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Market your firm with press releases.

Market your firm with press releases

At the Specialty Coffee Association of America meeting in Orlando last month, I spoke on retail marketing. For those of you who were unable to attend this year's event, I highly recommend planning to attend the SCAA meeting in Seattle in 1992. It's a fine opportunity to network with your peers, make new contacts, meet suppliers one on one and be educated all at the same time.

As during other seminars I have conducted, I had too much to say and too little time to say it in. I try to cram a million dollars worth of information into a 50-minute session!

For those of you unable to attend the program or for staffers you may have left back at the shop, here's a recap of one of the subjects covered - press releases.

A press release is a cost-effective promotional marketing tool. If you aren't sending our press releases, you're not taking advantage of one of the most efficient "free" vehicles of publicity. It's simple, but not as simple as you think. There is a method to writing press releases.

Rule No. 1 - Think like an editor. Press releases that read like ads get tossed into the circular file.

Rule No. 2 - Waste not, want not. If you don't follow up with a phone call, additional mailings, and samples (when appropriate), you've wasted time and energy, not to mention postage costs, stationery, and hourly wage secretarial help.

Rule No. 3 - Develop a six month media plan. The news media - trade magazines, local newspapers, consumer magazines, and television and radio - can help create familiarity and credibility for your business.

Rule No. 4 - Carpe Diem. Seize every opportunity to promote your name to the public and the trade - from an announcement of new products to a new location, from business milestones to appointments of key personnel. Use your business intelligence and your imagination to come up with catchy press release ideas.

Rule No. 5 - Don't give them garbage. Give them a "grabber." Hucksterism pervades; publications, for the most part are hungry for substantive material. They need you as much as you need them.

Press releases are meant to: inform a wide range of media that news is being made, inspire ideas for feature articles, demonstrate your experience, knowledge and creativity, and show that your store is an exciting place/your product has the highest quality or is the most innovative.

Send out a press release as often as you have news or want to call attention to special events. You may want to distribute several for each promotion, depending on how elaborate your promotions are.

List all the elements of your promotion in your first release. Send others for special events with the promotion, such as guest appearances, special prices, availability of a product, etc.

Use your letterhead for the releases or have special release paper printed. Be sure it has your name, slogan if you use one, logo, address and telephone number.

Following are the basic elements of a press release.

1. Notification of when information can be released: "For immediate release" means the information may be used upon receipt. "For release (date) (time)" means the reporter must wait until that date and time to publish the information.

2. Contact person: The person(s) designated as a contact should be able to speak for the store management, and should be knowledgeable about the subject of the release.

3. Title: The title ideally is one line of large type, two lines at most. If you think more information is necessary to get attention, use a secondary subtitle. Put the subtitle beneath the title, like newspapers do in long stories. Subtitles are also useful when the release has several parts - put them at the head of each section of the release.

4. Body Copy: The first two paragraphs must contain the answers to all five "w" questions - Who, What, Where, When and Why. The "Why" gives you a chance to sell the idea of your promotion. Explain why your event is worth covering or attending. Talk about pricing, exclusivity, special events, guest appearances, etc.

5. Close: Offer further information, interviews or comments on the promotion, and repeat the contact names and telephone numbers.

This was just one topic out of many covered at the SCAA seminar.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Friedman, Susan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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Next Article:Quality - once you've achieved it, never let it go.

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