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January 2000

Managing: The News Media

Getting to Know You

Introduce yourself to local reporters and tell them about your expertise as a jeweler. Then when the next jewelry scandal hits, they'll probably call you first

So often when a jewelry "scandal" surfaces in the news, jewelers find themselves talking by phone to a local reporter they've never met. It doesn't have to be that way.

In the best of times, getting to know news reporters is good business. Local newspapers always look for good stories, and the jewelry world is full of fascinating tales.

In the worst of times, being acquainted with the reporter who calls can mean the difference between trust and suspicion. Here's how to go about it.

Identify the Key Media

Keep up with your local news media, and know where you'd like to see your company name. Are you a fashion-oriented business? Or is a mention about your store more likely to end up in the business pages? The features section?

Make note of the names of reporters you see in print and hear on radio and TV news programs. Then figure out which ones you should get to know (business reporter, fashion reporter or lifestyle reporter, for example) and, more importantly, who needs to get to know you and your company.

Introduce Yourself

Don't wait for them to call you – make sure your card is in each reporter's Rolodex so when there's a question, he or she will call you for an answer. The best way to begin this relationship is to send your local Savvy Reporter an informational packet about your store, also known as a press kit. Include the following:

  • A personalized letter to introduce yourself.
  • A history of your store and any specialty products or categories you carry.
  • Your professional history and biography, highlighting any degrees, experience or additional education you have, along with your local and national professional affiliations (make sure your Jewelers of America membership tops that list).
  • Sales brochures or copies of recent articles about your store.

This packet is your chance to "sell" the reporter on your store and your standing as a jewelry expert. This is the place to show off your store through facts and documented information. It's not the place to brag or make unsubstantiated claims.

Follow Up

Send your press kit and then call a week or so later and invite Savvy Reporter to contact you when any questions arise and to visit you at the store. Many reporters may not have the time to respond immediately, but after you've made an impression, they're more likely to think of you first when a question comes to mind.

Add the reporters you've contacted to your mailing list and send them an industry update every few months. This update can be brief, but include story ideas, industry information and trends in fine jewelry (read trade magazines and go to their Web sites for information and ideas. Also look for Jewelers of America Market Updates, sent to all JA members as important news occurs).

Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and open your door for further press opportunitie

By Caroline Stanley, Director of Marketing and Communications, Jewelers of America

Caroline Stanley is a third-generation jeweler working as the director of marketing and communications for Jewelers of America, the largest U.S. trade organization for retail jewelers. Call (800) 223-0673 for membership information. Caroline is a past president of the Arkansas Jewelers Association, formerly worked with the Platinum Guild International USA Jewelry and won an award of excellence from the Women's Jewelry Association.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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