An introduction to food PR agencies
PR, or public relations, is an integral part of building any successful food business. Without proper PR, a restaurant or food and drink brand can quickly become forgotten and overlooked. Put simply, PR is the building of a good reputation. Whereas marketing focuses on sales, PR is all about sustaining a positive public image.
Traditionally, PR was done through channels such as print media, television and radio ads. However, in today’s digital age, many are now turning to digital food PR tactics such as social media campaigns, influencer partnerships and email marketing to reach potential customers.
When deciding between traditional and digital food PR to reach your business objectives, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of traditional PR versus digital PR for food and drink brands.
Traditional food PR
Traditional PR methods encompass pretty much anything that doesn’t involve the internet.
Here are some examples of traditional PR methods that food and drinks businesses might use:
- Having content in print media, such as a recipe in a magazine, a newspaper ad or an interview in a food publication
- Appearing on TV or radio shows
- Buying TV or radio ads
- Sponsoring relevant events
- Giving out free samples to the public or to reviewers
- Buying physical ad space such as billboards or ads on public transport
- Collaborating with other businesses to create a dish or recipe
- Attending events such as trade shows, food festivals and awards ceremonies
Some of these might sound a little old school, but they’re a great way to reach a varied audience in a memorable way. Print media, television and radio are still widely used forms of communication, even in the digital age. Plus, because traditional PR channels are generally seen as more trustworthy, this can in turn establish trust for your brand.
Digital food PR
Digital food PR , on the other hand, will utilise online channels to reach potential customers. Not just your owned channels, i.e. your social media accounts, website and mailing list – digital PR is also about building links with other websites to reach more people and build authority.
Here are some examples of digital PR tactics used by food and drink businesses:
- Running competitions or giveaways on social media
- Collaborating with influencers to endorse your product or restaurant
- Partnering with food bloggers to review you or collaborate on recipes
- Posting content on social media
- Creating recipe video content for YouTube and other platforms
- Creating an email newsletter
- Guest blogging for other businesses
- Sending press releases to online publications
- Creating PR stories for backlinks from news websites
Whilst both traditional and digital PR ultimately aim to increase brand awareness, a digital PR strategy is likely to look very different. Digital PR will aim to increase the authority of your website, measurably drive traffic and ultimately boost sales. By building backlinks to your website and increasing traffic, these tactics will improve your ranking in search engine results.
Which is right for me?
When planning your PR strategy, you’ll want to consider your audience, your budget and your business objectives. This will inform whether you’ll want to use traditional PR, digital PR or a combination of both for your food business. Let’s dig into the details.
When considering different PR tactics, you should consider how big an audience you’ll be reaching, and what kind of audience they’ll be. Generally, the more people you can reach, the better – but they need to be the right kind of people. What kind of media is your target market looking at?
If you’re targeting a younger demographic, then digital PR might be the best option, as it can reach them easily and quickly. On the other hand, you’ll have more success reaching an elderly audience via radio or print media. If you have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you’ll only want to target people who live locally. But if you’re selling a food product, you’ll want to get it distributed as widely as possible.
The costs associated with traditional and digital PR can vary hugely, though traditional PR tends to be more expensive. Getting an ad into a well-known magazine or onto a billboard won’t come cheap, nor will giving out samples or running events. However, taking a more local view – and getting creative – can yield great results on a budget.
Nevertheless, digital PR is much more accessible to small businesses with limited budgets. It’s still important to invest in quality content, but you won’t need a large budget to get started. You can also track your results easily and adjust your strategy if needed, meaning you’re unlikely to waste lots of money on one big PR project.
Plus, with a little networking, lots of digital PR can be carried out for free. Many bloggers and influencers will promote you in exchange for a free meal or product. Guest blogging is also a great way to collaborate with other businesses and increase your reach, with minimal cost.
With traditional PR, it can be hard to measure the success of campaigns and quantify the ROI. You may have gained lots of exposure, but how do you know if that has driven sales? Digital PR, however, makes this much easier. There are lots of tools available to track website traffic, conversions and even sentiment.
This means you can collect data on your campaigns and even adjust them on the fly to ensure maximum success. Plus, it’s much easier to determine which strategies are working best for your business. With traditional PR, this is essentially guesswork – but with digital, you can measure the precise results of each activity.
Traditional PR tactics are great for immediate campaigns that get lots of attention. However, digital PR has the potential to be much more long-lasting – if done correctly. By focusing on building backlinks and creating high-quality content, your website will continue to benefit from the effects of digital PR even after the campaigns have ended.
PR strategy: finding your balance
Ultimately, there’s no better or worse method of managing your public relations – it’s down to you and your brand. Finding the right balance for your PR strategy will depend on the kind of business you are – and the kind of business you want to be.
Are you a drinks brand that wants to be associated with the London music scene? Get involved with small venues, sponsor events and collaborate with local music bloggers. Are you a family-run restaurant that wants to support your local community? Partner with local charities, write to your local paper about it and post about it regularly. You’ll need to experiment to determine what works best for you – but don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Using a food PR agency
If you’re struggling to get started with your PR strategy, it might be worth considering a food and drink PR agency. These professionals have years of experience in managing effective PR campaigns, and will be able to tailor their approach to suit your specific business needs.
Plus, food and drink PR specialists worth their salt will already have a wealth of contacts in the food industry. When it comes to PR, media and influencer relations are gold dust. This kind of digital marketing expert help can save you time, money and stress – letting you get back to what’s important: running your business.
Searching for an expert food PR agency to help tell your brand story? We’ve worked with all kinds of food and drinks brands, from multinational companies to small food startups. Book an obligation-free call with our team today.
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