This is how press relations work in retail - Part 1

You have a new product range and would like to tell the whole world about it? You've put a lot of dedication and heart and soul into making your shop look smart and no one is writing about it? There are ways and means for successful retail PR: simply follow these three steps to success.

The first step to success is to approach the right journalist in the right way and at the right time. To ensure that the press will cover you and your business in the future, you should first of all get an overview of the local media landscape. This is especially important because your customers are also from the region and are connected to the local newspaper and local publications. In your list, you may by no means forget the local bloggers. Because bloggers are important and above all authentic opinion makers. Especially among younger target groups, they are often considered more credible. Online event directories are also an important component for successful PR in trade. The free advertising and community newspapers should not be underestimated. 

Find contact persons

Once you have gained an overview, you should always look: How does the competition present itself, how do other retailers appear there? You can find a first contact person in the imprint. It is important to call the medium in good time to get the first useful information; at least one month in advance is recommended before your press release is to be published. During the phone call, find out who is actually responsible and how exactly this person would like to be contacted - would you prefer to be contacted by e-mail or by phone in the traditional way? It is also always helpful to know when the person can best be reached, because journalists have many outside appointments and some also work part-time or freely from their home office. It also makes sense to ask about the editorial deadline right away. This is the deadline by which image and text material must be at the editorial office at the latest. Bloggers should always be contacted by e-mail.

No story, no press

You have written down all your questions and want to call the editorial office right away? Stop! Before you get started, you first have to internalise the basics of PR: no story, no press! Even if you as a retailer think your new product range is great, the journalist has certainly seen it a thousand times before. And even if he doesn't know it, why should he write about it? That would be a pure product report and the journalist lacks a suitable hook. The journalist sees a new product, a new range or a new service as a normal economic achievement of a company, as a matter of course. This has no news value for a journalist and is therefore not worth mentioning. Journalists do not make advertisements for a particular business or product, because that would be the responsibility of the advertising department and they would charge you for it.

Of course, there are exceptions to this: If you have a revolutionary product, like Apple's iPhone at the time, that is worth a report for journalists. Journalists also write about certain products if there is a high level of interest on the part of consumers. Apple is a good example of this, because the Californian company has created a hype around its products. Another exception are products or services that are considered cultural assets of our society. Examples here are books, music or even plays.

Conveying added value

But unless you are Apple or have an absolutely revolutionary product up your sleeve, you won't get very far with commercial stories. The press lacks the added value of the message for the reader. They need an extraordinary message that goes beyond the product, the range or the service. This is where our second step comes in: Your message must bring something to the reader or entertain him. Because journalists want to impart knowledge to their readers and tell them something new. It should be useful or meaningful to the reader.

Checklist for a successful message

- The message is clear and straightforward
- It contains suspense, drama, a conflict or records
- The message is concrete and contains, for example, numbers, current events or is appropriate to the season.
- The content is about a human fate or reports about animals.
- The news reports about celebrities or elites.
- The news has a connection to the life of the reader or contains local relevance.
- The news goes beyond the actual offer of the business and thus offers the readers an added value


About the Author

"We build bridges between brands and families!" - Griffiths Consulting is a communication agency that specialises in families, children and youngsters and triggers not only enthusiasm for brands but also makes sure that opinion leaders talk about these brands – both online and offline. The agency's founder, Ulrica Griffiths, was previously head of press and PR at Lego Central Europe. The agency's core services include social media, influencer marketing and public relations. Griffiths Consulting has partnered with the International Public Relations Team (IPRTeam) – a global cooperation of owner-managed PR agencies.

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