PR Alchemy: Promoting a Project When Basic Details Are Unavailable

Hollie Geitner, VP, WordWrite Communications

Erin O’Connor, Account Supervisor, WordWrite Communications

During more than a decade as a professional BMX rider, Kris Bennett learned exactly what it meant to take risks. Day after day, competition after competition, he put his skills and body on the line, competing on the circuit and in televised events including ESPN’s X Games.

In recent years, Kris applied what he’d learned about competition, risk and acquired skill to a new field: residential rehab and construction. Starting with a friend, Kris began rehabbing and flipping houses across greater Pittsburgh.

As he gained experience, he and his wife, Tara, went out on their own to create K Bennett Development Group, a renovation company geared toward young professional homebuyers. Kris quickly became a shrewd handicapper of real estate risk and reward, seeing potential in Pittsburgh’s up-and-coming neighborhoods when others didn’t.

K Bennett’s popularity on social media attracted the interest of television producers Bodega Productions, which found the company while searching for the next variation on HGTV’s Flip or Flop or Fixer Upper on Instagram. Together, Kris, Tara and their close-knit team landed the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to film a national television pilot in their hometown.
Laying the Foundation
In reviewing the overall framework for launching the pilot (now known as Steel City Rehab) Kris learned the key to a successful first run on national TV is high viewership numbers. Once a pilot runs on HGTV, the network reviews the ratings along with a variety of factors to determine whether or not a show will be picked up for a full series. Understanding his objective, Kris engaged PR firm WordWrite to maximize the pilot’s exposure within local markets.

The firm developed a strategy that aimed to attract the widest potential pool of viewers from the Pittsburgh region.

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