Professional Jeweler Archive: How to Woo and Wow the Press

July 2003


How to Woo & Wow the Press

Jewelers offer real-life examples of how they caught the attention of the media

Media publicity can sell your products and services without the expense of advertising. It gets your message across in a seemingly objective manner and can crown you an expert, greatly boost the perceived value of whatever you offer and keep your name in the public eye. But free publicity doesn’t usually come knocking. You’ve got to be creative, make the right connections and use showmanship to get noticed by a busy editor.

1. Be Creative – Remember, you’re vying for the attention of editors who are bombarded with press pitches – yours has to stand out like a recent promotion by Kings Jewelry, a 49-unit jeweler in New Castle, PA. The store received front-page coverage in the local newspaper for resurrecting the King of Rock ’n’ Roll when an Elvis impersonator performed at its Ashtabula Mall store to launch a special sale and giveaway of Elvis watches. “You can’t buy that kind of coverage,” says President Dale Perelman. It was a great story because the tribute artist was a King’s employee who moonlights as Elvis, as well as a cool photo opportunity.

Meanwhile, the four-unit Congress Jewelers in Sanibel Island, FL, designed a media campaign around its expensive Super Bowl TV ad in January. “The premise was to create a desire to watch the Super Bowl ad, which gave details about our four-day event, the ‘Uncommon Diamond Experience,’” says President Scot Congress. “It really worked. We got coverage from everywhere, and sales were great!”

2. Make Connections – Many jewelers have found PR success by connecting with a cause. Eve Alfillé of Eve Alfillé Designs in Evanston, IL, partners with a charity for her annual spring collection launch party. It’s usually a charity that some customers belong to, and she donates 10% of her sales from the event plus an item for a raffle. “We send releases and photos to our local media and work with the charity’s PR people,” she says. “This way, we amplify our chances to get mentioned. Success depends on how well you choose your charity. We’ve had to coach many of them on writing press releases. But the more energetic ones like Pediatric Aids-Chicago last year were well-organized and got us TV coverage.”

Becky Thatcher of the three-unit Becky Thatcher Designs in Glen Arbor, MI, took up a cause in February 1996 that landed her nationwide coverage. Instead of sending her clients Valentine’s cards as usual, she started a writing campaign to the troops in Bosnia that got the entire community involved. In the end, 20,000 Valentines went out, which got lots of local play and was picked up by the Associated Press. Moreover, she received hundreds of thank-you letters from service members, as well as a commendation from the U.S. Army (left).

3. Use Salesmanship – Good public relations is all about schmoozing. In the past few years the three-unit Schwarzschild Jewelers in Richmond, VA, increased networking efforts that have media appeal, says Susan Morgan, marketing director. For example, when Apollo astronaut Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford was in town to promote a new Omega watch, Schwarzschild arranged for him to speak to elementary-school students, which made the news. The jeweler has had several successful tabletop shows too, one in conjunction with 14 other retailers for a bridal fair that received coverage in regional bridal magazines and another with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Friends of the Arts, where the organization (with members in its key demographics, the 25-45 age group) judged table-scapes prepared by eight designers. The event was covered in the local style sections. According to Morgan, there are three goals in PR: to educate the consumer, tell something new and show what makes you special.

Becky Thatcher received this commendation from the U.S. Army for getting the community around her Glen Arbor, MI, jewelry store involved in a letter-writing campaign for the troops in Bosnia.

PR 101

A press release is a basic yet powerful tool in catching the news media’s attention. It can be part of a media kit that includes images and other literature about your company. To write an effective release, usually ranging from one to two pages, consider:

1. Establishing a news angle, something new or distinctive about your business, an upcoming event, award announcements or trends.

2. Creating a headline that identifies the angle to the media audience.

3. Supporting the headline in your lead paragraph, answering: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

4. Including a lively quote in the second paragraph expanding on the basic facts.

5. Offering details to support your lead paragraphs and outlining your company history. End with your contact information.

6. Getting it out! If you don’t have a press list, get the addresses of publications you’d like to be in or visit their Web sites for contact details.

– by Deborah A. Yonick

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications