Absolutely. They want to know what you have done in the past and what you have coming up – with the bottom line being that you will drive sales to their stores.
The past: past press shows the retailer that the media feels your story is a worthwhile one to tell and that you are committed to generating consumer awareness. Both build credibility.
The present/future: Keep creating opportunities to tell your story. “‘What have you done for me lately” applies (i.e. what do you have in the PR pipeline that will drive sales to their stores?). Communicate with your existing retail buyer (approximately one time per month) or potential new retail buyer (approximately one time per quarter) what you have accomplished since you last communicated. It’s a great “excuse” to communicate with your buyer with some meaningful information and to keep an open dialogue with them (if you temporarily fell off their radar, it will remind them of your existence and then they can bring up any issues – good or both — that you want to know about. Information is key.
Many entrepreneurs do not have a PR budget. So, you may need to implement a DIY (do it yourself) PR program. To be clear, PR requires strategy, creative thinking, research, patience, and relationship building. It’s an art and a science, and if it’s not your area of expertise, then this may be an area you wish to invest in. The goal clearly being that your sales will outpace the PR investment. This usually does not happen overnight. It’s a process.
Some DIY PR tips:
- As a general rule of thumb, pitch local, then regionally, and then nationally. Build momentum. It’s like sales. You start off smaller in local stores or online and then you grow regionally and nationally.
- Not all products are for everyone. So, pick targeted mediums. Who is my target audience and how can I best reach them (what magazines do they read, what online sites do they visit, what TV shows do they watch)? Hone in. Your targeted feature will likely exceed sales than a feature with a larger circulation/reach but that is not as targeted.
- Do your research. Once you dial in on which mediums you are targeting, do your research. Who do you need to pitch so that your story has the best chance of being selected? In what time frame do you need to pitch (are they a magazine working off a 3-6 month lead time, or is it a local newsletter where 2 weeks might be sufficient?). Did you send product samples in a creative way that will make it stand out amongst the hundreds of other packages they have in their office? What stories are they currently running and how does yours fit in? Does this media source have their calendar posted online so you know what their focus will be?