me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of
style, like the outside and the inside of the human body. Both go
together; they can’t be separated.” — Jean-Luc Godard 7 STEPS TO EFFECTIVE PRESS RELEASES
A press release is a basic, yet powerful tool in catching the media’s
attention. No business is too small to reap its benefits. Media
publicity can sell your products and services without the expense of
advertising. It gets your message across in a seemingly objective
manner, can crown you as an expert, greatly boost the perceived value
of whatever you offer, and keep your name in the public eye.
A press release usually ranges from one to two pages and can be part of
a media kit that also includes images, company literature, and other
articles about your business. Remember, your press material is vying for
the attention of editors faced with hundreds of others. Anything you
can do to make it stand out will help, including colorful paper and
graphics, high-resolution images, and creative packaging (but not too
far out). Most important is your press release:
1. Establish News Angle, something new or distinctive about
your company, an upcoming event, market research findings, contest or
award announcements, trend tracking, a connection between your company
and current events, or a tie-in to a holiday. 2. Create Headline identifying the angle to the media audience:
New Approach School for Jewelers Launches Bench Jeweler Program Geared
to Turn Profits. 3. Support Headline in lead paragraph, by answering who, what,
where, when, why/how: The New Approach School for Jewelers (NASJ) in
Virginia Beach, Virginia is filling a void in the market for new bench
talent by launching a course this September that speaks to
what store owners and bench jewelers need to work together and make
money! 4. Obtain/Create Lively Quote that expands on the basic facts to
include in the second paragraph. “Our goal is to take
inexperienced talent and give them confidence to accept the challenge
commercial bench work presents and the essential skills to do it right
from the moment they walk into the shop,” says Blaine Lewis, NASJ
president. 5. Offer Details & Background to support your
lead paragraphs. In the case of NASJ, skills learned and how they are
taught are discussed, as are course frequency, instructors, and company
history, ending with contact details. 6. Create Targeted Press List identifying the media you want to
contact, whether trade or consumer press. Surf the web to obtain
current contact information and appropriate editor to direct your news
release. Call media outlets to confirm contact and how
he/she prefers to receive news. Many editors like e-mail best. 7. Send Out & Follow-up to ensure it reached its destination and
as an opportunity to schmooze its placement. Effective publicity
involves a match between a company’s goals and the needs of the media.
To determine the best match, decide what you want to achieve from
publicity in order to realize the best results.
TRENDS TRACKING TIPS Many
factors influence which styles and colors will be in vogue, from
social, political and economic trends to what our favorite
celebrities are wearing. But identifying trends and their timing
on the market is a combination of ongoing research and gut instinct.
When examining key influencers,
trends trackers look at the big picture, exploring patterns and
evolutions of events in many industries including art, architecture,
and design. Trackers analyze what has happened and is happening to
develop stylistic interpretations of what will happen. The process is
more intuitive than scientific, involving a scan of the environment, and the identification of touch points to follow
that feed into an understanding of what’s evolving in a targeted market.
Let’s say you’re trending against
fashion, the touch points would be super high-end runway shows, haute
couture, and fashion trade magazines like Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). Monitor shifts and determine triggers by piecing together
happenings. Trends are evolutionary and multiple
influences are at play. Whether economic times are tough or the stock market
is bullish, all things put in motion a future reality for people and
impact their behavior and attitude. When there’s uncertainty, people
withdraw. They invest in colors that are solid and styles that pass the
test of time. If everything’s rosy, people open
up. A pink sports car, no problem! The way they look at color and style
and how willing they are to commit to it changes.
Trendsetters, who lead the way in
perpetuating trends, are people who identify
trends early and add their voice. Undoubtedly, celebrities have taken a leadership
role in promoting trends. “As celebrities play paper doll muses for
designers, it allows us, the wonderful people in the dark, to evaluate
and determine what new colors or silhouettes might be something to
experiment with,” explains Michael Fink, senior fashion director Saks Fifth
For many industries, fashion is
identified as a leading influencer on trends because it turns so
quickly. People who design sofas and cars aren’t turning out new things
every six months. In fashion, you can make a one off, float the idea,
and see what sticks. It’s dynamic, unrestrictive and very creative. Trendsetting agencies determine
fashion trends as much as two years in advance. The various layers of
the fashion industry know 12 months in advance what colors they will
market. Collections are unveiled on the catwalks, launching the new
fashion season to retail buyers and the consumer press. In the final
six-month run-up to the new marketing season, the international
consumer press reports on those trends. But, the timing from the chic
runways to the shopping malls is shrinking.
To become a trends tracker in your market consider this:
1. Know your customer. It may mean different product offerings to match different customer segments at different times.
2. Determine what should be on your radar screen and incorporate this
research into your daily routine. Monitor your touch points.
3. If you see something you think is important, track it; create mile
markers —like when you see it in WWD you know it has caught on.
4. Consider coordinating colors to forecasted key colors, as there is movement inside the palette.
5. Don’t overstock on any one color or style, as fashion trends move quickly.