Marketing your brand new home bakery can be a struggle. Even if you have the best product, then being the best serves no purpose if nobody knows about it. There are easy ways to get noticed, such as starting a website or social media page. But have you considered reaching out to local media?
Press coverage can be found on several different outlets, whether it’s a printed newspaper or magazine, an online news source, a social media page, television, or radio. Press exposure can build your awareness in your community and give you a boost of credibility.
This post will explain five crucial steps to getting free press coverage for your home bakery. It might take a little more time and effort on your behalf, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
1. Start with a Good Background Story
Before you start pitching for press coverage, you need to start with your business story. Why is this important? Well, writers and newscasters get multiple pitches per day. You need to stand out from the crowd. The same old, “I started my business because..” won’t do the trick. They want to know why your business not only wants to exist but needs to exist.
Typically press, like to write about new businesses, hometown heroes (that’s you), a business anniversary, product launches, something tied to holidays.
Are you an ER nurse who started baking to relax and discovered a love for it? Did you lose your job and needed to bring in money to support your family? Think about your unique story.
Adding a good background story will also help you to level with your customers. It brings a face to your business. As customers read about your unique story, they will become more interested in you and your business. The background story will pair with your startup story for something compelling enough to be picked up for press coverage. (Source: Neil Patel)
2. Research Local Press in Your Area
Research press outlets in your area– monthly magazines, daily or weekly papers, online pubs, and even local tv. Think about what you read, watch or listen to to get your local news. Your goal is to reach potential customers in your community, so lean into your connection for the research.
Create a spreadsheet and add contact details including email addresses for each outlet. Take some time to review the journalist’s recent work. Reference a piece or two when you reach out. Everyone appreciates being recognized for their work. This background research is all building towards establishing an on-going relationship with these journalists.
3. Write a Press Release
One way to get free press coverage is to write a newsworthy press release. Also referred to as a news release, a press release is simply a document that has something attention-worthy about your business. It could promote your grand opening, the start of a delivery service, a professional collaboration, or a special deal you are offering.
If you have something to say, then consider writing an attention-grabbing press release. This will excite people and get them talking about your establishment. Also, if the press release is intriguing enough, it will end up being shared. The more it’s shared, the more potential future customers will see it.
To write a top-notch press release, you only need six things:
- Headline. This will be what grabs people’s attention. Make sure the headline is clear, catchy, and, most importantly, news-worthy.
- Location. Make sure you do not forget to include your area of service.
- Strong Lead. Here is where you explain why your press release is news-worthy.
- Body. Here is where the actual information will be placed. Make sure to include everything the potential customer needs to know.
- Boilerplate. This is where you will describe who and what your business is all about. Be sure to include that you are a licensed home business.
- Press Contact. Lastly, add the contact details for your business.
(Source: Blog. Just Reach Out.Io)
4. Engage with Local News Reporters
If nobody has told you yet, networking is an extremely critical part of owning a business. Networking will allow you to get ahead, whether it’s finding more customers, getting a discount, or collaborating with other businesses. All these types of networking are great, but you shouldn’t forget to network with local reporters.
Now, remember that local news reporters don’t have to mean television. If you can find a way to get in good with a TV crew, then, by all means, go right ahead. But this can be a lot more challenging for a brand new business. Instead, start small. Start following some popular local press outlets onTwitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
Once you have started following them, begin engaging with them. Comment on their posts, share their relevant stories and participate in their polls. You want to develop a relationship. Eventually, the relationship builds, and you can reach out. (Source: ThriveHive)
5. Reach Out Instead of Pitching
Many new businesses think that pitching is the only way to go. Sure, it’s a quick and easy copy and paste email, but most pitches are going to be ignored.
To reach out, you want to get rid of any generic pitch emails you may have been considering. A templated approach is not the way to do business, and you likely will not get a response.
Instead, do the following:
- Create an attention-grabbing email. Make sure the subject line is just as intriguing as the content. Don’t use all caps to get their attention, though. It’s disrespectful and rude. Add plenty of standout details that make the influencer, writer, or newscaster want to give your business coverage.
- Add personality. Again, you don’t want to sound like a generic robot. Add some personality so that the person on the other end feels like they are getting to know you. They will be more eager to help you.
- Don’t forget your contact information. Include all of the information about your business as well as a phone number.
- Include a sample of your baked goods. There is nothing wrong with giving a free sample.
- Follow up. If you do not hear within a week, there is nothing wrong with following up. If you don’t hear after the second email, it’s probably not going to happen. But there are other possible stories down the road.
Starting a new venture is hard as you deal with getting control over its many facets—the one thing all successful businesses have in common: customers. Press coverage can bring a lot of much-needed attention from potential customers. If people don’t know about you, they can’t buy your products.
Be careful that you don’t reach out to the press too early. Get some experience under your belt with photos of your work and customer testimonials.
Don’t give up if you don’t hear back after contacting the media. Not hearing back is not the same thing as a no. Remember, this is about building long term relationships.
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Check out my blog archive for more helpful articles. Follow me on Instagram at @whiskwarrior, where I post weekly tips, resources, and personal experiences operating a home bakery and retail bakeshop.