Public relations tactics to maximize buzz for your new business
By Rachel Bledsoe
When developing a PR strategy for your Grand Opening – whether it is for a local restaurant, industrial plant or Fortune 500 company – there are several key ingredients that will help you get the most impact out of your big day. First impressions matter, and you only have one opportunity to maximize coverage of your new venture, so it is important to get it right!
Last year, RunSwitch PR partnered with the Millennial Restaurant Group (MRG) to help introduce the Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza concept to media markets in four states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. With three successful Blaze Pizza grand openings under our belts and several more on the books for 2015, we owe our success to a little elbow grease and the following “Recipe for a Successful Grand Opening.”
1. Develop a relationship with media early: Whether you have worked with members of the media in your market in the past or are working with them for the first time, it is important to reconnect or introduce yourself and your project early. Typically, we start alerting media as soon as we know that a Blaze Pizza will be opening in their market, potentially even before an open date is set. It’s never too early to get reporters excited about your project.
2. Localize your story: Regardless of whether your client is a local business or a large national chain, be sure to weave in a bit of “local flair” to all of your press materials. Do your research. Learn about the culture of the community and the things that community cares about the most. It might even make sense to partner with a local organization on a fundraiser, invite local officials or become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. This not only helps introduce your brand to the market, but establishes a reputation for good community stewardship.
3. Vary your media events: If you want to maximize your media coverage, it is also critical not to put “all your eggs in one basket.” Stage several events leading up to and after opening day to increase the chances that media will cover your project. The day after every Blaze Pizza grand opening, the company celebrates with a “Free Pizza Day,” giving away 1,000 free pizzas to the community and offering media another opportunity to cover the restaurant.
4. Be persistent with media: Regardless of the media market’s size, there will always be stories and events competing with yours. So it is important to continue to keep your media contacts updated on all of your various media events. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and personally invite them out.
5. Follow Up: Your job is not done once the grand opening is over. After the big day, follow up with media to remind them that you are open for business! This could mean scheduling follow-up TV interviews like RunSwitch did for the Blaze opening in Louisville, partnering on a radio-thon like we did in Knoxville or coordinating with bloggers for post-opening coverage like we did in Gainesville.
In total, RunSwitch helped secure over 60 stories for the Millennial Restaurant Group in major daily newspapers, business journals, food and lifestyle blogs, radio stations and television stations in the various new markets. Our team couldn’t be more excited to get “Fir’ed Up” for our remaining openings in 2015!