Advice on Contacting the Media
Taking part in British Food Fortnight is a good opportunity to gain some local publicity for your shop, pub, restaurant or school. Many establishments and schools taking part are featured in local papers or television, and the campaigns as a whole often gain national coverage.
Media coverage can be a good way of thanking teachers, parents and children for their involvement. For retailers and caterers, it is an important means of attracting new customers and increasing sales.
Hints and Tips on gaining Local Publicity
British Food Fortnight is promoted in the media nationwide. You may also wish to speak to your local media yourself, especially if you already have good contacts. The aim is simply to gain some fun coverage for your school. Here are some general tips on dealing with the media - we hope these will be helpful in the build up to British Food Fortnight, and in the months beyond.
Find your local press contacts. If you use a PR professional they may have access to media databases but if not, this is where you will have to do a little research. You can find listings in your local papers and on websites – don’t forget to include your Parish magazine and to check to see whether publications have a separate online editor.
Write a press release describing your activity and providing as much factual information as you can about what you are organising. We have put together a guide to writing a press release which you might find helpful. Make sure you give details of any local food and drink used and where it has come from.
Email your press release to your chosen media. Allow enough time between when you distribute information to the press and when the activity is planned - a good measure is to aim for a couple of weeks beforehand, although online coverage is more instantaneous. Pubs or restaurants wishing to highlight a special menu should include details of regional produce and costs per head. Consider a special reader offer and aim to issue details about a month or three weeks in advance. Be aware that monthly publications have longer lead-times, sometimes up to three months.
Follow up the information you have sent with a phone call to the editor, food writer or restaurant reviewer. This not only reminds them that the activity is taking place, but it also gives you the opportunity to engage their interest over the phone.
Aim for post-publicity too. Invite a journalist/photographer along to your event - media are always keen to publish photographs of children taking part in activities so if you are a school be sure to have gained parental permission for photographs before the event. If a journalist cannot attend, you can post or email a selection of photos to the paper's picture desk with a typed note giving details of your event.
Don't forget to contact your local BBC and independent radio stations. If your school's event is particularly big and involves other members of the community they may send an outside broadcast unit along. If not they may announce the start of BFF and your involvement in it. Much depends on you getting your information to them in good time. Give them two weeks' notice.
Contact your local BBC and independent radio stations. If your event is very big they may send an outside broadcast unit along. If not they may announce the start of British Food Fortnight and your involvement in it. Much depends on you getting your information to them in good time so give them two weeks’ notice.
Look for Listings. Many websites and publications list details of upcoming events. Sometimes you can submit listings online yourself.
Place an advertisement. This is a great way to guarantee coverage for a relatively modest outlay and often publications will give you editorial coverage in addition if you ask and have a good story.