SEMA News -- April 2009

Magazines in and outside the United States are eager to highlight the newest specialty-equipment product offerings, and they often do so by including New Product Showcases in their magazine. This month’s “Required Reading” features a few of these columns and provides tips on how to increase your chances of being included.

How to Get Your New Product Included in the Showcase
SEMA News, April 2009, Required Reading, Truckin Magazine 

 There’s nothing like
editorial coverage to get things rolling.

You’ve invested a great deal of time and effort to produce your new product. It’s now time to get the word out. Sure, advertising and point-of-purchase programs are important, but there’s nothing like editorial coverage to get things rolling. In fact, the media is a valuable tool for building credibility and reaching the masses. To many people’s surprise, reporters are hungry for new-product information. Many publications even have new-product showcases where they seek items to highlight. To get your piece of the spotlight, there are certain investments in time and preparation that will pay off. The following are a few tips and suggestions that may help: Fish where the fish are. Bring product news to events where media will naturally be present. These might be races or car shows, but for broader exposure, trade shows present an obvious opportunity.

Arrive with materials ready to go. That means a press kit with detailed product information and high-resolution digital art, at the very least. Even better, add some technical background information—dyno testing or “how it works” information—that would bring a reporter up to speed on the concepts relating to your new product. A ready-to-go story about your own product might also get the ideas flowing in the editorial department of a national magazine. It’s also good to include some company history and, of course, contact information, which should also point to your website, assuming you have one that is fully functional and up-to-date.

Hold it together in a standard-size folder. Resist the temptation to package your media kit in a cute lunchbox, diamond-plate notebook or thermos. It needs to slip easily into a briefcase and be filed on a shelf for easy reference. Anything too bulky will likely be abandoned when it’s time for an editor or writer to repack and get on a plane.

Look into the media center. Your media kit should be made available at places where writers and editors can be found, such as an event’s press room. Check with event management to see where they should be placed, and replenish as necessary. Your press kit materials will need to be delivered, placed and serviced by your own team.

Consider all events. The SEMA Show is the premier industry event, but it’s important to consider other events to round out your public relations plan. Some events are even built around new-product news, such as the annual Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference. The MPMC event is formatted so that members can meet dozens of editors over a three-day period. It’s a rare opportunity to generate coverage and exchange information about plans for the coming year.

Consider a press conference—but do it carefully. If your media plan entails just putting your new products out in your booth, you are leaving a lot to chance. Your exposure will depend on the right media migrating to your booth, identifying the new product and leaving with photography and information. You might consider staging a press conference to announce a new product, but unless you have a real breakthrough to offer—something truly newsworthy—a press conference might night not be the best method to get coverage.

 SEMA News, April 2009, Required Reading, SEMA News Magazine

 The media is a valuable tool for building credibility and reaching the masses.

Look into programs, such as the New Products Showcase.

Take advantage of whatever announcements, programs or spotlight opportunities the show management creates. The SEMA Show New Products Showcase, for example, attracts media attention and exponentially increases your chances of appearing in magazines and newspapers. That’s because the program is set up to make it easy for editors to cover new products. Every new product is situated within an appropriate category, so media can easily locate the products they’re most interested in. All entries are attractively displayed and photographed for distribution to the media.

Last year, SEMA introduced an electronic scanning device that allowed media to grab images and info on any given product in seconds. Then the information was supplied electronically, and quality images were made available on

SEMA also organizes specific groups of media participants, such as international editors, to pick new products for awards. These visiting media use the New Product Showcase as their catalog of new ideas.

They select the best new products for their market—maybe China, Brazil or Sweden—vote on the winners and take the information home for use in their hometown publications. That creates export opportunities for the companies that participate and global product awareness that could open doors.

Review your SEMA Show Directory listing. Like many others, the SEMA Show Directory is an annual reference book. Writers and editors regularly look up contacts by turning to the part of the book that lists companies by product category. You want to make sure your company is listed in every appropriate product category. By cross-referencing, you make your company visible for consideration in a wider variety of product guides, product tests and product news releases. Because the SEMA Show Directory is also posted on, individual consumers who did not attend may also discover your new product.

Having a great idea can be the start of a new business, but creating the product is only the beginning. With a good press kit and a little help from event producers, you can shorten the time it takes for everyone to see your latest development.

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