attentionPublicity and third party media coverage influences people’s opinions. These beliefs can sway a consumer to choose or not to choose a business to patronize. So why not take advantage of this low-cost branding building method.

Last week we covered three important steps to help build your restaurant brand through heightened awareness from publicity. We provided examples based on a fictional restaurant called The Munchie cafe. Click here to read last week’s article. This week we give you four more steps.

3) Pay attention to what is already in the news and ride those coat tails.
If a story is big, the media often will cover it from many angles. This means the news story could be covered by business, lifestyle and even main news reporters.

When this happens you’ve got a golden opportunity to jump in and leverage on timely topic.

For example if Munchies jumped on “the already in the news” brand wagon:
When the Republican Party was hosting their annual convention in Tampa, a timely angle milking this event could have been: What Republicans and Democrats eat? They could have conducted a poll with their diners, pitch the results as a story. Or have fun with the high-profile GOP’s coming to town and create a funny menu items around their brand images. The media is always game to poke fun at elected officials.

4) Pitch the right people.
Calling the editor of the Wall Street Journal or Anderson Cooper is likely not going to be the best use of your time. Instead, identify a beat reporter, and get familiar with their work, what they cover, how they cover news. The more you know about who you are pitching, the easier it will be to develop a great working relationship with them.

5) Be extreme and go for shock value.
Big anything – the world’s largest meatball, breaking records, consuming food made with coffee to pulling 5 all-nighters and unusual visuals like the wait staff sporting creative, red, white and blue swim caps supporting the US Olympic team could all work for Munchies Café.

6) Break through snail mail and email clutter.
Journalists receive truckloads full of pitch ideas. Make sure yours stands out. If you are pitching pumpkin recipes, put your release in a plastic pumpkin. If you are pitching low-fat desserts, send a sample of the treats in a bright colored, cool container marked without your brand name, but with some attention getting copy like Guilt-Free Happiness. When they open it, they will know it’s from your restaurant. If you are using email, make your subject line catching and not boring.

7) Have a clean media list ready.
You should always have a segmented up to date media list. This means bloggers, print and broadcast contacts are separated. You should always have physical and email addresses and phone numbers, so at moment’s notice you can disseminate your news alert or pitch. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve placed with a simple phone call. Often it’s timing, slow news days do happen and if you’ve got something interesting, you can score a nice story. If you don’t have a list, you can often buy one from the local chamber or through and online service. And often that is a good place to start, but someone in your organization will need to verify the contacts and add people that you know work in the media that are not on the list.

For most businesses, earning publicity takes being proactive. Make news and then make sure the media decision makers (producers, writers, assignment editors) are aware of what you are doing. After you get the coverage, thank the media source with a note and don’t forget to publicize it on your website and in your social media channels.

Need more ideas? Check out our ebook on How to get publicity here

Have you used any clever angles that earned your restaurant publicity? Or, do you want to bounce some ideas around? We’d love to hear about it or answer any questions on our  Facebook page or Tweet to us.

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