Media Relations and Your Catalog (940 words)
Media Relations and Your Catalog
Every business wants and needs to create awareness of what it does. Catalogers are no different. They can advertise, whether it's a big splashy campaign of the sort Lands' End, L.L. Bean or Lillian Vernon have undertaken, or simply a small classified ad.
But another way to get people thinking and talking about—and hopefully ordering from!—your catalog is the "free advertising" generated by effective use of public relations (PR). The "public" in PR encompasses media, government and community relations. Let's focus for now on the media.
Is there a story here?
Catalog consultants and PR practitioners agree that targeting the right media outlet with the right story at the right time is the way PR works. You can try canvassing the media yourself, or have someone in your marketing or advertising departments try, but a professional publicist can see "The Big Picture." They have contacts and are familiar with how to approach different media.
Maxwell Sroge, a catalog consultant in Evansville, IL, reminds his clients that if they are seeking national coverage of their business, they should make sure that "you have something worthwhile to say … Of course you'll feel warm and fuzzy sending a press release, but if you're not thinking of the editor, you're not building a good relationship." He says these relationships are very valuable: "If you go out to advertise [your catalog or product], it could cost millions of dollars; if you write a good story for the editor, and cooperate, for $500 or $1,000, you can have editors all across the country picking up the story."
Much of what you choose to communicate about your company depends on the media market you are approaching.