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If you want to get some great PR for your business, printable bookmarks distributed to local elementary schools can help you win the hearts of teachers, parents and the media. Word of mouth travels fast, and nothing's better than a third party (such as a newspaper or television news station) giving you free press for your societal contributions. The following details how you can turn printable bookmarks into perfect PR engines.
There are essentially two ways you can deploy printable bookmarks. You can either print bookmarks to be colored by students, or you can have each student custom-design his or her own bookmark that you will send off to be professionally printed. Either way, you'll need to develop a classroom-relevant theme so that teachers and school administrators will distribute your bookmarks for you. Your theme could be anything that is classroom-relevant. You might create coloring bookmarks that cover historical topics or encourage students to create their own historical bookmarks. Make a contest out of it in which the winners receive a prize such as a college scholarship contribution, tickets to a sporting event or even a free ice cream cone at a local parlor.
One idea is to make the bookmarks about reading, and ask kids to color in sections of each bookmark as they read a certain number of books or pages. Each student can then claim his or her prize once the milestone is reached. This is a good way to get parents and teachers involved, and to reward students for reading. Pizza Hut has mastered this approach with the company's Book-It program. When you make your presentation to the schools, make sure local media is present or have a photographer on-hand to take photos and videos that you can send to the media and distribute online (with permission, since students are involved). And each time a student or group of students completes their milestone, take a photo to send to the press. Local newspapers particularly love to be involved in the school system (it sells subscriptions), so you should do everything you can to get photos of kids reaping the benefits of your program.
Your altruistic actions will help you brand your company to likely buyers, but you can also increase your chances of attracting new customers by turning the back of your printable bookmarks into coupons for products and services. So kids can keep their bookmarks intact, simply include coupon codes parents can use. If you run a pizza shop, these could be for $3 off every order or a buy-one, get-one free deal during the campaign. When kids cash in for their prize, parents will probably order for themselves as well (this is the brilliance in Pizza Hut's strategy). It's a good idea to speak with teachers and school officials before you begin your printable bookmark campaign, since they can lend valuable insight into what expectations are relevant and realistic for milestones - along with what prizes would be reasonable for reaching them. Getting involved in your community is important for any business, and when you can do it in a way that benefits students and encourages reading, you'll likewise reap the rewards of free PR and word-of-mouth advertising.