Magnatag draws 'Journal' profile

The Wall Street Journal, June 26

The Wall Street Journal, June 26

Who is your client, and what are its media goals?

Tom McFeeley: Magnatag Visible Systems makes more than 2,300 customized whiteboards that are industry- and task-specific. It sells into 96 of the current Fortune 100 companies, and its media goals were to tell its story and promote its products to a national audience.

The Wall Street Journal is a great target for many businesses, but what made it good for Magnatag? How did you pitch reporter Wendy Bounds?

McFeeley: We knew the Journal likes to profile success stories, and Magnatag founder Wally Krapf is a great example because his whiteboards have been used by everyone from NFL teams on draft day to the doctors on ER. So we used the 40th anniversary of the company's founding as a hook to e-mail Bounds directly and suggest a profile.

The Journal gets inundated with pitches regarding small companies. How did you get Magnatag noticed amid all that noise?

McFeeley: We positioned Wally Krapf as a classic American success story, but didn't push too hard. We just kept sending Bounds the latest press releases and any new stories on the company that had come out, and the combination of all that eventually convinced her that this was a company worth looking at.

Did you have to media train Krapf for this story? What other steps did you take to secure this placement?

McFeeley: We had previously media trained Krapf, but at the heart of this company is his own story. So before he talked to Bounds, we simply encouraged Krapf to use his own words to convey the lessons on how he built this business.

What was the impact of the hit?

McFeeley: The day the story appeared Bounds also made an appearance on CNBC where she talked about the company. Magnatag's Web site traffic went up 1,000% in that first day, and that interest led to a lot of new customers. Magnatag was really pleased with the placement.

Name: Tom McFeeley, account supervisor, Environics Communications (Stamford, CT)

Placement: The Wall Street Journal, June 26

Pitch timeline: Five months

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