Heather DeSantis
Heather DeSantis

The number one mistake we see business owners make is missing the beat in industry news. It’s easy to focus solely on day-to-day tasks, but successful press comes only from staying informed. PR agencies that understand this truth keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your niche, which enables publicists to create timely pieces for your media strategy.

Leverage listening, news, awareness

You can put this step into action by simply watching the news and jumping in on relevant conversations. When you see an opportunity, reach out to a media contact and explain, “I’m an expert and I’d love to give you my raw, honest opinion about this.” Reporters and journalists are always looking for fresh new perspectives, so don’t be afraid to raise your hand.

O'Dwyer's Mar. '19 Food & Beverage PR MagazineThis article is featured in O'Dwyer's Mar. '19 Food & Beverage PR Magazine

In addition to leveraging media features, your brand needs to consider Influencer Marketing as part of your awareness plan. While it may be difficult to track sales made from influencers, their ability to reach thousands from your target market is valuable in itself. Be sure to find the right influencer(s) for your brand: they should align with your values, speak to your prospective audience and have experience working with a brand.

By leveraging trending topics, breaking news and social media influencers, you can position yourself as timely and relevant to your target audience. The result could be the difference between surviving and thriving in your PR strategy.

Maximize your PR as a brand

Once you’ve landed a media feature or publication, it’s critical to maximize your exposure by treating it like a brand. It’s not enough to publish and wait. You need to boost your PR opportunity by sharing it at every touch point with your tribe of fans.

There’s a time to brag, and there’s a time to keep things understated. When it comes to amplifying your press, you need to share everywhere. This includes linking your media opportunity on your website, posting a link to your Facebook business page, Instagram story, personal LinkedIn page and into your email signature or newsletter. Whenever possible, you should tag the media and/or media personalities who were part of the story.

Brands should also use the press to support sales teams and keep retailers up to date. Consider sending monthly updates to show retailers how you’re driving consumer awareness, and always inform your sales team of recent exposure to share with prospective buyers at meetings. You can also magnify your exposure by running a Facebook ad that links to your media feature and leads viewers to your opt-in funnel. Ask yourself, “Where do I need to drive people? Amazon, social media, or to sign up for my email list?”

The point here is you always have the opportunity to maximize your public relations. Can you imagine if your company was in Rachael Ray’s print magazine and you failed to leverage it? Be sure you take advantage of your press by sharing your media or publication feature whenever and wherever your brand is showcased.

Thought leadership to build your brand

To connect with your audience, you have to go beyond merely selling products or offerings. You need to deeply understand the solution you provide and the audience you’re helping. Once you have a strong hold on that message, invite your CEO—and even the entire executive team—to jump into the trenches as a thought leader who provides valuable information.

Whether you’re participating in an interview, contributing to an article or posting on your social media platforms, make sure your executives are offering helpful information or actionable steps your audience can take toward solving their problem. One executive who nails this is Kara Goldin from Hint Water. She consistently provides valuable content via online articles, videos and her social media channels.

Building your CEO’s personal brand with thought leadership is a key step toward creating a successful PR strategy. You’re going beyond the business mindset by incorporating a human element: empathy. As a result, your CEO or fellow executives will be seen as an authority in your industry, which will help instill trust in those who follow you. Because we’d all rather do business with people we like and trust.

When you align with the challenges your target audience faces and then provide thoughtful solutions for free, you can build a strong foundation of loyal fans who are more likely to buy from you or share your story with others.

Incorporate cause marketing, awareness

Being socially responsible is no longer an option. Today’s consumers want to know that your brand not only cares about making the world a better place, but that you also put your words to action. This is cause marketing, and it’s now critical to your PR strategy.  

To incorporate cause marketing into your business, start by asking yourself what’s important to you and your employees. Word of warning: consumers can easily spot a non-genuine cause when they see one, so the answer can’t be superficial. It must come from the heart.

Once you’ve decided on a cause that aligns with your brand’s interests, look for ways to support it with your products or offerings. This could be a buy-one/give-one strategy where you give away a donation for every product sold. It could also mean incorporating the cause into your packaging, volunteering at local shelters or providing free products that support the mission. In addition, you could encourage people within your organization to join an advocacy group, be part of changing legislation or gain certifications for your business, like B-Corp or EWG Verified.

Whatever way you decide to incorporate cause marketing, the next step is to amplify your efforts in the media. Use a multi-platform approach by broadcasting the cause you support across all social media platforms, and contribute blogs or articles to publishers who align with its mission.

By spotlighting your bigger purpose, you can make a more impactful splash in your public relations. This will inspire more meaningful attention, which means you can also expect more effective results. 

Your strategic PR initiatives are the number-one way to build brand awareness, increase your market space influence and strengthen your brand credibility in the industry. Once you’ve leveraged news and awareness, maximized your public relations as a brand, positioned your CEO as a thought leader and incorporated cause marketing into your PR strategy, the sky’s the limit for your food or beverage brand.

***

Heather DeSantis is Founder and CEO of Publicity For Good. Interested in seeing where your brand stands? Get a free PR audit from the Publicity For Good team by emailing your name, company and a quick hello to Heather DeSantis at heather@publicityforgood.com.