Sleep Savvy - May/June 2013

Master Marketing

Russell Trahan 2013-05-04 02:11:54

promoting your store Four keys to a successful publicity campaign Every year, countless retailers decide to take a crucial step: a publicity campaign. But, more often than not, there are a few critical missteps made at the outset that impede their momentum. And these mistakes have a direct impact on their return on investment. Public relations endeavors are an essential component to increased visibility and name awareness, but without proper preparedness and implementation, visions of magazine covers, TV interviews and blogger posts can prove to be pipe dreams. Thankfully, there are a number of actions you can take to safeguard yourself from PR pitfalls and get the most out of your publicity campaign. 1Start sooner, not later A common misconception held by newcomers to the PR realm is that the appropriate start date for a campaign is when the final touches have been put on a new location, brand innovation or charity event. This typically is the initial obstacle that has many retailers sputtering out of the gate. Your PR campaign should begin at least four to six months before your anticipated launch. Properly executed publicity involves creating a snowball effect by ever-increasing mentions and features across a wide range of media outlets. By the time many businesses feel they are ready to proceed with PR, their window of opportunity already has begun to close. 2Appoint a company spokesperson The decision to finally pull the trigger on a PR campaign is enough to create a palpable buzz throughout the store. The prospect of increased sales numbers and an expanded customer base – both the result of increased visibility – will generate excitement among your managers and retail sales associates, but frequently lost amid the enthusiasm is the delegation of a media spokesperson. Many retailers view their stores through a prism of team-oriented achievement, where each and every member of the company provides their expertise to work toward a common goal. While this is a terrific model for fostering store harmony, it doesn't work when a reporter is on the phone seeking a specific person for a quote. Appointing a spokesperson to handle all media matters and requests is vital to maximizing the likelihood that your thoughts and ideas make it to a broader audience. Reporters and editors adhere to strict deadlines and, in many cases, the person who provides the content they desire first will be the source quoted in the final story. Publicity by committee leads to confusion, dragging feet and, ultimately, missed opportunities. 3Don't be afraid to stretch your message There's a tendency in retail to adopt a form of tunnel vision: You become so close to your skills and knowledge that it's virtually impossible to view things from a third-party perspective. As a result of this myopic mindset, many potentially lucrative opportunities fall by the wayside or are ignored entirely – cast aside because they don't fit into the specific schema you've formed about the nature of your business or expertise. Stretching your topic to apply to what's circulating in the news is a fundamental part of a profitable campaign. For example, a mattress retailer may view its audience only as potential mattress buyers, but directing its message to also include people interested in health and well- ness expands the retailer's audience and extends its reach. Never decline a publicity opportunity because of a perceived lack of expertise on a topic: Broaden your message to apply to avenues you may have overlooked previously. 4Stir the pot with unique perspectives & controversy Nothing whets the media's appetite quite like a good, old-fashioned controversy. Controversies dominate headlines, are the fodder for early-morning water cooler conversation and, most importantly, sell papers, drive ratings and build page views. This doesn't mean you should dive into the gutters of Kardashian-inspired tabloid gossip, but providing a unique counterpoint to commonly held beliefs or opinions on a local controversy is a terrific way to produce attention and awareness. A well-researched, informed argument that may fly in the face of societal norms is akin to a flashing neon sign to journalists seeking to provide both sides of an issue. Don't shy away from ruffling feathers, because nothing builds publicity like controversy. Make no mistake about it, a carefully crafted and properly executed publicity strategy will enhance your store's profile and provide a boon to your business' efforts. By embarking on a PR campaign with clearly defined goals and an action plan for when the media comes calling, you'll position yourself to enjoy many profitable quarters. Russell Trahan is president of PR/ PR, a boutique public relations agency in based Orlando, Fla., that specializes in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Trahan and PR/PR will raise your business' awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, visit www.prpr.net or email mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.

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