October is the PERFECT month to begin your holiday 2007 PR campaign. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You need to send press releases for all of the wonderful events you have planned to benefit this important cause.
The article below is loaded with some hit PR tips from genius press agent, Ruth Furman. This article appears in the October issue of Hardware Retailing Magazine (http://www.hardwareretailing.com) , but even if you are not a hardware retailer, don’t let that stop you from e-mailing Ruth for your copy of the free publicity primer offered at the end of the article.
10 Tips for Adding Publicity to Your Marketing Mix
A little proactive publicity can spice up any retailer’s advertising and marketing mix — not to mention store traffic — in a big way.
For home improvement retailers, publicity means getting the word out about a retail outlet on a consistent basis, and doing that is easier and more effective than you might think. Ruth Furman, who operates Image-Words Publicity (http://www.ruthfurman.com), a public relations firm that specializes in the home improvement industry, shares the following tips on how to gain more exposure for your business.
1. Develop a list of media in your trading area, including relevant print publications, television stations, radio stations and newsletters. The phone book and Internet are good resources for this project. Personally contact each media outlet to obtain the best contacts for press releases and preferred distribution. Most prefer e-mail, but some still choose fax or traditional mail.
2. Determine who you will tap as your store’s media contacts and include store and cell phone numbers, as well as e-mail addresses, in your communications with the press.
3. Have a staff brainstorming meeting and develop a PR calendar that includes significant events, sales and milestones for potential publicity. Do not overlook holidays and local events you may be a news source for, especially during December when, for example, you can suggest, or “pitch,” a story to the media about the top holiday gifts for the do-it-yourselfer.
4. Promote your people. New hires and promotions are excellent ways to get coverage in the media. Many local publications have “people” and “on-the-move” sections promoting new personnel. If you have an employee celebrating a significant milestone at the store with an interesting story, alert the media.
5. Think of contests you can offer and promote, tied in with merchandise you sell, to get the local community involved. Examples include “messiest closet” or “my backyard nightmare” contests.
6. Ask the communications department at your wholesaler for sample press releases customized for retailers. Note from George & Rich: Ask your vendors and for sample press releases; ask associations you belong to as well.
7. Browse the Internet for publicity ideas. One good source is http://www.publicityhound.com. When you sign up for the newsletter you receive a free report detailing reasons to send a press release. Other good sources are http://www.zfpr.com and http://www.kizerandbender.com. Also recommended is http://www.presskit247.com, which features affordable options for building your own online press kit.
8. Publicity requires a combination of strong writing and communication skills. If you plan to promote your store using internal resources, look for a staff member who likes to write and is also a born sales star to coordinate your media efforts.
9. Start pitching and promoting. Think like a reporter and consider all angles when developing story ideas. Many stories result from a great idea suggested at the right time to the right news outlet and reporter, instead of the same press release sent to all news outlets in the area.
10. Show off your successes. When your publicity efforts produce results, feature the coverage by posting it on your web site, displaying it in your store and mailing copies with statements.
To receive a free publicity primer specially geared for home improvement retailers, e-mail email@example.com.