“Flowers can brighten the day for anyone, but it’s even more special when they come for no reason at all,” said WFSB news co-anchor Dennis House as he introduced a nearly two-minute segment on the Petal It Forward event in Rocky Hill, Connecticut by The Root System.
“I think it’s important that people enjoy or feel the happiness when they receive flowers especially when it’s just because,” said Sandy Taylor of Plaza Florist and Gifts in Urbandale, Iowa on a WHOTV news broadcast about her Petal It Forward event. “Unexpected, no reason and it makes them smile. So we want everyone to be able to share that with other people.”
Those are just two examples of local news coverage generated by florists who held Petal It Forward events last year.
“With a bit of effort, preparation and luck, your business could garner similar coverage for your Petal It Forward event this year on October 24,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of marketing. “Now is the time to start thinking about your publicity push and build a press list.”
SAF provides members with Petal It Forward advice for Contacting the Media, including how to create a press list, a suggested media outreach timeline, a customizable Media Advisory and Press Release, talking points, and more.
The first step is to research reporters in your area, identify which ones to send a press release to, and obtain their contact information. “If you have not previously compiled this information, storing it in a spreadsheet is a helpful way to organize it, update as needed, and maintain for future use,” Sparks said.
“If even one reporter responds, it could be worth its weight in gold,” Watters said. “You’re getting something paid advertising doesn’t give you, an endorsement from a well-known, well liked, on-air personality — an influencer if you will.”
House of Blooms in Sugar Land, Texas, gave bouquets last year to a direct mail publication they advertise with regularly, Fort Bend Focus Magazine, based in nearby Stafford, Texas, and got thanked on social media.
Tiffany Houck, House of Blooms’ special event coordinator, said it will be easier to promote this year’s Petal It Forward event to the media because she shared photos with them from 2017, when the shop’s happiness ambassadors gave away about 600 colorful, mixed bouquets. She will send a press release later but wanted to “plant the bug” now with photos.
This year, House of Blooms might do Facebook Live, which would be a first for them, Houck said. They plan to hand out two- to three-times more bouquets on Oct. 24, again from in front of their shop, which is in the same plaza as city hall, a hotel and several office buildings. “People were ecstatic about receiving the bouquets and eager to pass it on,” she said. “A lot of [recipients] have now turned into new clients.”
While it’s important to seek media coverage, it’s possible reporters might call you because they heard about Petal It Forward through SAF’s nationwide efforts. That’s what Julie Zadjura of The Root System credits for her shop’s coverage on WFSB.
SAF is compiling a list of participating florists holding events on October 24 to share with the media starting in early October. Sparks encourages members to fill out the participation form at safnow.org/pifform as soon as they know they’re holding an October 24 Petal It Forward event.