Should a pet supply retailer have a public relations strategy? Absolutely! Even if you’re not ready to hire an agency, there’s still plenty you can do to get the word out about your brand.
Public relations and marketing go hand in hand, and sometimes it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. In essence, public relations is all about connecting your brand to the public in a positive way. Marketing, on the other hand, is designed to drive sales.
Take a look and see if you can start using some of these ideas to boost your PR efforts.
What to communicate in your PR strategy
If you’re looking for opportunities to build your brand, here are a few you don’t want to overlook.
- Product launches: If something big is coming to your shop, check with the brand. They may have helpful content ready to go to help you spread the word.
- What’s new? Remodels, added services, new locations, additions and anything that makes the customer’s shopping experience better all are worthy of a PR push. The same goes for events and happenings at the shop.
- The local pet guru: Sharing your knowledge about all things pet related is the perfect way to connect to pet parents in your community.
- Partnerships: If you’re teaming up with, say, a local pet grooming service or a local training service, get the word out.
- Sponsorships: You can never go wrong living by what you value most. Customers pay attention to that.
How to communicate and connect
When it’s time for a PR push, these are some of the forms it can take.
- Newsletters: Discover some great tips here.
- Social media posts: Link to informative content, and post fun things that make pet parents smile.
- Announcements: When there’s an event or a change to the shopping experience, like a new feature or service, you’ll want to let everyone know.
- Public appearances: Whether you’re giving informative talks to your local Lions Club or staffing a tent table at a community festival, there’s no substitute for putting yourself out there.
Go out and get some buzz
Part of the art and science of PR is generating buzz about your brand and making it more visible in the community.
Cultivate relationships with local media
Consider the reach of your retail store (or stores), noting the media organizations within that territory, including broadcast, online and print. Perhaps you already have contacts at these media groups, namely, advertising reps. Do you know the reporters, editors, anchors and producers who have a hand in creating the actual stories? If not, make a list and introduce yourself. Let them know if they’re ever working on a story about pets and animals, you’d love to help by giving your expert perspective.
Pitch the news
A product launch, a new service or an important event all are opportune times to make the news. Just keep in mind, local news organizations will be less interested in promoting your business and more interested in passing along useful (or entertaining) information to their readers, listeners and viewers. If you don’t want to overdo it and wear out your welcome, it might be helpful to pay attention to the coverage they provide to local businesses. This can help you gauge which stories they tend to publish and broadcast.
Pitch fun features
Another thing you can do is brainstorm hot topics around pet care, and share them with your media contacts. Your ideas can lead to being quoted in an article about hot weather tips for your pets. Or maybe you’ll end up on the morning show, giving a demo on the best collars for your dog. Or you can be sitting in a radio studio, answering caller questions about best practices for being a pet parent.
Engage with social media ambassadors
Don’t overlook “new media” in your community. Keep your eyes open for local pet-centric social media accounts with a big following. Some may even have blogs linked to these accounts, but many do not. When they reach the stage where they’re promoting goods and services, they’ve become influencers. Like you, they’re seen as local pet experts, and brands partner with them to reach their audience. If you’re interested in partnering with a local influencer, reach out.
Offer yourself as a presenter
Brush up on your presentation skills and take your pet expertise on the road. Get in touch with local organizations and clubs and offer to be a guest speaker on a pet topic. Keep your talk informative and tips based, but don’t be afraid to add humor and fun. (When you do book a talk, be sure and alert the local media, just in case they might be interested in covering it.) Be sure to share photos and video clips on social media after the fact.
Thank, share, amplify
When your brand gets noticed in the mediascape, congratulations! It’s not an easy feat, and is worthy of celebration. The next thing you’ll want to do is share it with others.
- Link and share the piece on your social media channels, tagging the news organization or the journalist to show your appreciation. If it’s in the budget, boost the post for additional traction.
- Add a link to your emailed newsletter, along with a headline, a brief introduction and a compelling image.
Excellent public relations focuses on building connections with the community. These interactions will help you build trust, create favorable impressions and demonstrate the value your brand brings to people who care about animals in your town.
Social media is a simple way to inform and educate pet parents in your community. NutriSource Pet Foods makes this task easier. Visit NutriSourcePromoMktg.com, set up your free account, and we’ll deliver great, ready-to-publish pet content to your inbox. All you have to do is share it with your customers so you can do even more to help pet families live happy, healthy lives.