- Charlotte Moore is founder of The Smoothie Bar – a monthly membership club that teaches foodie start-ups how to do their own responsive PR in 10 mins a day
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January is traditionally the time to throw yourself into a health kick, but I propose that we ditch the daft detoxes and instead, focus on transforming your brilliant business into a PR magnet. Here are five easy ways to make your food brand famous in 2019!
1. Planning is essential
“If you fail to plan then you plan to fail” is a popular saying and although it sounds very smug to those of us who aren’t natural planners, when it comes to PR, I have to admit that they have a very good point.
Putting aside half a day to plan your content and activity for at least the next 3-6 months is crucial, simply because many of the publications that you’d love to be featured in are doing that themselves. Christmas in July exists in retail for a reason and Editors are thinking about their Chrimbo content too.
To make this planning process more enticing than looking at cute cats on YouTube, find the planner of your dreams. You may love everything efficiently stored online, have a desk diary that never leaves your side or, like me, have decided to go big or go home with a huge wall planner so that you’ve got the whole year at a glance. If you’re a man or woman after my own heart, help yourself to my A4 wall planner with 100+ useful dates to get you started that comes as a free gift when you sign up to emails on my website.
2. Find the food days everyone will be talking about
Google ‘Food awareness days’ and be prepared to be dazzled by the sheer number of food days/weeks/months happening this year – some much crazier than others! Having a list of these is very helpful for two reasons:
a) It gives you great ideas for creating your own content – planning ahead is difficult if you don’t know what people will be talking about and how your business can fit within that. This will kickstart your own thoughts and give you a mix of ideas which can create one-off content for a day or, be fleshed out into longer campaigns.
b) Join the conversations that are already happening – this is one of the great secrets of PR and a great way to get in front of brand new potential customers. You can easily bond with strangers over the best fillings on National Sandwich Day or, join the fun of a #jamfirst or #creamfirst debate during National Cream Tea Week. (For the record, it’s always #jamfirst.)
3. Check out #journorequest on Twitter
Although it’s easy to mindlessly scroll for hours on any social media platform and end up down a rabbit hole, I’m officially giving you permission to use Twitter as a genuine work tool!
When most people think of PR, they associate it with writing hundreds of boring press releases that basically beg journalists to be interested in what they have to say. My style of responsive PR turns that on its head by sharing #journorequests from Twitter in The Smoothie Bar. What many people don’t realise is that journalists themselves have already been commissioned to write stories and articles and are actively searching for people, brands, products and businesses like yours. They send out these requests every day using this hashtag to help them find the perfect quote or case study, and you only need to tweet or email in response – no press releases needed!
#Journorequest is free for everyone to find, so why would people join The Smoothie Bar to see them there instead? Well, like all great freebies, it does have its down sides. Firstly, you get journos from every sector sending out requests, so that’s the first layer of filtering you need to employ. Secondly, the 10 million* bloggers of the world (*ok, it’s a guess but you know what I mean!), also use this hashtag when they’re on the hunt for freebies. This means that there’s an awful lot of sorting the wheat from the chaff each day (and the sorting is the bit I do for my members in The Smoothie Bar).
In short, if you’ve got time to jump on and off Twitter all day to keep checking #journorequest, you can find some fabulous and free PR opportunities. My Smoothies have been featured in titles like The BBC, Stylist, The Telegraph, Metro, BBC Good Food, Evening Standard, Forbes, Huff Post and more by doing this for 10 minutes a day.
4. Pop up on a podcast
Many people worry about getting PR for their business because writing isn’t their bag. Firstly, let me reassure you that the majority of journalists write the article themselves, so will either soundbite you from the answers you give or, give your written response a quick grammatical check and tweaked if needed.
If talking about your brand comes more naturally then being a podcast guest is the perfect way to share your passion. No one knows your brand better than you do so you know that everything you say during the episode will be accurate. And even better than this, you get the chance to show off the personality behind your brand to start the know/like/trust factor journey for everyone who has you in their ears.
There are various food-themed podcasts you could pitch yourself to, and then open yourself up more generally and focus on podcasts championing topics including start-ups, entrepreneurs, side-hustles and women in business.
5. Twitter Chats
PR isn’t just about appearing in magazines or on websites. Instead, it’s about your brand as a whole and how it appears everywhere - your website, emails, customer service, social media etc. Slowly building up an organic audience of followers, (don’t even get me started on buying followers or using bots), is the best way to create an army of advocates who love your brand, buy your products and tell everyone else to do that too.
Twitter chats are a natural way to join a new community of people who know nothing about who you are or what you do, but have the potential to turn into customers in the future. There are hundreds of regular hourly chats going on, and many of them have real communities of people who show up to take part each week. Using the ‘try before you buy’ analogy, seek out the potential chats that could be a good fit for your brand and be that invisible lurker at the start so that you understand how it all works before diving in. You shouldn’t try and join every chat going as you’ll have no time to do anything else in your business! This isn’t a drive-thru experience where you drop a link to your product and run. Instead, it’s a leisurely three course meal with wine that you dedicate time and effort to in order to get to know the new Twitter family you’re about to be part of.
Imagine I have a vegan, gluten-free cake brand based in Co, Durham. Here are just a handful of the potential chats I could get involved in:
Vegan Recipe Hour
Cake Club Hour
Co Durham Hour
North East Hour
UK Start-up Hour
Ladies Coffee Hour
UK Business Lunch
If you don’t know where to start, go ask our good friend Google to point you in the right direction.
Combining these elements to create the structure of your 2019 PR plan really can be this easy and I don’t know about you, but I care much more about being a PR Pro than a Buff Beach Bunny!
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