PR building blocksBuilding a strong restaurant brand means scoring top-of-mind awareness with your buying market. One of the lowest cost ways to achieve this brand awareness is through earned publicity.

I know a thing or two about getting publicity. I share some tips in this “ta-do” list, here. I’ve been featured in over 300 media outlets from the Wall Street Journal to FOX TV to Entrepreneur Magazine. And all without the help of PR firm.

Here are 6 steps to get lots of publicity for your restaurant, too.

1) Be clear on your brand and how you want to be perceived.
This means aligning your outreach efforts and PR goals with your brand essence. Your brand essence sums up: why you are in business, how you are different, what is your brand personality and what is your brand promise. Every restaurant should work from a one pager, brand essence document that guides all marketing activities including publicity.

For example: (here is a fictional restaurant) named Munchies Café, serves a college market, specializes in late-night grub, personality is quirky, pop culture-relevant and daring. They promise to feed the souls and stomachs of local market with comfort food and fun.

2) Be newsworthy and understand the role of the media and yours as a story topic.
This means creating material, angles and events that inform, educate or enlighten readers and viewers. This does not mean hard selling your restaurant, your menu or your chef. Journalists are time crunched and welcome newsworthy help. So, if you pitch a story, get in the journalist shoes, help do the homework, suggest photo opportunities, provide credible research and make their job easy.

Here are three newsworthy angles examples:

1. Superfood menu items help students score better on their finals.
Munchies Café does the research (cite the source when pitching the media) and features menu items that help boost memory.

2. Technology enables foodies to feast fast. Everyone is crunched for time. Show how a diner is in and out of your place in 45 minutes with the latest technology like reservation apps, tablet menus, and paying their bill with their smart phone.

3. Munchies Café to host Pork Parade – August 31 is National Bacon Day.
Tie a news pitch into a holiday. Buy Chases book of events, here. Find a holiday and create news around it. Munchies Café’s Pork Parade can become an annual outside event where customers complete by creating the most outrageous pork costumes or it can be geared around 7 days of special bacon menu items that are weird and wild like chocolate covered bacon or bacon and beer muffins.

Tune in next week for steps 3 through 6. In the meantime, work on your one pager and think of three angles that you could pitch to a local or national media outlet.

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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