Marijane Funess April 10, 2014 | 04:53:42

How Strategic PR Makes A Milestone Work Harder

This month our client Edible Arrangements, the originator and category leader of artfully designed fresh fruit bouquets, celebrates its 15th birthday. From humble beginnings – one store in New Haven, opened by founder Tariq Farid, a Pakistani immigrant – to over 1,200 stores worldwide, the operation has grown phenomenally, achieving $500 million in sales in 2013.

Having such a strong story certainly helps, but knowing how to package your story to target media is the key to having it “bear fruit.” Here are some pointers to make your next mediaworthy company milestone work even harder.

Fresh content means great stories. Work with your team to find the stories behind the story. Who contributed to the milestone in an unsung way? What are the company’s next steps following up on this achievement? Find as many angles as you can.

The past informs the present. Conduct a thorough search for reporters who have covered the company and industry favorably in the past. Give them an opportunity to get an updated story. If they covered less than favorably and you have vetted, pitch them for a chance to get a “new view.”

Offer “first looks” to top journalists. We gave the “first look” to Forbes in print and Fox Business in broadcast and strategically carved up the rest of the media universe after those stories broke. Research on your part will help determine where your “first looks” would work best.

Press release or pitch? If you have hard news along with your anniversary or other milestone – financials, new product offerings, hiring data – craft a release. If your story is lighter, find the nuggets of news and call those out for relevant reporters.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”   Benjamin Franklin said this, and it falls to the PR firm to make sure you have identified who can speak with the press.  If spokesperson/s need training, provide it well in advance of media activity. Don’t leave this to the last minute.

Merchandise the occasion internally. No company reaches a milestone without the heavy lifting of employees and partners. Stakeholders deserve to get the news in a special and very personalized way, and they should be included in the celebration of external PR around the occasion.

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