No matter which month we’re in right now, if you haven’t planned any PR for your fabulous food and drink business yet, here are 11 PR tips to help you hit the ground running!
OK, what’s step 1?
Start with a desk diary, wall planner OR, if you sign up for my exciting emails below, as a thank you gift I’ll send you a free PR planner that I’ve created especially for fabulous foodies like you. It’s already got loads of useful dates in there to get you started with your PR, so fill in your details below and let’s get rocking.
Cool, that was easy enough, what’s next?
Open it up, admire the sexy design, be wowed by the helpfulness of it all then print it out.
Seriously, don’t do it later, just click the print button right now ’cause you know you won’t get round to it for ages if you don’t do it now. I promise you that it’s soooooo useful, it would be an actual (made up) crime for it to sit in your dusty downloads folder for a moment longer!
Right naggy pants, I’ve printed it out…
Yay! Now put it up on the wall right next to where you sit so you can turn and see it at any time. This will be your wall of PR fortune this year 🙂 Now you’re ready for these extra PR tips!
Brilliant! Now give me more PR tips on for my PR planning, please!
OK, here are my top 11 PR tips (just because it’s my favourite number).
1. Plan ahead
Yes I know you’re busy BUT honestly, as PR tips go, this is one of the best. Investing half a day with your planner will reap dividends for the rest of the year, (or six months at least if you get distracted playing with highlighters).
2. Start with the obvious
I’ve already added in the most obvious days we know are coming around each year, but add in any extras of your own such as school holidays, weekends away and planned attendance at food shows/conferences. Knowing in advance you will be unavailable for a chunk of time will help you to prep in an organised way before you go.
3. Add awareness days
If you’re one of my gang in The Smoothie Bar and have my super-duper PR planning calendar then I’ve already done this for you, but if you’ve downloaded this free version, just Google ‘food awareness days’ and you’ll find hundreds of useful days, weeks and months you never knew existed!
Bear in mind that because there’s a day for pretty much everything, and many of these are American, they won’t all be popular or trend. However, it’s still good to be aware of what’s happening to see what you can potentially use to your advantage when it comes around.
4. Get political
You may wonder what politics has to do with the food industry but it can affect you in different ways. Examples could include events such as the sugar tax, the fallout of Brexit or MPs debating a change in VAT on particular food and drink items.
Any changes in the law where small businesses will benefit/lose out is also useful to know, as there will be lots of journalists looking for comments about whether this is a good/bad thing for owners.
5. Memorable anniversaries
Celebrating events such as the Queen’s ascension to the throne, remembering music icons such as Freddy Mercury’s death, or landmark years since World War 1 or 2 are all events that you should be aware of.
You wouldn’t use all of these occasions for your own PR, but awareness of them means you won’t launch something on a day when people are talking about something really huge or, accidentally come across as disrespectful with a social media post that has unfortunate connotations to something. Anyone remember the horsemeat scandal and this unfortunately pre-scheduled tweet from Tesco?!
6. Think about lead times
Ever heard of Christmas in July? It’s the time that all the big supermarkets and retailers showcase their festive food, drink and gifts for the coming Christmas. Magazines do this too – they plan their content 3-6 months ahead so if you have that perfect gift basket that would make an ideal Christmas present, you need to have high res imagery, full description and prices available to send, well in advance.
7. Pitch in advance
This is probably one of the most important PR tips in this list as timing is everything.
What would you prefer to hear from a journalist?
“This is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift, email me again in six weeks when we start putting that issue together.”
“This would have been a perfect Valentine’s Day gift but we wrapped that issue four weeks ago.”
Glossy mags work 3-6 months in advance, weekly and daily magazines and newspapers up to 6-8 weeks in advance. Mark these on your calendar so you don’t miss out on these key PR and selling opportunities.
8. Get square eyes
We all know that our favourite foodie shows like Masterchef, Great British Bake Off, Jamie Oliver etc. are repeated around the same time each year, so pencil these in roughly until you know exact dates. To help you get slightly ahead, sign up to the mailing list of the production company who makes each series to be the first to see their press releases listing exact dates and times.
Also, another of my PR tips is to mark in other big programmes such as X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice and Dr Who because even they’re not directly related to food and drink, the bits that become talking points throughout the series may give you a natural or cleverly thought out way to link in your brand or product in some way.
9. Books, films and music
Look out for up and coming new releases and think about ways you could integrate your brand once the buzz around them starts. For example, when the new Bridget Jones film arrived, you know she has a baby and that she’s well known for being a terrible cook, so could use the hashtag to promote your healthy snacks, range of baby foods or, suggest quick recipes for tired mums.
The release of the latest Star Wars film can spin-off to your ingredients that make a meal that tastes ‘out of this world’ or a snack bar that’s perfect for your little Jedi – think outside that box they keep telling us we’re in!
10. Daily news
You may be one of the millions that slate the Daily Mail (and who can blame you?) BUT it’s also one of the most accurate barometers of what topics people secretly or otherwise like to read about, as it’s the most popular online news site. A quick scan each day can reveal what’s new, what people are getting their knickers in a twist about and what’s popular.
11. Hang around on Twitter
The best PR tips can be the most obvious such as looking at #journorequest. You’ll find a stream of requests from journos, ready to write about small businesses and you can instantly respond if you’re a good fit. Checking out what’s trending is also a great way to catch breaking news stories every day. You can then use a trending hashtag with some of your own relevant content or, use it for ‘newsjacking’ ideas. Newsjacking means jumping onto an existing media story and offering a fresh angle or perspective on it.
One of the most famous examples is from Oreo who brilliantly jumped on the power cut during the 2013 Superbowl and produced the infamous “You can still dunk in the dark.” tweet.
Plan your food and drink domination in 2017
Give your fabulous food or drink business the best gift ever this year by dedicating time towards your 2017 PR planning. The key to successful PR is popping up in lots of different places throughout the year, rather than just trying to make one big splash.
I really hope the awesome combination of my planner and these PR tips will help you to create your most successful DIY PR yet!
More food for thought…
Hey, Charlotte here, thanks for reading through to the end! If you’re looking to grow your business, check out these blog posts written by other food industry experts, full of tips including How to get started with content marketing and 3 tips for writing a winning marketing plan for your food business.