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Ads or Publicity in Mainstream Magazines?

I've been meaning to add my thoughts to a recent Bicycle Retailer Magazine cover story:

"Suppliers Find Women's Titles Beyond Reach" in the May 1 issue (wouldn't it be great to be able to link to the full story on the web?!) reported how the cost of advertising in mainstream, national magazines is out of reach for bike companies.

First, cheers to Megan Tompkins for asking PR pros for insight into other ways for bike companies to get some space in the big, national magazines. Since she must have lost my contact info (ha ha) here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

If you're not reaching out to editors and writers at mainstream magazines you're missing a huge opportunity. Even if you're not one of the big brands, don't despair; most editors at mainstream magazines don't care how big your company is or how deep your pockets are. All they care about is that you can tell them about a product that is well-designed, unique, and serves the needs of their audience. It also helps if your product is part of a larger, emerging trend.

I've gotten relatively unknown clients in places like Maxim, Time for Kids, Playboy, Teen Magazine, Parenting, The Wall Street Journal, and others.

A good example of a small bike company that has leveraged an interesting backstory and well-differentiated products to get national publicity is Cycles Gaansari. Gaansari is a fledgling brand from a bike shop in Ohio. Their well-differentiated bikes and strong tie-in with the Wright Brothers (who were former bike makers themselves) has gotten them all sorts of great publicity. Of course it doesn't hurt that they've been blogging since 2003, and "with astounding results," according to their founder and former PR guy, Gary Boulanger.

So don't be afraid to think big. If you can present your products to the right person at the right time in the right way, you might be able to score some space in a major national magazine, even if you're not a mega-brand.


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