A huge amount of any small business’s efforts must be public relations — getting your name into the public’s awareness through media exposure. Why? Because exposure leads to awareness, interest and sales which ultimately leads to more money and success for your cake business. Many people are convinced that if they make the most delicious and beautiful cakes that customers will simply discover them through word-of-mouth. While word-of-mouth publicity is very important to your business, the truth is that the most successful people are not necessarily the most talented. They are the best marketers. They are unrelenting in their efforts to tell everyone about their business through every means possible.
Today I want to share a tip with you that you’ve probably seen other businesses execute, but were hesitant or unsure of how to do yourself.
Get Free Press in Your Local Media.
Free press is powerful because when someone reads a genuine article about your cake business in a local blog or community newspaper such as patch.com, the reader is actually interested in what you do, rather than being sold something. This is great for you for a couple of reasons:
First, it gives you exposure. Local news and community websites are a huge opportunity for spreading the word about your business.
Secondly, press leads to credibility. Particularly if the article is accompanied by photographs of you and your cakes, it enables the reader to see you are a legitimate business and an expert. In the reader’s mind, if your business is important enough to be the subject of an article or feature, there must be a compelling reason.
Your goal is to be the first item on the list when someone is looking for cakes in your area. By publishing press releases regularly on an event, holiday, or happening in your business, you are more likely to be featured in the local press. Most online press release submission sites also allow photos, which gives you the opportunity to show off your products. Press releases can be submitted to your local newspaper, announcing the opening of your business, specials you are offering, or events in which your business is involved. You can include coupons or special offers in your press releases as well. If you wish to be featured in a website or blog, send a press release via email to the editor or journalist and provide a link back to a page on your website or blog with images and details.
Ideas and Advice for Your Press Release
1.) Make an Announcement, not a sales pitch:
It’s important that your press release not simply be an advertisement for your cake business. Editors and writers receive ads every week and will simply throw your press release away if it is more “sell than tell.” You want to tell a story about yourself or your business. The only exception to pure promotion might be a store opening. Most people are happy to read about a new businesses opening as it is part of the overall success story for their community. Here are a few ideas for stories:
- You receive an award
- You are offering a class or public service
- You donated cakes or cupcakes to a local charity
- You are using other local products such as chocolate, dairy or other local farm-fresh ingredients
- You are sponsoring a scholarship or internship
- You’re celebrating your first, 5th, 10th year in business.
- You’ve taken advantage of a recently passed cottage food law
2.) Make it Count: You don’t want to target just one person or website, you need to cast a wide net.
The effort to write a press release and/or media kit, secure the proper photographs, post to your website, etc. is time-consuming work. You don’t want to make this kind of effort for a one-time try at publicity. Instead, incorporate media relations into your overall marketing plan by creating a list of every newspaper, local blog (e.g. patch.com), and television station within “cake pick-up or delivery distance” of your home. Most of the contact information for journalists and contributors to local news sources are online. Type up their contact information in your e-mail program or in a Word/Google doc. When your press release is ready, send it out in bulk, rather than one at a time.
3.) Keep it Simple : Write in a no-nonsense– who, what, when, where — format. Keep it interesting but not promotional. Also, limit your press release to one page.
4.) Link to photos on your website: Attaching a bunch of large files to an email is a sure way to end up in a writer’s trash folder. Instead offer one or two low-resolution files with links back to your website for larger images.
After sending your press release, follow up seven to ten days later with a telephone call. Ask the writer if he or she sees the possibility of a story about a cake business or small business owners in the future. Keep your conversation brief and to the point. Whether the editor is encouraging or not, be very professional. Thank them for their time and say that you would appreciate them keeping your information on file. You may hear from a journalist a week later or a year later. If you do not hear back right away, you may send a short letter or press release every six months just to keep yourself in the forefront of their mind.