Getting press may not turn your company into a million dollar business overnight, but it certainly never hurts to get stories about you written in print publications, online, or television/radio/online video appearances. Press has a tendency to give some validity to your product/company and shows that no matter how small you are, your still legit. So if you’re planning to actively go out and pitch reporters/bloggers this year, make sure you don’t forget this one critical thing: Read more
Posts from the ‘Press’ Category
Talk about some great press for your business! The Food Network is looking for food entrepreneurs who have quit their jobs to put it all on the line with a new small food business. To qualify you must be opening up a brick-and-mortar establishment before the end of the year. Not sure if they’re open to businesses located around the country or only in the Tri State (NY-NJ-CT) region but entrepreneurs who are chosen will apparently get free culinary and business coaching from a celebrity chef not to mention all the publicity you’ll get for your new business. Want more information? Contact Heather Briggs of Rock Shrimp Productions at hrb (at) embassyrow (dot) com.
Twitter is a powerful took to help you keep an eye on the media and make connections when appropriate Several weeks ago I mentioned Help A Reporter Out, a free subscription service that helps connect journalists with those who have stories to tell. What I neglected to mention is that HARO also has a Twitter account where they post requests from journalists’ who are on tight deadlines. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow HARO (@helpareporter).
You can also see which reporters and news outlets are on Twitter. You can follow the outlets and people that apply to your food business which will help you learn what types of stories they write about and you may also hear about sources that journalists need for articles they’re working on. If there’s a journalist in particular that you want to pitch a sotry idea and they’re on Twitter, it is worthwhile to consider pitching them through Twitter. You can send direct messages via Twitter to journalists you follow if they follow you back. For many of these journalists, the 140-key strokes required in Twitter makes it easier for them to quickly read pitches (and forces you to write very tightly worded pitches) and they can immediate decide if they want more information or not.
I also just learned about Cision’s Journalist Tweets site which shows you what journalists are tweeting about. You can drill down to the country and, in some instances, the topic you want to follow, and see who is tweeting what.
Last month I wrote a post about the labeling requirements when it comes to claiming your food product is organic. As I pointed out, the organic label is not something you can slap onto anything and use unless you want to run the risk of having the USDA hand you a nice $11,000 fine. While you may know and understand the requirements, you need to make sure that any third parties you work with also understand the consequences of misusing the organic label. Why? Well here’s a short lessons learned story for you:
About a year after I started my small food business I hired a PR firm to represent me. If you’ve read my book you already know that the relationship did not exactly measure up the way I had hoped. However, what I forgot to mention was that during the course of our short relationship, the PR firm – unbeknownst to me – started marketing my company as organic in press releases. I had never claimed that my product or company was organic but they took it upon themselves to freely use the word organic. When I realized what was going on and called them in a panic they indicated that since my products used organic ingredients then they naturally thought thy could say the treats were organic. I had to explain to them that there were very strict rules about what can and cannot be considered organic and even if you use organic products you still have to certified by the USDA which, at that point, was not something I was willing to spend money to do. The PR firm apologized profusuely (though I was still charged for the work that was sent out) and I certainly realize that their actions weren’t malicious. They simply just didn’t know that they couldn’t say my company was organic. So my word of advice to anyone out there who works with a third party, be it a PR firm, a graphic artist, a marketing firm, etc, be sure that you sit down at the beginning of the relationship and explain to them how and why terms like organic or all-natural can and cannot be used.
If you are looking to get some press for your food company or food product there is no better source then Help A Reporter Out (also known as HARO). Given it’s cost – which is free – the smartest public relations move you can make is to sign up for these thrice-daily emails which include interview requests from top journalists, publications, and blogs around the country.
This free subscription service attracts journalists from top-notch newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and blogs. These journalists submit their interview and expert requests for stories they are actively working on which are emailed out three times a day to the subscribers. All you have to do is look through the requests and determine if any of them are inline with your business or are on a topic you can speak knowledgeably about and, if so, you contact the journalist directly – all free! While it’s important to always be on-targer with your emails, and not doing so can get you banned from HARO, you do need to have a creative approach to the definition of your business. Rather than simply limited yourself to journalists who are looking for small food business owners, your background and experience might also make you a good source for sstoreis about career-changers, people who turned grandma’s secret recipe into a business, or small businesses that utilize social media as a marketing strategy.
Since you can unsubscribe from the email database at any time and your information is not shared with any third parties, this is really just about the easiest and cheapest public relations technique you can use!
Last Friday I mentioned that my company had been interviewed for an article by a big-time entrepreneur magazine but I didn’t say which magazine. My bad apparently because I got a lot of questions about it. The article, which featured green packaging, ran in Inc. Magazine and a copy of it can be found here.
I never exactly know what to say when the phone rings and after answering it I hear “Hi, this is so-and-so, a reporter from ZYX…” Actually, truth be told, the last time I was contacted by a reporter back in February it all started with an email from a reporter for a big publication wanting to schedule an interview after the interview I received a followup call from a fact checker to double-check my quotes (which is how you can tell it’s a bigger publication!). To the best of my knowledge the article hasn’t printed yet (or perhaps it has and my part got cut) but it’s very surreal to all of the sudden find yourself talking to a big-league reporter.
So how did my small food company get their reporter’s attention? Funny enough, it was a press release that caught their attention but not one that was ever sent to the magazine. Their reporter was working on a story about green packaging which is something my small food business has been incorporating into products for several years. A few years ago I happened to write a press release about our green packaging endeavors and mentioned some of the vendors my company uses. This press release was submitted to several business-to-business publications in my industry and I had a copy of it posted in the press section of the company website.
Fast forward several years and a reporter is looking for examples of companies that use green packaging from specific vendors. Unable to find anything easily she turns to the most powerful research tool of all – Google! – and types in the vendors’ names. Google then apparently crawled the web and in doing so came across the press release I wrote. Next thing you know my press release pops up as one of the first search results and the reporter sends me an email.
The lesson I learned is that even if it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening to the press you or your press team is putting out there, the power of search engines has made it so that the material has a much longer usable life then every before. Had I not written that press release or, even if I had, had I never posted it on my own website, the reporter never would have found me. The simple act of writing and posting the press release makes it easier for reporters to find you when they have a specific story idea in mind. Yes, it’s a long shot but it doesn’t hurt. At the very worst your customers will browse your press releases and learn more about your company which will help them feel more connected to the product and the person behind your brand.