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Lifestyle Media vs Tech Media; Which Is Right for Your Product Review?

When arranging product reviews for consumer tech devices, there’s a million questions to ask before the strategy can be set. In this article, we’re taking a look at a key question that comes up during this process: “Should we be pitching lifestyle media for reviews of our product?” 

While not exactly child’s play, pitching tech media for consumer tech product reviews is usually the first approach consumer tech brands will take. The reporters or influencers have a clear beat, and they’re interested to see innovation or fresh ideas in their area of focus. But as brands mature and want to reach wider audiences beyond the early adopter crowd, lifestyle media enters the conversation. Our consumer tech maestro Phoebe Collin shares her advice below. If you’re considering whether to take the leap into pitching lifestyle product reviews, we hope this helps!

Tip #1: Lifestyle media generally have wider reach and beats than tech media

As the name suggests, lifestyle media focus on content that’s relevant to people’s everyday lifestyles. The term ‘lifestyle’ itself can be interpreted in many different ways. So this category covers more industries and verticals than tech media. This drives lifestyle media’s mass appeal and wider audience base. As a result, the major advantage of lifestyle media is high traffic. 

That’s also why the product categories that can be pitched to lifestyle media are not limited to electronics. Even the more offbeat products have the potential to successfully catch reporters’ eyes. Whereas for tech media, if the product is not an electronic device, it will be almost impossible to gain coverage. 

Back to the traffic part. Large lifestyle publications in the U.S. can often attract 2M+ in monthly traffic. Larger integrated media can reach more than 40M. That means securing coverage in these publications is a great help if reach is a major KPI.

Tip #2: Lifestyle reporters tend to have less expertise than their tech-niche counterparts

Maybe tip #1 made you think lifestyle media are always the no-brainer choice for a product review. But there’s always a balancing factor. Because lifestyle media have massive reach and cover so many types of products, that means lifestyle writers/reporters are not experts on the products they review. Compared to tech media, lifestyle media are likely not familiar at all with the brand or product you’re pitching them. And our experience shows that it is more difficult to get a detailed review in lifestyle media publications as a result.

When pitching lifestyle media for electronics products, it's better to adjust the pitch to reflect the type of article the target journalist has published before. That’s instead of highlighting the product or brand name in the headline of the email. For example, we place product reviews for our client Nreal on a weekly basis. Among the tech reporters and influencers we have contacted, Nreal’s products are popular, and our contacts are more than willing to review the brand’s AR glasses. Meanwhile, when we contact lifestyle media, many are not aware of the brand, let alone the product specs or competitive advantages, etc. What matters to them is whether the product and the angle fits into the articles they have planned.

Tip #3: Lifestyle media are more likely to bunch products together into one guide

Because of their lack of niche expertise compared to their tech media counterparts, lifestyle media are less likely to write a detailed review of a single product. Instead they are more likely to put various products that relate to the same lifestyle topic into one article. For example a back-to-school guide, or a comparison article of various kitchen gadgets.

This is also a conscious decision to meet the preferences of the lifestyle audience. Likely not tech savvy, the readers are looking for an answer to a particular problem they want to solve. They’re not obsessing over a specific product or its specs. Lifestyle audiences tend to prefer more variety and details in a single article. They want to get inspiration for their next trip, shopping splurge, special occasion, or maybe just dinner date conversation topics. They want a lot of general information quickly, not highly in-depth reviews that span several pages. Plus, consider the fact that lifestyle audiences tend to browse their favorite magazines or online publications when they are bored. Just like those weekly magazines for lazy weekends, the rich variety of content on every page is what drives them to keep reading.

Simply put, in-depth and detailed reviews for a single electronic device are going to be a tough pitch to lifestyle media, unless you can weave in hot topics or leverage breaking news. For example, even though we secured a more detailed review on Good Housekeeping for our client Toshiba, the appliance brand under Midea, the product still appeared in an article alongside other brands. That said, there are also more hands-on lifestyle media that do offer the opportunity for a dedicated piece, like Dengarden, which we also secured for Toshiba. 

Tip #4: Relationship is everything in lifestyle, whereas only part of the story for tech media

Sure, this is a general assumption when it comes to media relations. But I personally think it's even more important to be more genuine and caring when communicating with lifestyle media. In tech, even if the reporter doesn’t know the person pitching them, if the product fits their beat, and the innovation or novelty is compelling enough, you still have a shot at coverage. In lifestyle media, that’s less the case, due to the wide-ranging nature of the reporters’ beats. That means a relationship represents an even greater portion of a winning strategy. 

Tip #5: Lifestyle reporters often write for multiple publications, so keep the conversation going

It’s common for lifestyle reporters or influencers to work for multiple media publications at any one time. So you are more likely to get multiple articles with one review unit than with a tech media journalist, provided that you are willing to ask.

When the writer has finished an article, it’s perfectly acceptable to follow up and ask if they have other types of articles in the pipeline for other media, if there are any suitable opportunities for this same product, etc. In most cases, they will happily provide you with opportunities, as it’s a win-win.

If your contact is an editor, you can also ask if there are plans for any relevant future articles in their section. It’s also normal to ask for an intro to the editor in charge of another section. Usually as long as the relationship is established and everyone is helping everyone else, you will be able to get the intel and intros you need.

We hope these tips help you make the right strategic decisions for your brand. And if you have any questions feel free to contact the team at Eleven International for guidance and advice.

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