Believe me when I say that there’s nobody who wants to see your rise to fame happen quicker than your publicist does.
Publicists put themselves in this unforgiving role, forging a path to success for their clients, often without any guarantees of the outcome. The challenge is not the process itself. The challenge is managing the process and the expectations that come with it. So, how do you allow yourself to trust in the process?
Campaign and Strategy
Starting a new business or marketing campaign for an existing business is an exciting endeavor. With that excitement comes the need to want to conquer it all. This type of enthusiasm, more often than not, will set you up for failure. Start small. An experienced publicist will know how to construct a campaign that takes the time to lay down a solid foundation before adding multiple layers to your efforts. Give each marketing component its due and the time it needs to take flight before you attempt to conquer it all.
First things first. Take the time to grab hold of your website content and artwork, invest in a professional photoshoot, create a strong branding portfolio, set up social media platforms and handles that make sense and are consistent, set up a customer email database capture program, and produce solid marketing materials for both print and digital. Now you are ready for the next phases.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The media does not owe you anything – at any stage of the game. While the right publicist will have solid relationships with media and with influencers and will be talented at pitching, conveying, and spinning, media placement typically takes a great deal of tenacity and patience. Keep in mind however, garnering media attention all at once is not a good outcome either. The goal here is to obtain media exposure consistently, allowing for a steady stream of attention from both social influencers and media which will assist with consumer retention, SEO, and social media content. When done correctly, each media hit should enjoy a longer shelf life than just its publication or posting date. Have patience and leverage the exposure.
Be open to creating events and offerings that are news-worthy. Once that “new restaurant opening” release goes out the door and the excitement wears off, you will need to start the process of creating regular outreach. Every so often, invite influencers in to dine or send them a product to write about and post. Use the change of seasons to your advantage to pitch timely news. And keep yourself in the game. You never know when your persistence will pay off.
Work with What You’re Given
Part of the PR/marketing process is being able to work within your means. This does not necessarily mean your financial means. What’s good for the large restaurant with a staff of 20 may not be good for the small family-owned and operated eatery. Work with what you are given. Can’t afford the product and manpower to go off-premise for a promotional l event? Coordinate smaller community-driven events in your space. Don’t have it in the budget to advertise in the holiday issue of your local magazine? Invest in a social media campaign for a fraction of the cost of print advertising and have better control over targeting your audience. With all of the online, social, and mobile app tools available to us today, gone are the big spends and the reasons to use them that were associated with them.
Instant Gratification leads to an eventual letdown. What did that big opening party that cost a lot of money and attracted a whole lot of people you didn’t know do for your business? Stroke your ego? Land you on a few high profile Instagram pages? More likely it created a short term buzz and once that wore off, it was as if you were starting from scratch again. Instead, you should be milking that honeymoon stage or teasing your brand refresh and re-entry into your neighborhood dining scene by planning a steady stream of small target market events, posting social media contests, or sending out recipes with photos or videos instead of press releases. Turn that one-night bash into a summer-long campaign. Slow and steady will win the race.
When building a social media following or email marketing database patience will indeed be a virtue. There aren’t any magic tools here, just a steady and strategic process that when managed correctly can be quite gratifying to watch grow. You want legitimate and potential customers to be following you and signing up for newsletter or catalog. Buying names and emails will be a waste of your money, time, and effort. It’s quality over quantity in this case. Keep its grassroots, take advantage of social media tools, collaborate with other businesses that share the same target consumer, make it easy for people to “sign-up”, and keep putting out great content.
PR is a process. The product that comes from the process is an opportunity. Allow yourself to take advantage of these opportunities by incorporating them into your marketing efforts.