Public relations expert Louise Lloyd has some pointers for getting a new restaurant talked about in the local media… The local press can be hugely effective for generating interest in the local community. Marketing a new restaurant can be expensive, but there are cost-effective ways of doing this. When it comes to local media, businesses can go about this in two ways – paid for advertising space or editorial coverage. The key thing to remember is that whilst advertising is a paid for mechanic and you will know exactly what you are going to get, securing editorial space is competitive, is never guaranteed and very much comes down to relationship building with journalists and editors – and persistence.
As a starting point, find out about your local media and put some information together for them. Here’s my advice:
- Identify all of the relevant media within your area including local newspapers and regional magazines as well as online community and news sites (pull out pieces that cover similar news to yours eg new restaurant opening. This will give you a feel for how and what they feature)
- Remember: The majority of publications have several areas that could be relevant for your business – eg local business news, dedicated food pages, restaurant reviews, local business profiles so keep a look out for all opportunities.
- Once you have identified where your news will best sit, write a short press release detailing key information about your new restaurant : ie date of its launch, where it will be, what will be on offer including an idea of the menu, any special evenings and anything else that you feel sets it apart from other similar venues. Include a couple of images with the press release.
Once you’ve sent over the information to the various named journalists:
- Phone newspapers. Let them know you are just about to open a new restaurant and you’d like to send over information to see if it is something they would be interested in featuring. They will then provide you with the details of the best contact to send through the press release to.
- consider inviting journalists who review restaurants for a complimentary meal so they experience what you do first-hand – so long as they will be writing a formal review.
- offer publications a prize for their readers to win eg four winners to win a meal for two at your restaurant. This is a great way to generate interest from the local community.