details matter to you, as well. Industry editors want to know you will get them the information they need for their story.
Help the Editor Serve Their Readership
To interest an editor in your story, it’s vital you understand what good editors consider the most important part of their job – serving their readers. In the trade publishing world, good editors are keenly attuned to their readers.
Editors know exactly who their readers are and what their jobs are. They talk to readers regularly to get feedback and to better understand their business challenges. Using this information, editors select which stories to cover based on how interested their readers will be in the topic, and whether it affects them in ways that may have an impact on their job or business.
As an editor for more than 20 years, I’ve often fielded calls from companies who have sent me a press release and acted like it was my job to serve them. The implication was that the best way for me to do that would be to publish whatever information they happen to send me. While it is true you can find so-called news outlets out there who will publish anything (often for a price), the best coverage you can get for your company’s news is in the pages of publications that people in your industry read regularly. Trade publication information is presented clearly, objectively and is of real importance to the industry.
Getting the Editorial Green Light
Trade and industry publications and their editors should be your prize. Peppering their inboxes with trivial press releases or poorly-written press releases that don’t get to the point quickly almost always ensures they will eventually treat all your press releases like email spam. Delete!
However, if you consistently provide industry editors with good, solid press releases that are well-written – even if only a few times each year – you will gain their trust and significantly increase your chances of getting regular coverage for your company.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – trade and business publication editors aren’t reading your press releases.
Yes, I know you spend good money to get your press releases published in the trade press in your industry, so this may come as a shock. But let’s be clear, while they aren’t reading your press release, they still read plenty of others that land in their email inbox each day. Some of those press releases even get editors assigned to do a more in-depth story.
So how come editors aren’t reading your press releases, but they are giving time to your competition’s information?
Well, it’s probably because you wasted the editors’ time in the past – likely on more than one occasion – and as a result they have come to expect nothing of value in PR from your company.
But how do you make sure that you’re not wasting their time? Ask yourself if your press release contains solid news.
The No-News Press Release
The biggest mistake companies make with distribution of press releases is failing to differentiate between what is a marketing message and what is news. Press releases should contain solid news and never be a substitute for marketing.
I’ve been a B2B editor for more than 20 years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a press release, started to read it, and then deleted it 15 seconds later – all the while thinking “they should just buy an ad.”
What type of press release elicits the ‘delete’ response?
Well, it’s usually the ones that describe an existing product’s features and goes on to describe how their product is better than their competitor’s similar product. Is that something your company should be proud of? Certainly. Is it news? Is it something a thick-skinned editor who sees 50 press releases a day is likely to send along to a reporter to dig into? No, absolutely not.
Company Celebrations Are Not News
Another example of information that is not a good fit for a press release is any company celebration. If it sounds like you are patting yourself on the back, it’s not what an editor wants to cover in their trade publication.
This includes events like celebrating your 5th anniversary in business or a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a newly-expanded warehouse. Yes, I know you bought cake and brought in employees from satellite offices. So go ahead and share that cake with your employees and celebrate. But don’t expect editors to care. They don’t.
And they don’t care for one very simple reason – these events don’t have an impact on the industry as a whole. They don’t change the competitive balance, they don’t bring a new class of product or service to the market that fills an existing void, they don’t represent moving into new geographic market, etc. In short, they are not the kind of information that might cause a reader to consider changing with whom or how they do business, or the way they do their job.
The Information Editors Do Want
Editors want information that is important to their readers. It has to matter to the industry. News should be game-changing – filling market gaps, introducing disruptive technologies and giving the industry a reason to question how they do business, or who they might want to do business with in the future.
If you have questions about your press releases, give Brandwidth Solutions a call. We’d be happy to help you sort out your PR.
While we prefer to celebrate our customers’ wins, occasionally we do enter our client work into Marketing Award events.
The Diagnostic Marketing Association (DxMA) hosts the Dx Creative Communications Awards each year honoring the best in diagnostics and other healthcare advertising, marketing and promotional programming. This year we submitted 3 entries into the DxMA awards program and are finalists in 3 categories!
The categories in which we are finalists include:
- In Vitro Diagnostics Service Providers for Public Relations to Drive Company & Product Awareness
- Other Healthcare Tradeshow Materials for An Interactive Virtual Facility Tour of a Contract Manufacturing Company
- Public Relations Campaign to Promote Results of a New Product