With one week to go before Petal It Forward on Oct. 24, it’s time to finalize your publicity push. Pitch local media now about the feel-good story they don’t want to miss.
Valerie Lee Ow of J. Miller Flowers and Gifts in Oakland, California, sent her local newspaper, the Piedmont Post, a press release and five photos from her shop’s Petal It Forward event last year with an invitation to the behind-the-scenes bouquet-designing on Oct. 23 and her Petal It Forward event on Oct. 24.
“I kept both times on Oct. 23 and 24 consistent, Noon to 2 p.m.,” said Ow, who’s participating in Petal It Forward for the third time. “And I will provide lunch and refreshments both days. I expect about 15-20 friends to help out this year.”
Ow said the publication’s editor plans to cover both events.
“Valerie is a great example of taking the necessary steps to get the most success out of Petal It Forward,” said Jennifer Sparks, SAF marketing vice president. “Follow her example and invite reporters to your event. If you already invited them, remind them now.”
SAF provides members with a sample Petal It Forward Media Advisory to send journalists as an invitation. “Email the media advisory now and make follow-up calls to confirm it’s been received,” Sparks recommended.
SAF provides two sample Petal It Forward Press Releases. “Make copies of the press release on your letterhead and hand it out to reporters who come to your Petal It Forward event,” Sparks said. “And email it after your event to reporters who missed it.”
Both press releases tout the emotional health benefits of flowers. The Option 1 press release focuses on the university research that scientifically demonstrates that flowers help to relieve stress, and how your participation in Petal It Forward illustrates these findings by boosting peoples’ moods and providing a moment of calm. Option 2 focuses on the happiness factor of flowers and how Petal It Forward can turn an ordinary day extraordinary.
“And whether or not reporters show up to your Petal It Forward event, you and your team should be covering it on social media,” Sparks said. “All Petal It Forward social media content should include #petalitforward, because it helps to spread the positive flower message and helps us measure the success of the Petal It Forward from a publicity standpoint.”
Designate a member of your street team of Happiness Ambassadors to hold the smartphone or camera and capture those candid photos and videos and post them to social media, Sparks said. “While posed pictures are nice, what really captures true emotions and gets peoples’ attention,” Sparks said, “are candid shots of people giving and receiving flowers, and the emotions that follow — the smiles, hugs and tears — the real flower power.”
Sparks urges members to follow, like and share #petalitforward posts, as well as SAF’s consumer efforts on Instagram @About_Flowers, Twitter @FlowerFactor, and Facebook @AboutFlowers.
SAF provides members with Petal It Forward advice and materials including Talking Points for Media Interviews, Flower Event Messages for you and your Happiness Ambassadors, Suggested Social Media Messages, and more at safnow.org/petalitforward.
Tell us about your Petal It Forward experience! Please send us your best 3-5 photos (candid, rather than posed, is best) from the day and any stories or special notes about your experience to PIF@safnow.org.
If you get great video from your Petal It Forward event, consider entering the American Floral Endowment’s 2nd Annual Flower Love Video Contest.
Christy O’Farrell is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.