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National Restaurant Association - Blueprint to your event PR strategy

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Blueprint to your event PR strategy

Exhibiting at a trade show like the NRA Show or other major event can seem daunting when competing for coverage and standing out in a crowd. Creating a public relations strategy before the exhibition or event can help get your product mentioned in the news, generate awareness and interest in your company, and get your spokesperson quoted in the media.

Although you don’t have ultimate control regarding when or how your story will be covered, you do have the potential to reach consumers on a broad scale with relevant news in a highly engaging way. Check out these tips to help build your public relations strategy.

Write a press release

The most effective tool to get the word out to news media is a news release. It should be written in a style of a newspaper article. In order to effectively sell your product, you need a hook. The hook is what sets your company, product or service apart from the competition. When possible, tie your product or service to current industry or consumer trends to illustrate its timeliness and relevance.

Key features of a news release

  1. Headline
  2. Informative, succinct lead paragraph
  3. Date
  4. Contact name, phone number, email or social media account
  5. Who, what, where, when, why/how
  6. Quote

Quotes included in new releases might not be used in the final coverage, but including them is effective in heightening interest and getting your key message across to writers and editors. Make sure your spokesperson is aware of the quote and can repeat it convincingly during interviews with reporters and editors.

Organize a media list

Customize and target news media that covers topics relevant to your product or service. You are likely familiar with national, regional and specialty trade publications that would be interested in your news. You might also approach consumer news outlets, including food writers and editors, business editors, technology columnists, and restaurant and foodservice industry beat reporters. Targeting media carefully is critical to gain coverage.

Pitch journalists

In addition to issuing a news release, another common way to reach out to journalists is contacting select journalists individually. This can increase your product’s chances of coverage if you do so strategically. The majority of journalists prefer email pitches over phone pitches as they can review information when it’s convenient for them. Use an informative and succinct subject line (no marketing slogans or quirky language). Keep the text very short and to the point. Remember to link to your website, news release, online press kit, and don’t forget to include your contact information. For more tips on working with the media, see here.

Create press kits

A press kit is a collection of materials packaged together to give an editor or reporter more in-depth information than he/she could get from a news release alone.

Kits typically contain:

  • News release
  • Promotional flyers about products/services
  • One-page fact sheet about your company
  • Photos of your product

Creating electronic versions of the press kit and posting them to your company website is a cost-effective and convenient way to make them available. You can also link to it from your news release and email pitches. Make photos downloadable in a high-resolution format and include videos if you have them.

Tactical takeaways

  • Develop a public relations strategy
  • Write a press release
  • Organize a media list
  • Pitch to journalists
  • Create press kits (hard copy and electronic versions)

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