March 15, 2010
Denis Flanagan CLD
Director of public relations and membership services

Denis FlanaganWhen this headline appeared in The New York Times earlier this year, it certainly caught people’s attention, both gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The heading had appeal, combining a famous name, along with a sense of curiosity. It enticed readers to discover more about the story.

A clever title is what this industry needs in order to get our message out to a wider audience. As an example, last year, with the help of a PR company, we released a press release that read, ‘Green spaces can reduce road rage.’ It resulted in over 100 media inquiries for articles, interviews and follow-up stories on the subject of how green spaces and landscaping can have a calming effect and reduce levels of stress.

In 2010, we will continue to create appealing titles and hopefully entice people to want to discover more about the benefits of horticulture.

I suggest that you too can use the same tactic to not only promote our industry at a local level, but at the same time gain well-deserved recognition for the work of your company.

If you are an Award of Excellence winner in 2010, by now you have received a press release template from our communications department, encouraging you to contact the local media with your unique story.

First of all, a big congratulations to all our members who were successful in winning an award this year. When Landscape Ontario initiated the awards program over 30 years ago, the goal was to raise the bar in the industry. That goal has certainly been achieved and those companies that win awards each and every year are living proof.

From my experience with the media and Horticulture Review’s editor Allan Dennis’ background in the newspaper world, we know that local media are hungry for success stories involving local companies. A generic press release for award winners can be found on and can easily be customized with your company’s name and information. Send it to your community newspaper, regional magazine, local TV and radio. You should follow-up a week later with a telephone call. This may result in some great exposure for you and another way to promote our Green for Life Landscape Ontario message.

Winning an award is just one example of a good news stories that you should use in your marketing campaigns.

If you contributed to Canada Blooms in any way, be sincere, but at the same time create some buzz: “Local company helps build water feature at one of North America’s largest festivals.” Or how about, “Family volunteers time to create a cancer awareness garden, featured on national TV.”

Many times a local journalist will help you develop the story and suggest a title. They are anxious for their publications to cover lead stories, and be successful and win awards within their own publishing industry.

First get the reader’s attention. Let the article tell the story and then make sure your staff understands how to handle the inquiries that follow.

Your many efforts deserve to be recognized, and at the same time help your business prosper. Let’s stop hiding those lights under a bushel. 
Denis Flanagan may be contacted at