KIDS FIRST! knows there’s a lot of good programming out there for kids and families. We also know it needs an audience to make it worthwhile. Active KIDS FIRST! supporter Eva Marie Damore shares tips with producers working in the independent realm on how to give their product its best shot at getting in front of that audience. Her firm, Damore Public Relations, has handled children’s CDs from Rhythm Child, Anni Zola and The SqueeGees, plus a preschool DVD from Cinema Werx.
How Public Relations is Important to Independent Producers
As an independent producer launching a children’s DVD, CD or book, you hope to sell lots of product so you can become successful and profitable. It can be daunting when you find out there are so many components to factor in prior to launching a product: distribution, sales strategy, packaging, marketing and public relations.
These are difficult economic times and our natural instinct is to cut corners wherever we can. When creating your budget, public relations is an area you don’t want to cut; in fact, you want to make sure you allocate funds so that your product gets the national exposure it deserves. You might have the most innovative CD, DVD or book, but your target audience won’t know about it without a thorough public relations strategy. This can include a multi-media campaign consisting of consumer and parenting magazines, regional and local publications, newspaper, radio, television, news websites and blogs. An active social networking program is also vital to increasing your visibility with potential consumers. A fan page on Facebook and a twitter stream of what’s happening with the new product are great one-on-one connections for consumers.
A solid public relations campaign can increase product sales and visibility, and get your product recognized and in front of your target consumer, who’s already inundated with a myriad of children’s products. Below are four crucial steps independent producers should consider prior to launching a product.
1. Think smart and create a budget and timeline prior to launching your product. Whether you’re self-distributing or have an agency handling your product, you want to make sure you have a budget that covers pre- and post-production costs. Include miscellaneous expenses such as shipping and postage charges or extra packaging supplies. A timeline will remind you of critical deadlines for completed artwork, editing, packaging and distribution of final product.
2. Include marketing and publicity in your budget. A good publicist will discuss short and long-term strategies. Various consumer magazines have long lead editorial deadlines, so contacting the right editor three to six months prior to your product launch is crucial. Also, there are several award competitions your product might qualify for that your publicist can suggest for submission. Your publicist can explore interesting and creative “hooks” that will get your product to stand out from similar, related items. You may have an interesting story as to how your product came about or inspirations that led you to produce the CD or DVD or put fingers to a keyboard to write a book.
3. Have samples of your product available to media prior to its launch. Offer a free download from your upcoming CD so media can sample your musical style, a book galley for reviewers or a promo or trailer of your DVD.
4. Don’t be afraid to contact small, boutique PR firms for representation. Many of the smaller firms are headed by former corporate executives who came from larger PR firms. These executives are professional, media savvy and will give you — the client — the attention you and your product deserve.