this piece was originally published February 16 in Seedstock, the blog for sustainable agriculture focusing on startups, entrepreneurship, technology, urban agriculture, news and research
Thus far, in our three-part series on DIY press savvy for sustainability-minded food entrepreneurs, we’ve covered how to put together your story to resonate with the media, and how to tell it to the right people. In the final part of this series, we look at how to leverage the press you get for maximum benefit.
Use What You Have
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Even if the coverage you receive isn’t everything you hoped for, you can still make it work for you. You will remember the particulars of who said what about you, but most people will just remember that you were written about. In the immortal words of P.T. Barnum: “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.”
Don’t correct the reporter unless you absolutely have to. If the article misstates the year of your farm’s founding or how many trees you have, just let it go. All that comes of making a writer correct a non-essential detail is that you get remembered as high-maintenance. If, however, the erroneous information is something that will diminish the usefulness of the article, such as a misspelled name or an incorrect web address, send the writer a nice note about it. That way, at least the online version will have the correct information and you can use that clip in your promotions.
Package the Coverage
Since most people that you distribute your press coverage to will not read the full article, pull out a quote or even just a string of words that are complimentary and use that abbreviated content along with the media outlet’s logo when you reference the article. Using the actual image of the publication’s logo is an easy way to increase the impact of your coverage since you’ll benefit from the visual brand association. “The New York Times” as it appears on the front page of the paper looks more impressive than “The New York Times” typed out.
If you’re so lucky as to get a great line in an article that recommends you and your product, then use it. If the article says: “Happy Frogs Farm makes the best pie I’ve ever tasted,” it will be obvious what line to pull out.
If you didn’t get a line like that, you can get creative. Think of movie posters that often grab stray words that proclaim the movies to be “brilliant” and “original,” while the reviews they reference may not be terribly flattering overall. For example, if you receive a line in an article that describes your pie as having “a nice flaky crust with a lackluster filling,” use the following words:
“Nice flaky crust” — The New York Times
You can also adapt the headline. Even if your product was number 10 in a list of 10 and the comments were only so-so, write:
Named one of the 10 Best Apple Pies by The New York Times
The day an article comes out people will see it, but if you leave it at that you’re only going to get the recognition that luck brought you on that day. Press that you spread around and talk about, on the other hand, lives on forever. This is no time to be modest. If the idea of name-dropping in conversation makes you queasy, do it in writing.
An article is a third party validation – “Don’t take my word for it that I’m great — The Times says so.” Think of all the places where customers and media look, and all the ways that this third-party validation can help you. Now, you’re not just selling good pies, you’re selling pies that are “Named one of 10 Best Apple Pies by The New York Times.”
You can stretch out your 15 minutes of fame for years as long as you keep talking about it. Make that endorsement into a poster and hang it at your market stand; call it out from the homepage of your web site; attach it to all flyers and promotions; add it to your email signature. You can even add it to your business cards. Until everyone you come in contact with knows that your pies were in The New York Times, you haven’t used the quote enough.
About Alisha & Polly’s company: Polish Partnerships
Polish is a branding and communications company for the new gastroconomy. By creating strong partnerships with food and beverage producers, hospitality groups and industry innovators, we go the extra distance, transforming hopes, dreams and expectations into tangible, sustainable and polished realities.