Washington DC — These days, companies have countless ways to get consumers talking about their product — if they have the dollars to pay for it. The problem is that small, unique businesses need the same exposure as (if not more than) those Fortune 500 companies that top the Forbes list, but are typically hamstrung by limited resources and shallow coffers.
Fortunately, advertising doesn’t have to be exclusively PR-centric, but can be a blend of traditional and effective strategies, according to PR News. One oft-overlooked advertising technique is using the matte release, a pre-formatted feature article that print and online editors can use when they don’t have enough copy to fill space.
“When companies don’t have million-dollar budgets, how do you show investors and your sales team what you’re doing? This is where NewsUSA comes in,” says Rick Smith, founder and CEO of NewsUSA, a Washington DC-based content agency that helps promote companies and their products.
For a small fee, Smith guarantees somewhere between 1,000-1,400 placements per story with media outlets such as The Boston Globe, The St Louis Post-Dispatch, and The San Diego Union-Tribune, as well as television sites and hundreds of digital and print newspapers, in all 50 states.“
“NewsUSA’s strength is that it has all these contracts and relationships with newspapers and online media sources that have been built over years and can be trusted for writing and editorial,” says Smith. He says NewsUSA will write and format the content based on the message the clients wants to get out and provide art for client approval. To prove placement, clients are sent the tear sheets and screenshots.
To prove placement, clients are sent the tear sheets and screenshots. “Everything is a competition. For clients who have small budgets, but want to get their message nationwide, what are their options?” In terms of mass marketing to the consumer for that amount of money, “you don’t,” Smith says. In this way, he says he has created a nice niche for people who are trying to do something, but may not have a large media budget.
Security Equipment Corporation (Sabre), a family-owned and -operated manufacturer of the No. 1 brand of pepper spray worldwide, is a case in point. Backed by 40 years of experience in the personal and professional security industries, the company wanted to increase awareness about its product, but had limited resources for advertising. NewsUSA produced and distributed three news feature articles that promoted Sabre products. The result? More than 3,600 media placements, both online and in print, that reached more than 90 million readers nationwide, with an estimated ad equivalency of $1.1 million.
“As a first-time user of NewsUSA, I was pleasantly surprised, not only with the number of placements we got, but the quality of our placements,” says Marisa McKay, marketing manager for Sabre. “Our content was placed in high-profile publications that we wouldn’t have been able to afford if we had to buy traditional advertising space.
Another client that also saw a huge return on its investment is GAF, North America’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential roofing. The company, founded in 1886, generates nearly $3 billion in annual sales and prides itself on helping property owners and architects “make the best and safest roofing choices.” While the company could certainly afford to buy traditional advertising space, it found that NewsUSA could give the company more bang for its buck.
The goal, says the company, was to increase awareness of the GAF brand, award-winning products and special campaigns, while also positioning the company as a leader in both the green and “Made in the USA” movements. To that end, NewsUSA staff wrote and distributed a series of six print news articles, six Social Syndication stories, and three radio spots designed to reinforce GAF’s message across a wide audience. The traditional print articles generated more than 5,100 hits both online and in print, and GAF was able to view its real-time results — including screen grabs — online using its own access code. With the placements, NewsUSA estimated a total reach of more than 392 million consumers and an ad equivalency value of more than $2.2 million.
“We renewed with NewsUSA for another large package because both the results and the writing were so good. And the cohesive branding exposure we got across a variety of platforms — traditional print, Social Syndication and radio — ensured that our message got through to a broad variety of readers and listeners,” says Alyssa Hall, GAF’s marketing and communications manager.
Other clients that have benefited from NewsUSA’s services are:
- CPR Strategic Marketing Communication. The New Jersey-based firm represents the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a company with a mission to further the cause of having chiropractic care recognized as a safer and more cost-effective alternative to standard medical treatment. With the help of NewsUSA, there were 11,561 placements, a consumer reach of more than 478 million, and a total ad equivalency value of almost $1.3 million.
- Evins Communication.This PR agency represents the National Limousine Association, which found a competitor in Uber and other ride-based car services. By generating five stories, the company was able to reach more than 58 million consumers for a total ad equivalency of almost $700,000.
For his part, Smith takes these client successes in stride as just another day at the office. “It’s not surprising that clients who have even a modest budget will open it with us,” he continued. “We’re a pretty attractive alternative.” For more information, visit this site.