PR for stationery retailers: hit the headlines!

If you believe the saying from Hollywood, then even bad publicity is better than no publicity. In actual fact, however, just a handful of the smaller manufacturers and retailers regularly carry out PR work. Reports in newspapers, magazines, radio and the like offer a good alternative to traditional types of advertising.

Thanks to a growing community of bloggers and amateur journalists, the number of advertising channels has simply exploded in recent years. Moreover, experts estimate that between 80% and 90% of customers seek out information about products and companies online before making a purchase. Anyone who's well rated because of their good reviews is able to reach a wide audience, something that can often be achieved with just a few inexpensive means and that comes across as particularly authentic.

 

Good PR focuses on media representatives and customers alike

One thing that the readers and customers of today have in common is that they are spoilt. That's what paper, office supplies and stationery retailers should be aware of if they want their reports to be successful. Some people want a good story, others an inspirational shopping experience.

Find an exciting story for everyone

Retailers know exactly how to reach out to their customers: with an interesting display that piques people's curiosity. And that's the way it has to be with a story, too. It needs an interesting lead, because just running a business is not enough to get people talking about it. Products or services are taken for granted. Editors and bloggers are always on the lookout for good stories. After all, readers want to experience something that offers them added value.

Suggestions for your next PR campaign

If you don't have a lead, you have to come up with one. A good network in the paper, office supplies and stationery industry helps get ideas off the ground. A few suggestions at a glance.

  • Invite artists to present your products
  • Offer workshops
  • Organize special events, such as anniversay or Christmas parties
  • Surprise customers with unusual joint activities

Transform yourself from a retailer to a storyteller

The former territory of print journalists is now increasingly being contested by digital media. While it's true that print media come top of the rankings as far as importance is concerned (87%, as an EHI Retail Institute study recently announced), online media and social networks are already hot on their heels with 70% and 62% respectively.

For retailers, this means they can tell their story (or stories) themselves. By having an account on the main social networks or their own little blog, they can publish independent reviews and reports and keep their customers up to date.

Build relationships with editors and influencers

Social media is compulsory; online magazines and newspaper reports are optional. Retailers wishing to go their own way have to know their word-of-mouth agents, multipliers and opinion leaders – preferably in person. They include local and business editors, editors of free papers and community magazines and local bloggers, regardless of whether they're reporting what's happening in town or focus on the paper, office supplies and stationery industries.

Public relations work is all about maintaining relations in public in the truest sense of the word: whoever has found his potential multipliers must build up and maintain a relationship with them. What's the first step? Picking up the phone! Use it to announce stories or events in person.  This way you can find out the editorial deadline by which the publicist has to have received all the information. At the same time, you can find out in a personal chat which topics are generally in demand and so plan future PR campaigns accordingly.

 

The press release is the 'royal highway' in the media world

Stories have to be good, have news value, be packed with data, facts and keywords, and be ready to print. This works best with an official press release, which gives media representatives the chance to write an article without having to carry out their own time-consuming research.

Properly formulate and edit press releases

When writing a good press release, the following applies: rather short and crisp instead of waffle and preferably just a few times a year, but packed with content. To achieve all this, a press release has to answer the key questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? What source? They should then be followed by supplementary information and, if need be, further details.

Editors want press releases with full contact details, including the name of a contact person and extension number. So that they have a choice for the layout, they are delighted if they get some telling photos (image resolution 300 dpi, maximum 2 MB) with a caption. Even illustrative graphics that clarify figures and trends can be the icing on the cake of a press release.

Re-use press releases

In the PR world, there's no guarantee that your press release will be published. That's what sets them apart from paid advertising. However, in line with the saying "Constant dripping wears away the stone", you should nevertheless maintain your relationship with editors and bloggers and regularly remind them of your presence. It doesn't have to be a headline on page 1. For the paper, office supplies and stationery retailer himself, nothing stops them from using the press release in a modified form on their own social media channels.

Do you want to meet specialised journalists and the PR professionals among the specialist retailers in person?

You'll meet them at Insights-X, where you can expand your network and enjoy a good exchange of ideas.

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