Bringing attention to your restaurant through the media is a guaranteed way to get more traffic at your tables — as long as it’s good press. If you have a special event at your restaurant or want to share your eatery’s story, follow these five tips to get the attention of local media and their readers.
Have something interesting to say
People love to hear about other people, and it’s what most features reporters love to write about. If you’re holding a fundraiser for an individual, tell his or her story. Did your restaurant have an interesting beginning? Or are you doing something that no one else is doing? Contact a reporter and tell your story — and that you want to share that story with the community.
Know your reporter
Reporters are busy, and they get many ideas pitched to them by people who only want free publicity. Take time to do your homework, and research what publication or newscast you want to cover your restaurant. Next, delve deeper: Don’t send a general inquiry to the managing editor. Instead, identify the editor of the features or restaurant section and pitch to that person. Finding a specific reporter who does stories similar to what yours would be is even better.
Once you’ve figured out who you’re going to pitch to, read a few of the person’s articles and see which ones you like best and are similar to your story. When you do pitch the story, provide a small media kit with a bio about your restaurant and a fact sheet about your event. Invite the reporter or editor to “like” your Facebook page or join your event. People notice that you’re making an effort, and the gesture will most likely be reciprocated.
Take advantage of calendars
Many publications have a calendar of community events — and people look at these calendars to find things to do. The fuller the calendar, the more reads it gets. Publishing your event on these calendars is a win-win situation for you and the publication.
People who work in media are incredibly busy. They might not be able to make it to your event at a specific time or work around your schedule. Remember that these people do not owe you anything, so do not be demanding about certain coverage or what the article will say. Be polite and flexible in regard to media coverage, and it’s more likely you’ll see a story about your restaurant or event in the next issue.
If your restaurant isn’t that newsworthy, or you don’t have time to approach someone who works for the media, take out an advertisement. If you have a creative ad, it will draw the attention of readers and possibly that of an editor who is searching for a story to fill space in the next issue.
Sara Petersen is the content and marketing manager at Punch Mobile Marketing. Punch’s mission is to produce the best mobile-marketing content and solutions for foodservice providers to succeed at the mobile level. Read the company’s blog, follow it on Twitter and “like” its Facebook page.