Free Ink: Take 2

Feb 24, 2011

Used to be that the ink hadn’t dried, so to speak, before I typed in a press release and another one popped up in the e-mailbox. OK…that still happens.

Dozens of PRs populate my editorial inbox daily, news items and product announcements primarily, from a variety of sources: news outlets, aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers or their agencies, automakers and occasionally a restyler.

Not all of the items make the editorial cut; many get cut. That’s the nature of publishing – we have to determine an item’s newsworthiness; that is, what could be of the most benefit to a business owner, shop manager or technician.

But among all the potential news items I either receive in the inbox or locate on my own, it’s the dearth of those from restylers themselves I note. The opportunities are available, but too few take them. We’re all busy, yes; yet getting some extra recognition that you the restyler likely deserve goes unnoticed unless such people as editors, writers and public relations professionals know about you and your business and its everyday success.

I touched on a similar topic early last year with an editorial, “Invisible Ink,” that seemed to resonate among suppliers and manufacturers.

Soon after that editorial ran, I began receiving more information from more suppliers; some even called or e-mailed to say they agreed with the commentary and planned to do a better job on their part to take advantage of those potential “free ink” (publicity) opportunities. And most followed through and continue to do so.

Now, it’s time to remind our restylers to follow up and follow through, as well, because it can only benefit you. Many articles parade photos of vehicles that could be yours. One way to get in on the action is to let your suppliers or, better, the manufacturers, know that you’re using their product(s) and tell them you have top-quality, high-resolution photos they can use when they’re quoted in articles.

An example: A shop in Denver that serves a host of high-end-vehicle clients came to Restyling’s attention when a PPF manufacturer informed us that the shop was installing its product on a one-of-a-kind vehicle. In a conversation with the shop’s owner I learned enough to consider the shop as the focus of a feature article about its operations and its people. Moreover, the shop has now been, and will again be, part of Restyling’s weekly “Video Minute” presentation that we send out to a rotating list of reader-subscribers. Plus, these videos will be available on Restyling’s website, so the exposure lasts for a long time.

Perhaps you redesigned your showroom, expanded your business or added more services. A quick e-mail or phone call to me might pique the editorial interest that gets you and your shop nationwide exposure, which certainly adds to your reputation and helps your own marketing efforts.

Maybe you’re a top shop when it comes to certain installations. You could be one of our “How-To” centerpiece stars. And who knows, a manufacturer might even supply what you need because you’re using its product in your example.

Then there’s Restyling’s “Inside the Business” article that appears in just about every issue. All a shop owner needs to do is provide several high-quality high-resolution photos, some information about the company and the vehicle, and the products used to restyle the vehicle and, Voila!, instant recognition from coast to coast.

These are just a handful of ways you can find yourself within the pages and website of Restyling. Free ink? Or invisible ink? Let me know.