Over the past 30 days, two events and the release of the 2012 second quarter motorcycle sales figures have generated a flurry of positive media coverage about women who ride motorcycles.
The increase in press coverage started in late July when approximately 500 women rolled into town for the American Motorcyclist Association's International Women & Motorcycling Conference in Carson City, Nevada.
Shortly after, Harley Davidson invited Comedian Margaret Cho and Karen Davidson, Harley-Davidson's creative director for general merchandise and great-granddaughter of co-founder William Davidson, to a BlogHer conference on Manhattan's Central Park South. A few non-riders in attendance wrote about being "uninspired," but that didn't seem to slow down the number of positive posts and stories about the event and women who ride motorcycles.
A picture and short story about Margaret Cho's new confidence booster, her motorcycle, appeared in PARADE Magazine's on-line website. PARADE Magazine, the most widely read magazine in America has a circulation of 32.2 million.
The third component that fueled the recent increase in news coverage about women who ride motorcycles was triggered by the Motorcycle Industry Council's announcement that motorcycle sales were up 2.8 percent for the first half of 2012. About the same time, publically traded Harley Davidson (NYSE: HOG) announced that their second quarter earnings rose 30 percent, with increased U.S. sales climbing a solid 4 percent.
The Financial Times Got the Ball Rolling
Reporter Anjli Raval with the Financial Times interviewed a long list of industry representatives including LadyMoto.com's Jan Plessner, before finalizing her story on August 23, 2012. The Financial Times enjoys a huge worldwide audience that includes 4.8 million registered users, a paid-for circulation of 600,000 and 2.7 million web app users.
Raval's story described the H-D event on Manhattan and included quotes from Harley Davidson's Director of Women's Marketing Outreach Claudia Garber. Raval also shared information about other mainstream companies and their efforts to successfully market to women.
Raval's feature story was then shared with The Globe and Mail, Canada's nationally distributed paper with a weekly readership of about 1 million. The Globe and Mail feature story about women who ride motorcycles is nearly identical to the original feature on the Financial Times, which is available online. The Globe and Mail added a video to the story that discusses marketing to women.
LadyMoto.com in the News
Both the Financial Times and The Globe and Mail stories included a quote from Jan Plessner, editor, LadyMoto.com. Plessner's quote addressed how women in the U.S. motorcycle industry have welcomed Harley Davidson's inclusion of women in their advertising materials.
Plessner explained to Raval how she believes other motorcycle makers are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities to grow the women's motorcycle market.
"Women have for a long time been so absent from advertising campaigns and now these motorcycle manufacturers are slowly waking up to this huge untapped market. We will see more from these companies in the next few years," said Plessner.
Local News Coverage Fallout
As often is the case, local newspapers like The Herald News (Fall River, MA), the Star Gazette (Elmira, NY), the Mercury News, and the The Durango Herald have all printed stories about women riding motorcycles.