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Three Ways to Make Your Grand Opening a News Event

Disney grand opening, 1955

During a recent expedition to Disneyland, it came to my attention that the grand opening of the park in 1955 was televised live. What?!? Yes, with Art Linkletter as a host, ABC and more than 1,000 journalists covered the story of the theme park’s opening. What an incredible feat of pure PR.

Was Disneyland news? I suppose if there were not many theme parks, it might be news. So when is a grand opening newsworthy? Why is another Apple store, the latest in New York’s Grand Central Station worth covering?

It reminds me of a most upsetting event when I was a newspaper reporter and a grizzled veteran colleague – a guy who drank only scotch – was called upon to cover the opening of a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on his beat. He threw a tantrum of swearing and slamming things and decrying the doughnut people like the newsroom had never seen. To him, covering an opening was at best fluff and at worst working for the dark side.

The same principles of gathering any media interest in your clients apply to grand openings.

Make sure they are timely. In 1955, theme parks were a new concept.

Grand opening news releases should also be targeted. For example, point out that Krispy Kreme opening in a depressed area could bring jobs and tax revenue.

And human interest always prevails. The background and story of the new business owner can get coverage from even the crankiest of reporters.

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