How to maximise your media coverage

How to maximise your media coverage

How to maximise your media coverage during
British Food Fortnight

85% of restaurants, pubs and shops who took part in British Food Fortnight 2003, and contacted their local media about their activities, received publicity in their local press.

British Food Fortnight will be promoted in the media nationwide. But you may also wish to speak to your local media yourself, especially if you already have good contacts. The aim is simply to gain more coverage for your restaurant, pub or shop and to increase your sales. Here are some general tips on dealing with the media - we hope these will be helpful in the build up to British Food Fortnight, and in the months beyond.

- Find your local press contacts, either from the local paper you buy or from the comprehensive list of regional media contacts on > how retailers & caterers can take part. Remember to include your Parish magazine.

- Write a press release describing your promotion/activity and providing as much factual information as you can about what you are organising - think where, why and when and be concise. If your shop, pub or restaurant has an interesting local history, include it. Give your release a short, snappy title that encapsulates the content of your release. Ideally your release should not be longer than one page, including contact details. A draft press release is provided on > how retailers & caterers can take part.

- Pubs and restaurants should give full menu details plus cost per head. Give details of regional produce used and where it has come from.

- Consider donating a special reader-offer as an incentive for media coverage. Promotions likely to grab attention include: Reader/listener discounts, set-price menus, dinner for two, free wine.

- Send your press release to your chosen media. Allow enough time between when you distribute information to the press and when the activity is planned - a good measure is to aim for a couple of weeks beforehand. (any earlier and the press may forget about it). Pubs or restaurants wishing to highlight a special menu should aim to issue details about a month or three weeks in advance.

- Give your contact details so that a journalist can ring you if more information is required. As journalists work 9-5pm please give a number they can contact you on at this time.

- Follow up the information you have sent with a phone call to the editor, food writer or restaurant reviewer. This not only reminds them that the activity is taking place, but it also gives you the opportunity to engage their interest over the phone.

- If you are organising an event aim for post-publicity too. Invite a journalist/photographer along. Children lending support makes a good photo. If a journalist cannot attend, you can post or email a selection of photos to the paper''s picture desk with a typed note giving details of your event.

- Don''t forget to contact your local BBC and independent radio stations. If your event is very big they may send an outside broadcast unit along. If not they may announce the start of BFF and your involvement in it. Much depends on you getting your information to them in good time. Give them two weeks'' notice.

- Alternatively, you could place an advertisement. This is a great way to guarantee coverage for a relatively modest outlay. You may also find that a paper will give you editorial coverage in addition - don''t forget to ask.

This advice has been provided by an independent PR company.

Click here to return to the How Retailers & Caterers can take part.