June 13, 2018 |

That All-Important Free Press

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

photographer, press coverage

Do you know how to market yourself?

I’m sitting here looking at a copy of Louisville magazine. The issue’s topic? Thirty-seven crave-worthy new restaurants, many of which I’d never heard. There are two problems here: 1) how did the magazine choose these 37 places and 2) why haven’t I heard of them?

The answer to both questions lies in a restaurant’s ability to make noise. Reading the words “opened quietly” is not often a good thing. “Opened with a bang” is more like it. Do you know how to light that fire? Better yet –– how to do it for free?

  • First, alert the media. Find out who the food writer is at all of the local outlets. That includes weekly alternative and monthly magazines that are often looking for content to fill pages. If you want to advertise, consider doing it the week after your article will appear for top-of-mind awareness.
  • Second, if you’ve created an event to coincide with your opening, such as handing over a portion of your proceeds to a local group, make sure you also make that a photo opportunity as well.
  • Have you hired a chef from Italy? That’s a great human interest story. How did they get here? What’s their background in pizza? If not, make yourself available for interviews. Would you believe we’ve been stood up before –– even after flying cross-country to visit a pizzeria?
  • Got something cool on your menu? Big Lou’s in San Antonio got some recent love from the Food Network for their 62-inch pizza. And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
  • If you do get press for your opening, make sure you can handle it. Soft openings are a thing of the past. Once your doors are unlocked, it’s open season.
  • Keep the ball rolling. Once you’ve gotten your name out in the public, you need to find ways to keep it there. Check out this article here on how to get free publicity: http://www.pizzatoday.com/departments/back-office/get-media-coverage/


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