‘Ambassador’ Strategy Pays Off for McLarney
If you happened to be watching “Market Morning” on Business News Network—Canada’s only all-business and financial news television channel—on Wednesday morning, Nov. 10, you saw a SIPA member take center stage. Michael McLarney, editor and publisher of Hardlines, provided excellent guest commentary on a segment about RONA, one of Canada’s largest retail hardware stores.
“The industry does not rely on housing starts as much as it used to,” he says in the interview hosted by BNN anchor Pamela Ritchie. “It’s very much a repair and renovation market that drives our industry now. So we’re waiting on consumer confidence [to see] if people start spending money again.”
Hardlines is the premier source for information on home improvement retailing in Canada, so the position of “expert” that McLarney has worked hard to foster over the years comes naturally. Looking so comfortable on camera is also something that McLarney has obviously worked on. He believes interviews such as this “raise our profile and adds to our credibility when it comes to speaking and consulting work.”
For McLarney, it is a long-term strategy. “I’ve been sending our newsletter free of charge to all key retail and business reporters across Canada since the early days of our publication (now going into its 16th year). I always tried to make Hardlines an ‘ambassador’ for our industry, giving the major papers and TV a way to get story leads from the retail home improvement industry. I began doing radio and TV interviews early on; my first TV interview was for Asian Business News on the local multicultural station. I was dubbed into Mandarin for that one.
“I have also worked with many of the communications people at the larger retailers, who were happy to recommend me as a source for a third-party comment when they were being interviewed for a story. I further support our ‘voice of the industry’ efforts with press releases of our own when we have important breaking news or release the findings of one or our research projects. That helps attract media attention.”
At the end of the interview, Ritchie says, “We were joined by Michael McLarney. He is the founder and also the editor of Hardlines.” Good stuff.
McLarney is a busy guy. He is also the managing director, Canada, of the North American Retail Hardware Association. On his website, he has a whole section called Hardlines TV that offers up commercials, interviews, product reviews, gardening tips, event reports and more. (The one with the most hits is a commercial for Home Hardware Building Centre – “We’ve Got Your Lumber.”)
McLarney’s strategy is pretty clear—bring more people into the fold. And connect. In a member profile he did with us back on Canada Day in July, he said: “Our company slogan or tagline has nothing to do with news or publishing. It’s ‘Connecting the Home Improvement Industry.’ In this era of email, voicemail and Facebook, we continue to find ways to connect the industry, whether through our conference, executive breakfasts or our international buyer forums.”
Or cool interviews.
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Washington, D.C. Chapter Reception
Kiplinger Building, 1729 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 12:30 p.m.
Actionable Analytics – What to Do with All Those Numbers
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, 12:30 p.m.
SEO Campaign Management 2011: How to
Drive Website Traffic and Build Email Circulation
Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Networking Dinner in San Francisco
Il Fornaio Restaurant
1265 Battery Street (on Levi’s Plaza)
April 7-8, 2011
SIPA Munich 2011 Conference
June 5-7, 2011
SIPA 2011: SIPA’s 35th Annual Conference
Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
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