Food PR Requires A Fresh, Varied Approach
The depth of public discourse about food these days is extraordinary. Every step of the food production process – from ingredient-sourcing to materials used in packaging – is scrutinized. We are obsessed with food and everyone, it seems, is a food expert. When it comes to working with the food media, it’s important to carefully consider your approach with bloggers and journalists. These are some of the factors our team at Fineman PR considers when selecting media to approach for our food PR clients.
Influence is not defined strictly by the size of one’s audience. Influence is a result of reaching the right audience. Say you’re introducing a new gluten-free product. It’s a crowded marketplace and you are competing with so many other gluten-free products hitting the market. Sure, a brief mention in the Los Angeles Times will help drive awareness and earn credibility, but a rave review in a gluten-free blog will probably influence more of your key audience –gluten-free minded consumers– to seek out your product. One percent of L.A. Times readers may be interested in gluten-free products1 while 100 percent of a gluten-free blog’s readers are actively seeking out gluten-free products and will likely be driven to purchase said product Both media have something valuable to offer with the right approach.
Just as you have regional and national traditional media, there are national and regional food bloggers. But unlike traditional media, the blogosphere is not divided into designated market areas (DMA). The Pioneer Woman may write from Pawhuska, Okla., but she has readers all around the country. Conversely, you have bloggers with national renown such as Carolyn Jung/Food Gal, who also write for regional audiences. Again, the right approach will increase your topic’s relevancy (and your credibility).
Preparing for Questions
Sure, your product is delicious, but where did it come from? How was it made? Do you treat your employees well? Consumers want delicious food, but they also want to feel good about buying it. Expect probing questions from traditional journalists AND bloggers. And be prepared for an ongoing dialogue – once an article or blog hits – that may be just the beginning of an in-depth conversation.
Compared to the blogosphere, consumer engagement is more limited in traditional media. Bloggers often welcome meaningful interaction with food companies. We work with our clients to create blogger and traditional media sampling programs, party sponsorships, blind tastings, contests and giveaways in addition to trends and issues-focused food news. A robust, diverse approach with both types of media can help differentiate you from your competitors and keep you top of mind among your target audience.
Food PR is an exciting and challenging area of public relations and requires fresh thinking to break through the crowd.
1 An estimated one percent of Americans have celiac disease.