Tips provided by Amy Goldsmith
Understanding public relations and how to work with the media can help increase sales, define your company’s story, and shape your public image. It’s also a priceless professional skill and it’s fun! After all, in addition to your various roles around your store you are also you company’s health and wellness spokesperson. As a spokesperson, you can educate, empower and drive traffic to your stores as your academic background, expertise, and credentials give you instant street credibility.
Here are five tips to get started promoting yourself and your in-store activities from Amy Goldsmith, a public relations consultant who works with RDBA:
1. Determine if you have a PR firm, or team who deals with PR and discuss your plans.
2. Determine your target audience. Is it the community and potential customers, or corporate wellness at local companies?
3. Create a contact list based on your target audience.
4. Meet the media that matters to you. Reach out to local health, food, and nutrition reporters at newspapers, news stations, radio and bloggers. Try to meet them in person for a quick meet and greet. This way when something of substance is going on, you can pick up the phone or shoot an email, and they are more likely to respond.
5. Don’t make it just about you wanting their promotional help. Offer your expertise to help them better understand any food and nutrition issues taking place in the news.
What is the media interested in? RDs can talk about new corporate and store-level health and wellness initiatives, new food products and merchandising such as a new free from aisles, trends, food holidays and issues related to health and nutrition, such as local recalls and nutrition labeling.
Get trained on how to speak with media. “There are media trainers that can help you understand media, practice corporate messaging, and just help you get comfortable answering questions,” says Goldsmith. “Anyone who is a spokesperson and speaking to a journalist should be repeatedly trained. Not just once, it should be ongoing.” Work closely with your internal public relations and marketing teams. Messaging should be consistent and it's the PR team's job to manage the messaging.
In addition, Goldsmith adds, “that over the years, it has become more commonplace for retail RDs to contribute food and health columns to local and national media outlets. Open many of the major women’s publications, and the health, food trends and wellness articles have a byline with RD after the person’s name. If you’re working with a public relations firm, let them know that you’re available to write articles that they can submit on your behalf,” says Goldsmith. “If you’re handling your own public relations, reach out to your local media, introduce yourself and let them know you’re available to help.” Goldsmith also suggests learning more about the editorial guidelines at your local newspaper. She says to submit timely and interesting articles that adhere to these guidelines.
Many RDs have their own blogs about health and wellness. Make sure your company knows that you have one and they might be able to link to your blog or incorporate it into their website. “Content is king and if you can provide it, the marketing and public relations department will be so grateful,” says Goldsmith. She suggests meeting with your social media team to see what type of material you can provide. “It’s a win-win….you’re providing content and if negotiated properly, they will credit you by name for the information increasing your professional brand.”