|The Inside Scoop|
Gotten Any Positive Publicity Lately? Why the Heck Not?
Part of our mission at Inside Self-Storage is to keep readers abreast of the industry’s latest news. The scoop isn’t always earth-shattering, mind you, but we aim to keep you posted on what’s happening in the business, whether it’s a facility sale, a grand opening, a new hire, changing legislation, an event or an instance of crime. We comb the Web several times daily for information pertinent to self-storage operators, suppliers, builders and investors. Then we investigate, fill in gaps, package it up all nice, and deliver it to you via our website and e-newsletters.
What we see a lot of in the mass-media outlets―particularly as the winter holidays approach―are stories about storage operators doing good work within their communities, for example, holding food or coat drives or participating with Toys For Tots. It’s wonderful to see self-storage being covered in a positive way. As an industry, we get far too much negative press.
So, when’s the last time YOUR storage facility was in the news for something beneficial? … When was that again? … Huh?! That’s a long time to go without media love. Press coverage is some of the best (and cheapest) publicity around. It’s time you got yourself some!
First, you need something to promote. But if you’ve shied away from community work, don’t be bashful. It’s much easier than it looks and has many fringe benefits. There’s the philanthropic value of the charitable activity itself, but the cherry on the cake is the goodwill it creates around your business.
For example, Halloween approacheth at the end of this week. Operators on the Self-Storage Talk online forum are discussing their holiday marketing strategies and ways to draw in customers this time of year. (See “Trick or Treat at the Facility?”) Member TheHive says her facility will participate in a Halloween party to raise cancer awareness, where they’ll hand out treat bags with facility coupons. The facility is also sponsoring a costume contest as part of Fear Fest, an after party for the local zombie crawl that raises money for juvenile diabetes.
Not only are she and her co-workers supporting important causes, they’re getting out into the community, being seen by potential customers … and having fun! The trick is getting the media to pick up it, which is simpler than ever in the wake of e-mail. Most newspapers include a publicity or local-events address right on their contacts page. Positive PR can be as quick as a click in the digital age. Here in Phoenix, the Arizona Republic includes contact info for “News tips and story ideas” on its contacts page. The paper encourages locals to share happenings via e-mail or call its newsroom.
If you self-storage managers and operators out there are failing to participate in community and charitable events, you’re missing the boat on excellent marketing, networking and PR opportunities. There’s no reason not to collect non-perishable items for a local food pantry or donate free storage space to a humanitarian group. Just Google self-storage on almost any given day, and you’ll get ideas for things you can do in your own area.
Then get on the horn or online and contact your local newpapers and radio stations. They’re always looking for happy tidbits to offset the abundance of doom and gloom announced daily. All it takes is a little pro-activity on your part, and the payback can be huge.
Participating in a cool holiday initiative this week? Share it here on the blog. Let us in on your spooktacular PR strategies!