It’s a New Year. Be a Noisemaker!

It’s a New Year. Be a Noisemaker!

Here’s why your competitor’s invention got on TV—and yours didn’t

Notice that often, the story is not about the product itself but the product as it fits into a relevant story.


Ever wonder why your competitor’s invention or product got on the local morning show and yours did not? Why that business is burgeoning and yours is not?

Have you ever opened a magazine and seen a two-page profile (with a picture!) about someone in your industry you’ve never heard of?

Did you say to yourself: “Their product isn’t even close to as good as mine!” or “How are they getting this kind attention?”

The reason has nothing to do with how good your product is. It probably has nothing to do with how good their product is.

It’s how you say it
Here’s the deal: The one with the loudest voice wins.

After launching thousands of products during the past 30 years, I’m here to say that’s 100 percent true. I’ve worked with some of the best in their industries, but it’s the company that takes the time to tell its stories to the world that grows.

I recently was flipping through a catalogue at a friend’s house. I saw a leather duffel bag that caught my eye. I came home looking for it online but could find it.

Though there were lots of leather duffels in the first five pages of Google, none were the one I saw in this catalogue. When I returned to that house, I went straight for it and purchased the bag for a Christmas present.

The company was a small one, Moore & Giles, Inc.—a name I’d never heard before. Had it never sent that catalogue, I never would have made that purchase.

Granted, it would have been ideal that the company had bought some pay per click on Google to find it more easily, but it did produce a beautiful catalogue that resulted in a $650 sale.

As far as I know, the Moore & Giles leather duffel bag isn’t any better than the next one. But I really liked it. I saw it in the context of a catalogue that appealed to me and I bought it.

The local morning TV show, magazines, .com ezines, newspaper, radio programs and magazines are actually looking for stories. They need products to review and put into gift guides.

It is entirely possible that you can pick up the phone right now, call a local TV station and get some reporting about your product.

The reason your competitor got the press to sit up and take notice is because it made more noise than you did. Moore & Giles got the word out by producing and distributing a uniquely appealing catalogue.

How to make it happen
Moore & Giles could call a TV station and suggest its CEO be interviewed to give a local list of cool holiday gift suggestions. The company consists of leather specialists, so it might suggest a story about how to buy leather that’s sustainably farmed.

The company also makes luggage, so it may suggest a story about how to pack for holiday travel without airline fees, or how to pack for a honeymoon in the summer when weddings are happening.

A few tips:

  • Identify the TV program you want to report on your product. Watch it every day.
    Look for segments on the show that report about subjects where you think your product might fit.
    For example, if your product is something that appeals to a traveler, you might note that Peter Greenberg does a regular segment called “The Travel Detective” on CBS News. He reports about finds that make traveling easier, more interesting, less fattening, or cheaper.

While you watch the show, notice that the reporting happens within the context of a story, a trend or a subject matter. The products Peter is talking about are talked about as they relate to that story.
Notice that often, the story is not about the product itself but the product as it fits into a relevant story.

Think about your product. Who are your customers? What specific benefit does your product provide to them? What “pain” does your product solve for your customer?

  • Using the travel example, think of a context where your product might fit—such as holiday travel season, spring break for college kids, or winter holiday alternatives.
  • Now, write a one-paragraph pitch about your product within the context of a subject.
  • Start with a pithy statement or a question in the form of a headline. This spoon-feeds a journalist with a story idea.

Loud example
Here is a fun pitch I’ve written that will give you an example of the format I’m talking about:

They are hot. They are smart. They can tell the difference between an Austrian or Washington Riesling with a sniff. They’re all under 35.

On May 22 in Culver City, Wine & Spirits magazine will introduce 10 of the city’s brightest young wine experts to a Gen Y group of wine lovers.

The “Coachella of Wine Events,” the uber-hip Project Ethos will spin a loungey vibe while the magazine’s “Hot Picks” wines from all over the world are presented. There’ll even be a taco truck. Have we whetted your appétit to attend or report?

Once you have something fun and punchy like the above, call the producer at the local TV show and leave the first few lines of your pitch on voicemail with your name and return phone number. Email the pitch.

Keep it short. (No one has time to read the Constitution.)

The idea is to capture someone’s attention. You can give all the information later.