By guest blogger Alexandra Scott
Ready to open the doors for a client’s new venture? Congratulations! Make sure to incorporate these top PR tips into your master plan.
Know your media. Which media sources should you contact? Start “hyper-local” (think Patches, community papers etc.) Determine if your story has longer “legs” – is your company spokesperson well known in the area? Can his/her local media, alumni, religious institution or other community media be tapped for interest as well? Never forget about bloggers. “Slice and dice” your story to as wide an audience as you can.
Perfect your pitch. At the beginning of your pitch, come up with a way to grab your contact’s interest. Just because your client is opening a new store or other facility is not necessarily news. Does the opening mean new jobs? Is the construction unique in some way? Think visually, and use social sharing to get the word out. Write Facebook posts, post tweets, take pictures and videos!
Stake out all the “what-ifs”. Draft a list of “what-ifs” to help inform your PR plan – allow for latecomers, weather contingencies (plan a rain date if applicable) and breaking news. Every PR person’s nightmare is the huge unexpected story that takes all your press away! Be sure to prep the aforementioned photos and video to help get your story out to the media asap if they can’t get to you.
Incorporate a “wow” factor. A “wow” factor is part of the Grand Opening that will draw in the public. Some ideas to consider: Is a celebrity or key local notable a possible attendee and strategically a sound idea? Is there a famed local chef who can add some culinary color to the day or an unexpected free offer your client can make? Look for the unusual or over-the-top, just make sure they fit your client personality and the objectives of the opening.
The Grand Opening is only the beginning. The things you do after your Grand Opening are just as important as the event itself. So, follow-up is critical. Also, create a post-event press release. It should highlight the Grand Opening and provide a recap, including the number of attendees, names of legislators/dignitaries that attended and photos. At this point, plan an ongoing calendar of events to keep interest.
Your Grand Opening is just the first step to draw in the public and potential customers and the start of many future events to come.