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  • Stories That Sell

    Great publicity starts with a great story idea, says Betty Keepin, president of KeepinTouch Communications, a public-relations agency in New York City. Often that means doing something that's a worthwhile activity on its own, but that has added value as a news hook for a media story featuring your shop. Here are a few ideas:

    Create a list of tips to help consumers become better flower shoppers or put flowers to use more creatively.

    Stage a contest of skill. For example, invite kids to enter a Mother's Day art contest, offering a floral arrangement for Mom as a prize. Take a photo of the winner and include it with your press release.

    Get involved with local schools. Sponsor a botany club on campus or a floral science fair. Help develop a curriculum for an interior-design class, or offer a partial scholarship to a design school.

    Conduct an opinion poll. Survey customers to determine the popularity of various flowers, arrangements, style trends or purchase habits. Then, inform the media of the poll results.

    Rearrange your store layout in a novel way. For example, put your designers and arrangers at stations in the front of the store or next to a window that opens a view to passersby.

    Introduce a new service or program. For example, offer a flower registry in which harried people craving convenience can fill out a quick form instructing you to automatically send specific arrangements to designated recipients at pre-selected times of year.

    Identify employees with unusual backgrounds or outside interests, and invite the media to prepare a feature story about each one.

    Organize a fund-raising drive to benefit a good cause. This can be especially effective if timed to a holiday or commemorative event.

    Compile a history of your shop (or the building in which it is located or the site upon which it stands). Show how your shop's history ties in with milestones in the history of your community.




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