When it comes to journalism, be it trade or consumer news, there are stories that inevitably get repeated on an annual basis. We often call these subjects “evergreens” as, like the tree, they keep coming back to life at seasonal intervals year after year. In consumer news this term can be taken quite literally, such as a story about Christmas tree safety precautions, along with less literal evergreens such as the start of Spring Training, summer BBQ tips, reminders about Daylight Saving Time, etc. In the trades these are often stories about conventions, a company’s latest earnings report, the year’s hottest colors/fashions and so forth.
Why do we have so many different annual stories that keep getting revisited? It is because while the topic may be the same, much of the contents within may have changed. For example, each year colors shift and fashions evolve, and the smart retailer pays attention to these so he or she can match the store vignettes to these trends.
We also have to be mindful that in every issue we may have new readers—some even new to the industry—and they are looking to us to provide best practices and helpful advice. This could be as simple as reading a short article about dressing professionally and speaking courteously to customers, or something a little more complicated, such as a refresher of beginner and intermediate sales techniques to master.
Even industry vets need to be reminded once in a while, as newer information can sometimes push proven techniques to the back of the brain. Another common experience for industry pros is finding oneself in a new situation which now demands acquiring new knowledge to successfully navigate it.
Other times we provide updates to readers on a regular basis because of the subjects’ overall importance to individuals, small businesses or the industry in general. Most times these types of stories are about laws and regulations that impact a broad spectrum of the industry.
Whether you are a newcomer to this industry or a seasoned veteran, it helps to be reminded of these rules and regulations—especially as they continually seem to change just as you’ve finally figured them out. On a more sobering note, if you’re not found in compliance with some of these rules, you could be forced to shut down your company or declare bankruptcy. This would not only send your life into confusion—it could also result in bad press from the consumer side of the media, which is not nearly as well-versed in industry issues.
Just look at Lumber Liquidators and the troubles it continues to have since “60 Minutes” reported some of its Chinese-made laminate floors contained levels of formaldehyde higher than allowed under a California indoor air quality law. It basically puts the lie to the old marketing saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”
What it all comes down is we in the trade are here to help you and your business. Email me at any time with your suggestions at SpielerM@bnpmedia.com.