Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seven ways to connect with media

We are all crunched for time and resources, especially news organizations with shrinking newsrooms. Check out these tips to make it easier for reporters to learn about your business and potentially cover a news announcement.

Build a press kit. Create an electronic press kit with basic facts about your restaurant. Include a fact sheet: who you are, how long you've been open, your number of employees, your biography and your contact information with directions to your restaurant. If you utilize social media, include those accounts.

Compile a press list. Create a list of local reporters and editors, particularly those who cover business and/or restaurants, from area newspapers, radio stations, television stations and food or business bloggers. When deciding which media to target, don't neglect small weekly papers that might be hungrier for stories than larger outlets or television stations. Update your press mailing list periodically.

Pitch to reporters. When pitching a news story, be friendly and to the point. Focus on why your story idea would be of interest to their readers/viewers/listeners (and don't mention that your business advertises with their news organization).

Write a press release. A press release can be a good way to gain media attention for a new initiative. Keep the release short and to the point, with the most important information at the beginning so editors can quickly access the critical points. Top the release with a headline that summarizes the story. Include applicable photos. Be objective and give the “who, what, when, where, why and how." Read the LRA's guide to writing a press release here

Follow up. Follow up press releases with a phone call or email to journalists to see if they have further questions. Share the announcement with your social media network.

Spread the news. If you were successful in securing media coverage, share the news article or video with your customers over email, Facebook and Twitter. Order a reprint of a newspaper article to place in your restaurant.

Write letters to the editor. Write a letter to the editor regarding an issue that impacts your business or industry. You could write about an economic, legislative or social trend or issue.

The National Restaurant Association's Manage My Restaurant has articles in categories such as Marketing and Sales, Workforce Engagement, Food and Nutrition and Operations. Visit Manage My Restaurant here for this and other helpful tips.

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