Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

4 tips for doing PR in house –
Part 1: Preparation

Kasia Bigda is the Marketing and Communications Director at Mr Lee’s Pure Foods – global food tech company. Prior to joining Mr Lee’s she worked at multiple digital marketing agencies focusing on SEO and content marketing. She loves travelling, nature and psychology.

When I started working for Mr Lee’s we were a startup with no budgets to spend on any agencies, we had to learn how to do things ourselves. It was a perfect opportunity for me to get my teeth into PR and the below learnings will hopefully encourage you to try for yourself.

Preparation will save you a lot of time later and the main part of it is a creation of an awesome media kit. Journos often need all the assets for “right now”, so having it all handy makes it all so much less stressful for you and provides a great experience for them, as they often work on deadlines. And keeping them happy is an investment in your future relationship with them, so definitely worth the hassle!

1. Great images taken by a professional photographer.

This is my number 1 point, as so many brands underestimate the value of a great photography and think they can get away with some “so-so” shots. I can’t stress enough how many times we have heard that the journos “will feature us because they love the colorful and beautiful imagery and how lovely they would look in their magazine or a newspaper”.

Make sure they are made in high quality resolution, good enough to print – it makes the feature so much more powerful! Otherwise they may mention you in the copy, but you can miss out on an image.
I like to keep the images categorized in separate folders on Google Drive/Dropbox (you can then easily share them by sending a link instead of clattering journo’s inbox with large size files). The main folders I suggest having are:

  • Photos of your product packaging – have variety of different images on white and colorful backgrounds: each product photographed separately, all products together, some variations eg. we have vegan flavors, mealy flavors, flavors stocked in a particular supermarket, gluten free flavors only etc. so you can use them for various angles and types of publications depending on your need.
  • Lifestyle images – photos of your product in use, being cooked, eaten, how it looks when is being served etc
  • Photos of the founder/CEO and other company’s spokespeople with and without the product
  • Your Logo (in all sorts of formats 300dpi,.ai, jpg, transparent to name the most common types requested).

Tip: landscape photos take more space on page so will get more attention.

Believe me, you will need them all!

We were lucky enough to have an amazing photographer who specializes in food and drink and works with food stylists, who make sure your food looks as delicious as it can. I cannot even remember how many times we have tried to recreate these in-house and failed…failed big time.

Learning – get a photographer who specializes in your niche. Seriously…you will not regret it.

2. Prepare copy suitable for the publication you want to reach out to.

You will need a bank of different copy variants written for different purposes. I would suggest you to start with:

a) writing around 200 words about your company and product

  • A paragraph about what your business is about
  • Then a paragraph about its mission and/or your company story.
  • The next paragraph will be about your product USPs
  • Followed by a paragraph describing any awards/ achievements.
  • The last paragraph may include a stockists list, info on RRP and any promotions and discount codes.

Journalists may ask you for a different copy length, so you may need to add or remove some paragraphs or amalgamate them together, but this is your core.

b) Write a bio of your founders/CEO with the story behind the brand – what made them to create it and what they want to achieve. The length could be as short as 120 words to comfortable 400 or even 750. I found around 350 words the most useful.

c) If you have any news eg. you are launching in a new supermarket, created a new flavour, improved recipes, done something extraordinary – write about it! There are many templates of press releases out there so you have plenty to base yours on. Adding an image relevant to the story and a quote from the founder or any relevant parties gives it some extra appeal.

I always keep all the different copies I have used in the past, so it is much quicker to adopt them for different purposes in the future.

It is also a good practice to check the publication beforehand and see the style they are using, so you know what to expect!

3. Prepare a media list

In my future article I will suggest some great PR tools which will make the outreach much quicker and potentially much more successful, as most of them will focus on reactive pitching to media who are looking for brands to feature.

If you want to choose the publication you want to be featured in, you will have to be proactive. To get the most relevant media list for you and your product, you may have to create it yourself. All you need is a spreadsheet!

You can also use lists from the internet, but they may be more generic or outdated, so watch out for that.

Where to start? If there is a magazine you would like to pitch, buy an issue and look for the section you want to be featured in. Lookout for the author of this section and usually on the 3rd page of the magazine there is a list of writers/editors with their email addresses. Add them to the spreadsheet together with the name of the journalist and the title of the magazine.
Same rule applies with online features although they sometimes may have News Desk generic email without a specific name or a form to fill in (often you cannot add attachment, so you can then send them a link to your images).

You may want to also categorize your list to customer press and trade press, vegan etc, so when you need it next time, it is quick and easy to find.

Pretty straightforward so far, hey?

4. Learn learn learn

There are masses of webinars, youtube tutorials, courses to improve your skills. I have attended maybe 15-20 different PR trainings in the past few years and have to say that there is no one way of doing PR. Some are saying different things than the others, even contradicting each other sometimes. Also in different countries the approach may be different eg. in the UK newswires (where you upload your press release to reach a lot of different media at the same time) are not as popular as in the USA and Australia.
I particularly enjoy meeting or listening to journalists and hearing their side of the story. One of a few benefits of the COVID pandemic is that there are so many of them happening online now, so get friendly with Eventbrite and keep digging!
Good luck!

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