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In today’s “fix-it-now” world, people want an easy way to fix their physical problems. The thought of taking a pill to make their bones stronger or their vision sharper interests people…however, people are also concerned with safety and “natural” almost homeopathic remedies.
Incidentally, these two worlds have collided and the natural dietary supplement market has taken off. More and more companies are coming out with supplements claiming to help certain parts of the body and create a healthier way of living. For the PR world, this means a new realm of potential clients and business.
Managing a supplement is not like managing other brands however. Doing PR for a supplement brand requires patience, diligence, and most of all CAREFUL consideration for what you say and promise the consumer.
The first thing to keep in mind is that this is NOT a drug… it is a dietary supplement. Therefore the company cannot make claims on their bottle that promise to cure, diagnose, prevent, or treat any disease and either can you. You have to be extremely thoughtful in making press releases and other content based documents because saying certain words, such as cure, are a big no-no in the supplement business.
These structure function claims, as they are called, are regulated by the Health and Education Act of 1994. It basically means that since these are not FDA approved, they are not proven to cure or treat anything; therefore using those words would be illegal. This is difficult when writing content because as a PR firm, you want to make the product you are marketing sound amazing and using fluff words to make this happen is not uncommon. However, when working with a dietary supplement you have to make sure each and every word you use is backed up by facts.
This has given us some frustrating work days rewriting the same press release multiple times to make it accurate. Most things are run by their lawyers to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks, but it does often make things difficult.
Another important thing to consider when marketing a supplement is making sure to emphasize the health benefits it offers. Since you cannot say it cures anything, say it benefits a certain part of the body instead. For example, we once had a client that had a supplement for eye health. Now since we cannot say it will treat an eye disease like macular degeneration, we say it supports macular health instead. This way the consumer is still drawn to it if they have macular problems, but we do not promise to cure anything.
Now the need for attentiveness aside, supplements are a great product to work for because there is such a great market for them. Knowing this and knowing the audience you are targeting will help you to accurately publicize this brand and help your clients name reach out to the masses.