Six fun summer PR tips for small businesses

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The media loves themed story ideas that can be tied to trending topics. The summer is one big basket of PR opportunities for the enterprising small business owner seeking more buzz for their products and services.

Here are just some free-form PR tips to help you grab the media spotlight during the summer in hopes of growing your customer base and revenue stream:

Summer ingredients: if you are a restaurant, bar, café or food biz then put a little summer sizzle into your products. Build out a summer-themed menu that you can promote to local cultural blogs to emphasize the fruits of the season. Watermelon mojitos, fried green tomato pizza, peach-vanilla ice cream with drizzled with peach vinegar – all can entice a magazine or TV news station to have you prepare a meal or share a recipe.

Collaboration: you can always do a combined event with another innovative small business in a way that complements both of your businesses. Are you a yoga studio? Reach out to a local kayak rental company on a lake to organize yoga sessions using stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) celebrating the peaceful, luxuriousness of summer.

Healthy benefits: summer brings a cornucopia of healthy benefits, from swimming and hiking to fresh veggies and lemonade stands. Local organic farms can promote healthy eating by letting kids learn how to be farmers. Fitness professionals can promote Men’s Health Month by sharing a list of easy exercises or diet tips to help men find ways to stay in shape and keep their cholesterol in check. National Rip Current Awareness Week is in early June, a perfect time for beach-related businesses to get on the morning TV news shows to remind vacationers to watch out for dangerous rip swimming conditions.

Contests: summer is also a perfect time for businesses to have contests – for young and old alike. A local craft brewery or brewery supply store could hold a summer beer competition pitting amateur brewers against one another with the winner getting to brew a limited batch at the brewery. What if a bike shop held a 4th of July bike decorating contest and parade benefiting a local veteran’s organization? Summer is prime time for birding, so a local bird watching store could encourage kids to learn about birds by holding a bird identification contest in a local nature preserve. What if local grocery store held a lemonade stand competition allowing underprivileged kids to learn how to make and sell lemonade to foster a sense of economic empowerment?

Safety: BBQ is popular during the summer so what if a BBQ supply store shared grilling safety tips to make sure families avoid common accidents involving kids and pets? How about an outdoors store talking to a TV morning anchor about the 10 most common outdoors accidents and how to keep them from happening? An organic sports drink maker might contribute an article on dehydration to make sure people know the symptoms of heat stroke and how to act quickly to avoid potentially fatal results.

National pastime: baseball is the sport of summer so anything promoting the love of the game might get interest from the media. Organize a ‘Baseball Ball’ (as in Cinderella and the glass slipper) to raise money for a good cause with guests dressed in baseball uniforms enjoying baseball food, beer and a silent auction filled with baseball memorabilia. During the MLB All Star Game, a local bakery can organize an all-star softball game involving other bakeries contributing baseball-themed baked goods and fielding softball teams.

Helpful Resources – try these websites for fun summer ideas to incorporate into your next PR campaign:
Monthly cause list
50 fun summer activities checklist
101 fun things to do with kids this summer
Wikipedia’s list of commemorative months
As you can see, the sky is the limit on what you can do to get some white-hot publicity this summer. The trick is getting creative, irreverent, and cheeky enough to push past the norm in hopes of making your event grab headlines.

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech startup PR firm for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave about the PR over Coffee blog, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

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