Business and Operations
Getting the word out: How to write a media release that gets your pizzeria noticed
How to write a media release that gets your pizzeria noticed
By Michelle Brisebois
One of the most powerful marketing assets a business can have is “new” news. If there’s any kind of development in your business, you need to crow about it!
However, many entrepreneurs fail to recognize when they have something newsworthy to share. Business owners also may assume that media releases, or press releases, are only for the big companies. This is not true at all.
Think of a media release as a way for you to serve up all the ingredients for a great article to a publication that your customers might read. Make it easy for them to pull together an article about you quickly. There’s an art to creating a strong media release so let’s break it down.
Recognize when you have something to share
If you’re waiting until you win a big award or open a new location to label something newsworthy, then you will miss out on other opportunities for publicity. News can take many forms: hiring a new chef, renovating your restaurant, hosting a visiting chef for an event, implementing a progressive human resource program and many other possibilities.
Find the cool angle to the story
The real story is buried inside of the obvious story, kind of like a nested Russian doll. Dig beyond the obvious. If you’ve hired a new chef, the real story might be that she’s trained in Italy or has a signature dish that makes the angels sing. Your restaurant renovation might include some vital accommodations and updates for wheelchair accessibility – that’s the real story. The trick is to take at least three pokes at the obvious story trying to find the point of difference hiding underneath. Michelangelo famously said that he didn’t carve the statue of David but simply removed the excess rock that was obscuring the statue.
News can take many forms: hiring a new chef, renovating your restaurant, hosting a visiting chef for an event, implementing a progressive human resource program and many other possibilities.
Have a format
The objective of a good media release is to have it become a published story. The more organized, to-the-point, engaging and focused your release is, the more likely it is to get picked up. Writers are often on deadline so if they can easily pull out the main points of a story and know who to contact for a quick chat to flesh out the details, then you’ve just made their job easier. Your goal should be to make it one page – 300 or so words. It might be easier to start with the summary of the story to get your creative juices flowing. Stay focused on your key message. You don’t want to bore them and, ideally, they may take some of this text directly into the article.
Place important headings at the top
In bold letters, write “For Immediate Release” and the date you wish it to be released to the public. Underneath this text put contact name, organization name, phone number, email, website and social media channels. This information lets the writer easily gather more information or contact you for an interview. The name of the game here is to make this media release so turnkey that the story almost writes itself.
Craft a clever headline
The operative word here is clever. You want to entice the writer to keep reading the release and to want to write a story about your business news. For example, if you were writing a headline to trumpet the arrival of your exciting new chef, you might lead with this: “Award-winning chef brings famous recipe to Art of Pie.” Underneath the headline you can add in a smaller font a subheading like this one: “This is the pizza that won a gold medal in XYZ competition – now you can have it too.”
Next comes the body of the content
Make sure you use keywords. These are the words and phrases that will most often be used by customers to search for your pizzeria online. Start with your town and province then dig into the key theme. Your first sentence should be direct and on point with your most important message. This is not the time to “bury the headline” as they say in journalism. If the exciting message is about that amazing new pizza from your new chef then the first sentence should say, “When the judges awarded Chef Smith’s Neapolitan pizza a gold medal, they described the taste as authentically balanced and fresh. We are delighted that she’s joined our restaurant as head chef and will be bringing this amazing recipe to our town.” You would then go on to talk about the other exciting menu innovations that are planned and when the new pizza will be available.
Every article includes quotations from the people featured in the article. If we use the example of the new chef, get one or two quotes from her and include your own comments too. This will make it easy for the writer to pick them out and weave them into the article. Make sure the quotes work to enhance the excitement around the announcement. The chef might say, “I’m thrilled to bring this dish to the restaurant menu. I’ve got plans to tweak the toppings with amazing local ingredients.”
Include your links
Part of a strong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy for your own website is something called link building. Link building means that other reputable websites link to yours. The search engines love this because it creates something called “domain authority.” If a news outlet links to you, it will drive traffic to your site and signal to the search engines that you are associated with other reliable sources. Assuming that the writer will take your content from the media release to build the article – having your links there already will ensure this linking back is done.
Many news outlets have an online version of their publication too and a video will give them additional valuable content. You could record a quick interview with the chef or show her making the award-winning pizza to add more depth to your announcement. Video increases engagement (time the reader spends on the site) so it’s a powerful thing to include.
Have a call to action
End the press release with a statement like this: “To taste Chef Smith’s pizza, order now. The Art of Pie can be found at 123 Main St. or online at (website).” Make it easy for readers to click and book a table.
Make a contact list
Many businesses may assume they need to use a big media release service to hit all of the best publications. It’s a better strategy for you to think in terms of your chamber of commerce, local newspapers, radio stations, food bloggers and local magazines. A reader 300 kilometres away isn’t coming for dinner – the local patrons are – so keep it simple. Get the contact names and emails of each editor, write them a personal email to introduce yourself and attach the media release. Include a note in the email to quickly explain the purpose of your media release and why it matters.
Here is a template to use for your next media release. Don’t be shy – remember, self-promotion is part of being an entrepreneur.
Michelle Brisebois is a marketing consultant specializing in e-commerce and digital content strategy and retail/in-store activation. Michelle has worked in the food, pharmaceutical, financial services and wine industries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.