A Marketer’s Cheat Sheet to Help Clear PR Hurdles

As someone who is notorious for tripping over her own feet while walking down the hallway (what can I say—I’m talented), the very idea of attempting to soar over hurdles like an elite runner causes my heart rate to rise. And hey, we understand that sometimes, taking on a new endeavor at work can cause marketers the same sense of apprehension. Maybe you know you’re in need of PR but aren’t sure where to start, or perhaps you’re struggling to build brand awareness or to reach a certain audience. Whatever the obstacle, we’re here to help!

Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you clear common PR hurdles in fresh produce:

How to Overcome Common PR Hurdles

Creating Brand Awareness

When brand awareness is the goal, step number one should be to find ways to spread the word about your products and company—and most importantly, to ensure that you are sharing the right messaging. For instance, did you know that 81 percent of people purchase a product because “they trust the brand will do what is right?” Because people often make purchase decisions based on how they feel toward a company, it’s crucial to generate positive brand awareness. Maybe you’re thinking, “But how will people know they can trust our company?” Insert: PR. PR will ensure the (right) word about your product or company is spread through press releases, pitches, editorial, media meetings, events and more.

When seeking increased brand awareness, trade publications are a great place to start. Trade media exclusively covers a specific field, which means the trade media in fresh produce is not only looking for, but also relying on your stories for their content. Once you’ve established a strong positive reputation in the fresh produce industry, it’s time to start looking out toward hurdle number two.


Reaching a New Audience

While capitalizing on opportunities with trade media is crucial for success in this industry, it’s also important to start reaching new audiences who may not often hear about your produce in the news. Consider whether it’s time for your brand to prioritize outreach to national consumer media in order to more widely highlight your products.

In order to capture the attention of editors who can receive upwards of thousands of emails a day, your pitch needs to be eye-catching and appropriately targeted. Here are three steps to get your pitch started:

  1. Do your due diligence. Sending your pitch about fresh produce to the fashion editor at Vogue may not be the best use of your time—or theirs. Always start with research: does the recipient write about food or fresh produce? Have they written recent articles? Do you think their recent articles could be a fit for your product? If you can answer “yes” to those questions, consider it a green light to send your pitch.
  2. Make sure each pitch is crafted to resonate with the appropriate editor. Writing your pitch with each specific editor and publication in mind is the best way to see results—what works well for trade media won’t always be on-target for consumer outlets. In fact, around 72 percent of journalists wish pitches were more tailored to their individual beat or coverage, according to Cision’s Statistics on Earned Media.
  3. Be sure to follow up! At DMA, we commonly engage in valuable media conversations that didn’t even start until after we followed up on our original email. Note: follow-up conversations also make for a great way to build relationships with editors to ensure future coverage, even if it didn’t work out the first time around.


Handling a Crisis

Crisis communications is one aspect of PR that marketers tend to keep top of mind—probably because dealing with a crisis can be very daunting, and no one wants to end up going viral for the wrong reasons. But rest assured, we have resources on hand to help you create a plan in the event of a crisis.

Before a crisis ever takes place, gather your communications team and began brainstorming all potential scenarios that might require a crisis communications plan. These scenarios will often produce actionable items that each member of your team can be responsible for (press releases, statements, media training for spokespersons, etc.) However, keep in mind that each situation is unique. For example, if your brand or product is directly experiencing the crisis, being proactive rather than reactive is crucial. Staying ahead of the media will aid in re-establishing credibility. If the crisis doesn’t directly impact your brand or company, however, a reactive approach may be more appropriate. Often, having a press release or statement on hand, just in case, is a best practice during a (potential) chaotic situation.

Whether you’re working on building brand awareness, elevating your products to consumer media, or planning for seamless crisis communications, we hope these tips make clearing the hurdles just a bit easier. Have a quick tip to add to our list? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter @TheCoreBlog!