If not, you should be. Your local media is a valuable marketing resource.
It’s important to build a good rapport with your local media because they have the ability to promote your restaurant and keep it top-of-mind with current and future customers.
Let’s discuss building relationships with your local media members such as newspaper and television personalities, niche bloggers and food editors.
Here are some tips for building relationship with your local media:
Take some samples of your signature appetizer, dessert or main dish to the newsroom. Be sure and take enough for everyone.
Before you go, research the media staff. Try to pinpoint one or two people that you think might be interested in your restaurant. Give them a call before you deliver the samples. Tell them how much you enjoy their media coverage.
Then, explain that you’d like to show your appreciation for their dedication to the local news by sharing some of your favorite food with them and their co-workers.
And, just like that, you’ve got your foot in the door.
How about hosting a media-only event? Newscasters, journalists, food editors and food bloggers love to get together. Provide the place and the food, and you’ll immediately endear yourself to this powerhouse group.
Consider hosting a regular event where you get them all together. Share new menu items, host an appetizer-only or dessert and drinks event or offer monthly networking lunches. Make it special and make it memorable.
Compliment them when they do a great news segment, write an interesting article, or feature a restaurant on their blog that you like. If they quote you, or write about you, make sure you send a thank you note.
Unsolicited thank you notes go a long way towards building a relationship with the media.
Most journalists are on social media. Check their online bios, and you’ll probably find their Facebook page and their Twitter handles. Like their pages and friend or follow them.
They are in the public eye, so they’ll usually be ok with your Facebook like request. Follow their pages and find unique ways to subtly insert your restaurant into the conversation. Don’t forget to use hashtags to join Twitter conversations.
Be sure to share interesting content with them. For example, you see that journalist Sally Smith has a daughter who’s getting ready to turn 16. Sally can’t decide what kind of cake to make. Share a recipe with her on her page.
This is a great way to build a relationship without asking for something in return. It may be inherent, but you can always follow up with your ask later.
Press releases aren’t the best way to reach the local news media anymore. Use your blog to post what you might have written in a press release. Then send links to the post to the local news media.
Before you do this, though, write an elevator pitch. What’s this? It’s a short statement that describes your restaurant simply and succinctly. It should be short enough that you can detail your restaurant in the time it takes to ride the elevator.
Write the elevator pitch down so it’s always ready to use. Then craft it into the aforementioned blog post and send it to the media.
People today have a thirst for celebrities. Take for instance, Rachel Ray. She has more than 1.5 million Twitter followers.
While your local news media probably doesn’t have that many Twitter followers, we bet they have a ton because they are, in their own right, celebrities in your city.
That means people want to see them. Your customers want to get close to them because they are local celebrities.
So, add some extra excitement to your restaurant by hosting a celebrity cook-off. Invite local newspaper, TV and radio personalities as well as local niche bloggers.
Get some extra buzz for your restaurant by adding in a fundraising element for a local charity.
How does all of this build relationships with your local media? You’ll give them a place to showcase themselves. It also allows them the opportunity to interact with the public thus potentially increasing their ratings. By throwing in the fundraising element, you make them feel good about themselves because they’re helping others.
In the end, you’ve cemented your relationship with them, helped a local charity and increased buzz about your restaurant and in turn your bottom line.
If you take the time and energy to build a relationship with your local media members, you’ll ensure that you are top of mind the next time they are looking for a place to eat or recommending one to their friends.
Relationship building takes time and patience, but done well and consistently, it can ensure your restaurant is their go-to for great food, ambiance and customer service.
Once you’ve established a relationship with members of your local media, don’t drop the ball and take a hiatus. Stay in touch so you and your restaurant are at the forefront. Be a resource; offer your assistance on upcoming stories or blog posts.
The local media can be some of your restaurant’s biggest advocates. This is why it’s so important to build and maintain a strong relationship.
A great restaurant website is an important starting point when it comes to creating a relationship with local media. It’s a must that your restaurant looks professional and polished in its online presence.
Restaurant Engine can you design a beautiful, mobile-friendly, responsive website for your restaurant that encourages browsing and online ordering. Take the Restaurant Engine Tour today and let us help you market your great restaurant location.