Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Press release still #1 source of info for journalist, according to study

Do you ever wonder why some restaurants always seem to be in the news? Nine times out of 10, they have a public relations professional on staff or have a contract with a public relations firm that issues press releases in conjunction with a social media strategy.

Grand Opening? Hot new Chef? Evolving your menu with seasonal or unusual ingredients? Supporting a local charity? This news and others may warrant issuing a press release to maximize your exposure. A press release is a written statement that contains the commonly referred to 5 W’s and How, or the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

Business Wire recently released its 2014 Media Survey and found that 62 percent of respondents used a press release in the past 24 hours. Eighty-eight percent said press releases were the most desired content in an online newsroom. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they are most interested in breaking news, followed by 70 percent wanting supporting facts, 66 percent looking for story angles and 52 percent seeking quotable sources.

The following is a sample release to guide you in creating your own.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     CONTACT: NAME
DATE                                                                                                NUMBER, EMAIL

(Headline: Bold, All Caps)

City, State—Nolan Erickson (WHO) is pleased to announce his purchase of the famed Marty’s Restaurant (WHAT), 1393 Main Street (WHERE), Monday, August 25, 2014 (WHEN) from Marty Direson. Erickson plans to retain its current employees and included in the purchase price was Direson’s award-winning paneed veal dish recipe and other signature recipes.

TIP: Include a quote
“Owning my own establishment has been a long time goal of mine,” said Erickson. “After saving for several years, completing my business plan and doing my research, I learned of Marty Direson’s wish to sell his business and retire (WHY). The location, staff and customer base were exactly what I was looking for and the timing was perfect.” (HOW)

Marty’s opened in 1975 and has become a local institution and draws visitors to experience its authentic Creole Italian cuisine. Erickson has hired Lucy Banta as its executive chef, formerly of Aldo’s Italian Cuisine. Banta will continue to prepare Marty’s recipes, while creatively incorporating more seafood and local produce in the menu and specials.

“I have full faith that Nolan and Lucy will continue to build upon my years of hard work,” said Direson. “They are experienced in the business and most importantly, have a passion for great cuisine and also customer service.”

Marty’s will continue to serve lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. 

(Either of these marks below signals the end of the release and is centered)
-30- or ###

Distributing your press release
Once you have written your press release, have someone else proofread it for you to ensure it is free of grammatical errors and misspellings. When your release is finalized, now it is time to distribute it to business and restaurant reporters in your city, town or region. Identify which reporters cover your type of news and visit the contact page of the media outlet’s website for their email address. Many times, the byline of an article contains the journalist’s name and a link to their email address.

If you are sending the press release to a group, we recommend putting the recipients email addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) area and sending the email to you, from you. Also, post your press release, and any coverage you gain as a result of the release, on the news page of your company's website. 

The first modern press release is attributed to Ivy Lee, whose agency represented Pennsylvania Railroad when the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck occurred. To maintain the facts associated with the story, Lee and the company issued a release before other versions of the news spread and then invited the media to the scene as a means of fostering open communication with the media. The New York Times was so impressed and printed the entire statement verbatim.

In the same spirit as Ivy Lee, it is important that good news about your business come from you. It’s a great way to keep the public engaged and keep your restaurant top-of-mind when it comes to dining decisions. Don’t let others tell your story without your input!

If you have any questions, please contact the LRA Communications Department at (504) 454-2277. 

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