Jan 18, 2023 - Partners

How PR shapes Charlotte’s business landscape


Produced in partnership with Social Ape Marketing. 

Social Ape Marketing has been a go-to marketing and public relations firm for Charlotte’s lifestyle businesses for 10+ years.

What this means: Social Ape helps get the word out about restaurants, bars, nonprofits, event organizers and more around the city.

To learn more about the PR landscape in Charlotte, we talked to April Smith, founder and CEO of Social Ape Marketing.

April Smith. Photo via Social Ape/Julia Fay Photography.

Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Why is PR important for new businesses?

Here’s the deal: Whether a business will succeed or fail is dependent upon its performance in the first six months.

  • In other words: If that business has not seen success right out of the gate, there is a good chance they won’t make it, especially in Charlotte.

The solution: A big PR push focused on a grand opening can increase awareness, which results in word-of-mouth buzz. This, in turn, creates long-term awareness with more customers.

What about existing businesses?

PR can be beneficial for existing businesses by attracting new customers.

The strategy: A solid PR campaign is helpful when introducing new promotions, products or menus.

  • It’s also important when announcing new locations or large campaigns.

What makes a PR campaign “successful”?

A successful PR campaign starts with a detailed strategy and ends with thorough execution.

The deets: We work very closely with our clients to ensure we’re telling their brand’s story in a unique way.

  • We like to be creative in pitching media to journalists so we can grab the attention of the public and attract potential customers.

What is included in Social Ape’s PR packages?

How it’s done: For every PR client, we:

  1. Devise a personalized strategy.
  2. Conduct research.
  3. Create PR materials (including press releases).
  4. Pitch to journalists directly.
  5. Track any coverage acquired through our efforts.

What sets Social Ape apart?

Over the years, we’ve worked very hard to create lasting relationships with Charlotte media, which helps us secure coverage.

An example: When local TV news programs need to fill a segment at the last minute, they’ll sometimes reach out to us, knowing that we can fill that slot with one of our clients.

Even better: We also know the stories that journalists are looking for at the right time, so we’re able to craft pitches that will land.

How has PR changed over time?

PR is now more digital than ever. Long gone are the days when you’d only see news articles in print publications.

In other words: Most publications focus on digital content. This is great for our clients because we can quickly secure a higher volume of coverage and provide analytics on it.

What makes Charlotte’s PR landscape unique?

Charlotteans love food and fun things to do, so the media here tends to cover restaurants and events heavily.

  • The impact: Those businesses hire PR firms more often than other industries to remain relevant.

Charlotte also has a great variety of media outlets, which means our clients are able to reach multiple demographics at once.

  • An example: In one month, we could secure a digital article, newsletter mention, TV segment and podcast for just one client.

Learn more about how Social Ape Marketing uses innovative practices to tell brands’ stories.

Produced in partnership with Social Ape Marketing. 


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more