Tuesday 27 September 2016

Problem Solver: What do I need to do to attract publicity for my business?

Published 05/05/2016 | 02:30

Feargal Quinn
Feargal Quinn

Q: Can you give me any advice on how best to get some free PR for my business as you always seemed to manage to get great coverage when you were in Superquinn.

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A: On reflection I suppose we did get a fair amount of good media coverage which was always helpful, as there were significant implications to our advertising budget as we were a small business when compared to the big multinationals.

First and foremost if you have any chance of getting some coverage, you have to put yourself in the position of the public who will either, read, hear or see your story.

Above all it needs to be of interest to them and you need to keep asking yourself the question, 'Why will this interest the public?', then your chances will be increased of having the media pick up on your story.

Sometimes winning an award, or being acknowledged within your industry sector as being an outstanding achiever can be of interest, particularly to local media. It could even be the fact that you have secured a contract to export some product. To get the attention of the media it is a good idea to create a short press release detailing the initiative with your contact details on it. Keep it simple and write it in the third person so that a journalist can extract sections from it. Include a quote from yourself and most importantly include a high resolution photograph as this will increase your chances of it being covered in the print media.

Sometimes these stories are staring you in the face and you just have to look for them. I recall, coming up to Pancake Tuesday many years ago, our head baker pointed out that over our 22 shops we would probably produce close to a million pancakes on that year. Suddenly it clicked with us that this could be a great fun story and we approached one of the TV stations who based their breakfast show at our Blackrock branch and broadcasted live from there for two hours with one of their presenters at one point challenging customers to flip pancakes as the countdown to one million started. It was superb PR for our business and our customers talked about it for weeks.

Sometimes you also have to just take a risk and see what happens. I recall one of our branch managers in the lead up to Halloween sending an insulated box with several piping hot Halloween bracks to the crew of one of the national morning radio shows with a handwritten note signed by the bakers in the local Superquinn branch. He included everything in the pack from knives to plates, butter etc. so that really all they had to do was eat the brack. The reaction was immediate with the show opening and the host saying that they were all enjoying the famous Superquinn Halloween Brack courtesy of the bakers.

Throughout the show they kept going back to talking about the novelty of Halloween bracks and the quality of the Superquinn one. We couldn't have paid for that type of advertising and that is the benefit of both some formal structured PR and some opportunistic product placement.

Send your small business questions to himself@feargalquinn.ie

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