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How to use media relations to support your building product launch

Account manager Jemma Page shares the PR tactics you should consider using when launching a new building product.

Bringing your building product to life

Earlier this year, we were tasked with bringing Wrekin Products’ innovation to life through a campaign to launch its bespoke, one-off Abbey Road manhole cover, which was created in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary.

We used thorough media relations and digital B2B PR to further cement Wrekin’s position as a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of specialist products for the civil engineering industry.

Here, I take a look at some of the traditional and more modern PR tactics that can be used when launching a new building product.

There’s no such thing as too much planning

A well thought out PR strategy requires planning in advance and creative thinking, as well as knowledge of what’s happening in the industry and current trends.

Wrekin worked collaboratively with Thames Water on the Abbey Road project, so creating a thorough campaign plan was vital in order to ensure both stakeholders were happy with the process.

Decide who you’re going to target and stimulate their interest

Think about your target audience and then spend time researching the publications that will put you in front of exactly who you want to be speaking to. There is no point in crafting the perfect press release launching a building product if you’re going to be sending it to the publisher of Cosmopolitan.

We created diverse and detailed trade, regional and national media lists to nurture our existing relationships and introduce Wrekin to editors for the first time. We then drafted a media alert and issued it a couple of weeks before the Abbey Road anniversary to entice the press and stimulate media attendance on the day.

Getting your messages out there the traditional way…

Issuing a press release is a classic PR tactic but it still works. Ours was issued under embargo ahead of the launch, along with images of the manhole cover in situ.

The embargo was used to set up broadcast interviews in advance – allowing the day to run as smoothly as possible. It also gave the media time to ask any further questions ahead of the anniversary and plan their schedules.

We secured a total of 30 Abbey Road-related press clippings, with a reach of more than 3.4 million, showcasing that good old media relations, when used well, can still provide great impact in this sector.

…And the digital way

But, of course, digital PR does work hard as a secondary focus. A social media plan allows you to control the messages you want to get across to your company’s followers.

We created a social media schedule for Wrekin’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, which included creative teaser posts scheduled the day before the launch, and posts announcing the collaboration and showing images of the manhole cover in situ.

Our team also did lots of work on the day, liaising with the client on the ground and maximising press opportunities by engaging with journalists, influencers and celebrities who were present at Abbey Road.

In total, we sent out 67 tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts on Wrekin’s social media accounts between 25 September and 9 October. These generated more than 22,000 Twitter impressions and reached more than 2,500 people on Facebook. Wrekin also gained an additional 60 LinkedIn followers during this time period.

Continuing the narrative

Make sure you keep the conversation going after the launch day by sharing coverage links on social media in the days that follow.

We also continued to use media relations – approaching key trade titles and pitching a “how it’s made” feature to gain even more value from the content available. Securing a feature in tier one title Water Active allowed the client to further showcase its expertise behind-the-scenes during the design, manufacturing and installation of the manhole cover.

Read our full Wrekin Products x Abbey Road case study

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"An excellent return and ‘bang per buck’!"

Paul Neilson, business development director

Wrekin Products

For more information on how our team of experts can support your business, please get in touch.

By Jemma Page

Jemma spent more than three years as an NCTJ-qualified journalist before moving into the world of PR. Jemma’s journalistic approach to PR means she fully understands what makes a newsroom tick, allowing her to secure strong regional and national coverage for clients.

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