How to Manage Longer Media Lead Times
By Mariam Olsen, Crossroads
Here at Crossroads, influencer relations is one of our sweet spots. It’s also something that’s constantly evolving, which keeps things interesting for us. I’ve recently identified something changing the way I approach my contacts at national magazines as well as my clients.
One thing I’ve heard a lot lately from magazine editors is they are up against longer and longer lead times. I know editors who are working as much as 6-7 months in advance. As a result, they need access to newsworthy information sooner than they used to.
This is important because at Crossroads we’ve traditionally secured coverage in magazines by, among other things, pitching editors news as soon as our client is ready to talk about it. For example, we’ve traditionally pitched new product launches to editors right before the products start hitting stores. However, what I’m hearing from editors these days is that if I pitch them in February about a product that is launching in March, I’ve hurt my chances of getting it featured in the magazine because by the time editors would be able to publish something about it in print, the product may no longer be considered new.
So the solution seems obvious: get editors newsworthy updates like new product launches as soon as possible. This is where client services come in. How do I convince my clients to share new product news well in advance when the product may not be finalized but would still be of interest to editors? I know my clients are used to sharing new product news only when everything about the product is buttoned up and it is ready to be sold on shelves. But that doesn’t matter to an editor. He or she wants to know about the product as soon as it starts being developed regardless of whether or not packaging, ingredients and other details have been finalized.
I can already anticipate how telling media about a new product before it’s finalized will make my client nervous. But it’s my job to secure coverage for my client and find solutions to get news on editors’ radars as soon as I can. This is going to take a lot of work on my part convincing my clients it’s okay to tell editors about products even when they aren’t final, pitching the products to editors and then diligently following up to make sure that as the product is finalized editors have the most up-to-date information from me.
I’m excited to see how my clients will respond to this new approach and how it will change my relationships with editors and the kind of coverage I’m able to secure. I’ll keep you posted on the results!