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How to Get Publicity for Your Retail Store: Part 2

Learn how to create a pitch fro your retail business to increase publicity.

Now that I tempted you with most of the story about how you can get the attention of the media in Part 1 of this series, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

First, you need a story to pitch. No, that’s not how amazing your retail store is. Or your giant sale on Friday. You need something that readers or viewers will care about. Here are some ideas:

  • The grand opening of your store
  • Opening of another location
  • Event (more on that in a minute)
  • Participation in community event
  • Your unique story as a business owner

Some of these are obvious as to why they’d be of interest to the media. But let’s talk about events for a moment, because as a local business, you’ve got a major opportunity to leverage this.

Whether you create the event or participate in one, events are great PR fodder. In fact, you can create an event just to make a splash. Let’s say you have a Memorial Day sale every year. Not that exciting, right? But what if this year you turned it into a mega party? You could rent a bounce house, grill hot dogs, offer face painting and prizes…the whole shebang. Now you’ve got something local reporters might latch onto.

And another way to get in front of people with your event is to post it on your local newspaper or tv news events page. Most have a way for you to submit the event for free, so dig around on a few news sites to see if this is an option.

If you participate in a community event, such as a fundraiser or Small Business Saturday, you can also garner media attention. Often the event coordinators will do the heavy PR lifting, and you’ll get mentioned along with others. But it never hurts to push for your own coverage.

Preparing Your Pitch

A pitch is just an email introducing yourself and offering a topic you think the readers or viewers of a publication or program will be interested in. It’s imperative that you spend time customizing your pitches, rather than writing one you send 10 journalists.

Remember all that information you pooled in your spreadsheet in Part 1? Now this will come in handy. Look at those notes and see what you can add into your pitch to make it personal. If I don’t have previous interaction with a journalist, I like to refer to an article I really enjoyed.

For your story idea, have something specific in mind (see those suggestions above), and keep it short. I like to write one sentence with a few bullet points that explain why readers will care. If she’s interested, the journalist will follow up for more details.

If you happen to have a press release published online about this news, feel free to link to it in the pitch. But don’t copy and paste the entire release or send it as an attachment. Never.

Okay, okay. I’ll give you a sample pitch letter you can model yours after.

Hi Beth. I hope you’re doing well. I really enjoyed your article last week about garage-based artists. As a jewelry designer who works out of her garage, I certainly appreciate the challenges it presents!

I design unique silver bracelets and necklaces inspired by yoga symbols and poses under the name Om Designs. I’m writing you today because I am opening my first boutique on Second Street on May 1, and I’d love for you to attend my grand opening! Perhaps your readers would be interested in attending as well.

  • I’ll be giving a demonstration on how I create jewelry
  • We’ll have giveaways totaling $500 in jewelry
  • There will be wine and hors d’oeuvres

Is this something you’d be interested in writing about before the event? If so, I’m happy to provide more details.

See how easy that was? Now you have a sense for how to craft your own letter.

Following Up

Do yourself a favor and don’t wait around for the journalists to respond right away. They’re busy and get plenty of pitches. Do email again in a week to ensure they got your email and to see if they’re interested.

You might strike out a time or two, but learn from the results. The more you practice your pitch, the more fine-tuned it will be, and the more likely your next pitch will be to result in media coverage!

Photo: © PhotoSpin

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