There are many ways to promote your restaurant. But if you aren’t leveraging the power of public relations (or PR) to market your business, you could be missing out on some significant word-of-mouth opportunities.
Media visibility boosts your credibility – customers instantly see you as being more trustworthy and reliable if the media brings attention to you in a positive manner.
Most of all, PR is essentially free advertising when it works well.
Here is an overview of how a restaurant can tap into PR to create word-of-mouth traction with their business.
Building Relationships With The Media
The key to getting covered frequently in magazines and TV shows first lies in building media relationships. Not just any contacts, but journalists and media people who specifically cover restaurants.
This works much the same way you would target a specific audience for your business. You take the time to understand them – who they are and what their needs are. In the same way, you need to research and understand what a media contact’s specific goals are.
Getting press for you grand opening will be relatively easy. It’s getting covered regularly after the fact that can be a bit of a challenge.
Building win-win relationships with the right people can help you get more frequent exposure. Offer free and valuable information, contact them regularly, and don’t just send them press releases.
Understanding How The PR Landscape Has Changed
In some ways, PR has been replaced by influencers, bloggers, and popular social media personalities. They have just as much sway over people’s thinking as TV shows, commercials, talk show hosts, celebrities, and magazine articles do.
Restaurants can start small and build their way up to additional exposure, just as many entrepreneurs, businesses, and internet marketers do. You can leverage your portfolio of mentions on blogs and social media to get in front of more influential individuals and publishers within your industry. But even here, relevance is the utmost importance – you must create the right contacts, not just any. You must know what you’re about first.
Keeping up with these changes, as you can imagine, can be challenging.
You won’t get any press unless you have something worth talking about. It could be a celebrity appearance, a unique promotion, a one-of-a-kind event, or anything that plays well in the news. If what you’re sharing with journalists isn’t newsworthy in some way, you can’t expect them to talk about you.
It’s important to see things from their perspective. If you keep pitching and putting your own interests first, there’s a good chance they’ll start blocking your calls and emails.
Know Who You Are
At a foundational level, you must know what makes your restaurant worth talking about – why it’s different, unique, original, or noteworthy.
Having your message, branding, and marketing assets in order makes it easier for others to understand who you are and what you do. This is a key piece of PR that’s sometimes forgotten. You should have your logo, menu, photos, website, and other pieces in place before you begin reaching out to journalists.
Even some restaurants that have been operating for years don’t necessarily know what their angle or image is. Getting back to the basics and honing your business identify can make it easier to get the press you’re looking for.
PR represents a bigger opportunity than ever before, especially with the rise of the internet. Here in the digital age, anybody can become a publisher. That certainly has its downsides, but the upside is that you can tap into an abundance of resources.
Any restaurant looking to leverage PR needs to get their branding, assets, and marketing message in order, if they are to be effective.