For several years, I have heard about the New York City media tour, but until this year, I hadn’t given it much thought. “What’s a media tour,” I wondered, as I piled into the car with ASHI’s public relations consultants from Publicis Dialogue and drove to Manhattan.
Prep work paid off
As we drove, I learned that over the last few weeks the consultants had sent press kits to magazine publishers and feature editors who write about home improvements, real estate and generally, anything around the house. The press kits featured information about ASHI; our Web site–specifically, the virtual home and inspector locator; our new Code of Ethics; and the annual rating of states’ home inspector legislation.
Follow-up phone calls were made to try to get appointments with the writers. On our trip (a two-day affair), we visited more than 14 magazines alone. We spent time chatting about ASHI, introducing ourselves and giving interviews. Thanks to our partnership with the Kidde Corporation, we had gifts to leave as we made the rounds.
Kidde manufactures fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, and had supplied us with products that were specially labeled with a thank you from ASHI.
National consumer publications and programs recognize ASHI
We were able to speak to editors from many publishing houses, including Time & Life, Hearst and The New York Times. We spoke specifically to writers from Popular Science, This Old House, The Wall Street Journal, Home, Country Living and Real Simple Magazine. Some of our discussions led to the possibility of future articles, and to mention of ASHI and the ASHI Web site. Other writers were interested in possible articles about home inspection and home inspection tips from our members. Country Living magazine was working on a mock inspection and featuring what every consumer should know when having an inspection. Wonderful opportunities were developing! We also met with a HGTV producer, who may feature ASHI inspectors in a new pilot show. During the day, I also had telephone interviews with a newspaper in Ohio and an editor from Pennsylvania, as well as a writer for Country Living, for articles they were doing that day.
As we drove from West Side to East Side and uptown to downtown, it was clear our public relations consultants had done their homework. This tour was so well orchestrated, we had to be careful to be on time. Fortunately, we were able to stay right on schedule. With the traffic and the number of appointments, we all were exhausted by the end of the two days. We even had the slimmest chance of being seen on the “David Letterman Show,”…but Dave chose not to go into the audience that night. He did accept a carbon monoxide detector from ASHI and Kidde.
People of influence are talking about ASHI
So, the end result was that we had another blazingly successful Media Tour for 2004. We sparked lots of national interest. We got people of influence talking and thinking about ASHI, and we hope the seeds we sowed will develop into articles and mentions in all of these magazines and newspapers, reminding the public how important it is to have a home inspection, and that when choosing a home inspector, they should think ASHI Inspector. And where will they find a great inspector? At www.ASHI.org, of course!