Waterstone’s boosts focus on local media

Bookstore Waterstone’s is increasing its focus on local angles in its consumer media relations activity.

The company is on the hunt for a PR agency in Scotland, and a pitch between Scottish agencies Citigate Smarts and 3x1 follows the appointment of a regional press officer as Waterstone’s seeks to tailor campaigns for local media throughout the UK. The work was previously handled in-house.

Waterstone’s PR manager Jo Marino created two in-house media relations positions in July, recruiting Trimedia account executive Lucy Avery as national press officer and promoting events co-ordinator Mel Harris to regional press officer.

‘We already have so much information about trends in reading and buying; what we really need is someone with local knowledge about what will interest the media in each area,’ said Marino.

She pointed to a variety of local news hooks at Waterstone’s disposal, including authors’ birthplaces or homes, the location of publishers and the settings of famous novels.

PR activity in the coming months is set to include the promotion of three books by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith and Booker Prize winner Yann Martel’s latest novel for Edinburgh-based Canongate Books.

Following the appointment of Camron PR in March to handle PR south of the border, an agency for Scotland will be appointed by September, with a contract running through to April. If successful, appointments for markets such as Ireland could follow.

The retailer, which is part of the HMV Group, has almost 200 stores in the UK and Europe, including 13 in Scotland. Marino said each store enjoys a relatively high degree of autonomy, creating opportunities for store-specific PR initiatives.

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