Unlike many other marketing disciplines, public relations relies heavily on a much longer lead time to communicate with the media on behalf of a brand. In fact, relationship-building is a key area of PR that takes a great deal of time and strategy – something that may contribute to the fresh produce industry’s struggles with this discipline. But if you’re a fresh produce marketer ready to take full advantage of endless PR opportunities in your 2016 planning, here are a few things to consider for your brand.
How to Elevate Your PR Efforts
1. Plan ahead
While some short-lead media work one to two months in advance, traditional consumer media works four to six months in advance. If you know that a new product is going to launch, or recipes will need photography, think about this lead time in order for your PR team to best leverage your assets for timely and relevant media content.
2. Find the right media
Not all media is right for your brand if it doesn’t speak to your target audience, so invest in finding the appropriate media outlets that will deliver messages to the right people.
3. Do your research
Take the time to invest in each media outlet that you’re considering a relationship with. If you plan to pitch to The New York Times, then you should be reading it, regularly.
4. Create personal relationships with the media
Part of creating a positive brand image is to develop personal and trusting relationships with the industry influencers – the media. Pick up the phone, meet face-to-face, and be a trusted partner instead of just another generic email in a reporter’s inbox.
5. Offer industry experts as resources
As part of relationship building, offer support from the experts within your organization as a resource for journalists and editors. Something as simple as answering a question about the best way to store tomatoes can lead to a great quote and brand mention.
6. Create publicity opportunities
Public Relations is not only about pushing press releases for new products and promotions. It’s about creating opportunities that lend themselves to publicity, like partnering with a celebrity chef, supporting a charitable cause, or hosting an industry-wide event.
7. Develop an electronic media kit
A media kit consists of electronic documents and photographs that tell the brand story. Everything from brand logos, new product and recipe images, and press materials should be included so that the media has access to the essential brand assets.
8. Write newsworthy stories
Press releases and pitches must be newsworthy if you want them to be relevant to journalists and editors. We are so used to “industry speak” that we sometimes forget who our audience is. Researching hot food trends and what the food editor you are trying to reach writes about is a good place to start to get your foot in the door with relevant content.
9. Tailor your message to the media
The way your brand would share a message to a trade audience vs. how the media would report that same message to a consumer audience are often quite different. Make sure that your messages reflect the media’s audience and aren’t overly sales-y.
10. Elevate team communication
In order to help eliminate surprises and aid in media successes, it’s essential to the success of your brand to keep your PR team updated and informed about what is going on – new research, potential product changes/additions, marketing plans, lawsuits/recalls, participation in events, etc.
Using these tips will put you and your PR team in a successful position to increase earned media for your brand, which means less dollars spent in the long-run to secure media placements. In other words, be the early bird that gets the worm!
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