Sometimes a B2B PR team meets with a client to discuss a product launch and despite client enthusiasm for the project, they have a sinking feeling that there’s not really any “there there.” Other times, a team walks away buoyant with the knowledge they’ve got a hot story.
For client Findaway World, publishers of electronic and audiobooks looking to attract additional publisher and other business partners for its technology, the situation was somewhere in the middle. Not until the team got into the details did we realize that the company’s new Navy eReader Device, or “NeRD” e-reader developed for use by sailors on U.S. Navy vessels, was a media live wire! Since the story was broken last week, media coverage has been intense, beginning with first-round announcements from WSJ, CNN, NBC, Engadget and dozens of others. Now in the second week of working the story, the team is seeing interest from even bigger press outlets.
Here are the elements that helped create a media juggernaut that hasn’t slowed down yet.
Storytelling works. Sometimes literally. The U.S. Armed services is inherently interesting, for reasons of patriotism, politics, and technology, and there are plenty of military geeks out there in media-land. The NeRD background also had particular appeal as a feel-good item that has nothing to do with battle or casualty reports. It focused on providing the Navy with secure e-readers and a library of bestselling titles for personnel as a welcome diversion for lengthy stints at sea, invoking fictionalized accounts of long weeks spent in submarines or aboard other vessels that are fascinating to so many.
Go the extra distance. Few stories are just one-day affairs. The team doled out portions of the story ahead of release to certain writers with specific interest, then embargoed to the greater media list. Once the initial flurry of announcement press occurred, they dug deeper into feature reporters who wanted to explore other facets of the story and the company behind the device, Findaway World.
Well-oiled client machine. The agency team and the client worked to make sure the company execs were well-versed in every aspect of the product and the Navy partnership, resulting in better soundbites and more compelling interviews.
Expand the media reach. The team already had some excellent relationships with media covering publishing, business, tech, and e-reader beats; now they’ve built new relationships with journalists covering the armed forces and various other areas as well.
Plan for the next story. The success of the NeRD has spawned fresh story ideas for the team to explore as well as collaborative thinking with the client. Maybe e-readers for space travel?
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