It’s springtime and new food entrepreneurs are introducing their products every day. When you first start your business your initial thought is to send out a press release. Entrepreneurs do this hoping a food blogger or journalist will learn about them. It’s the if I build it they will call syndrome. 
Years ago a press release was an impressive way to gain attention to your product or business. A journalist actually read them. Today, people rarely read. Below are some alternatives to writing a press release. Competition is stiff. And everyone is vying for attention from those writers seeking the next scoop, innovative food or exotic flavor.

Instead of a Press Release

If you want to get the word out about your product or food business consider the following DIY methods.
  • Pitch your business or product. Email journalist with your story. This is not a long drawn out paragraph. Use bullet points emphasizing the most important details about your product or business. Before you email…
  • Google the journalist/food bloggers name
Make sure the articles they write are within the same genre as your pitch. (If the writer pitches organic foods and your products aren’t organic, don’t email them.)  Your email should be one-paragraph. Personalize the introductory paragraph. For example, “I read your series on the popularity of dark chocolate and … ” Show interest in the writer’s work.
The remaining part of your email can be the same for every food blogger/journalist. Keep it interesting and short.
Your subject line should get their attention and describe your pitch.
“Chocolate Truffle Mania Has Arrived in Pasadena.”  Avoid using “For your information.”

Direct Contact

  • If you are writing a food blogger or journalist, format your email as a website posting or blog post. Keep it conversational. Use story-telling language, not a standard press release format. Tag the email with keywords, and link to your company’s website.
Another Great Read:  How to prepare for a Newspaper Interview
  •  Before you send an email, consider sending a tweet to the food blogger or journalist. Turn parts of your email into a tweet. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at getting your message across in one or two tweets.
Consider something like this. “@AshleyMGilday the best vegan cheesecakes are at the 95th Street Farmers Market? Check out Misty’s Vegan Cakes every Saturday morning 10a-3p.” You’ll want to come up with your own original tweet material. If the reporter does not respond, follow up with an email pitch.
  • You may also want to send a Facebook message. Get friendly with a lot of local food bloggers/journalists on Facebook. Always build a local following first. Even if you’re not friends with a food blogger/journalist on Facebook, you can still send them a message. Attach a link or photo if you have one.
  • The next suggestion takes courage, guts, tenacity. Pick up the phone. and start a conversation to gauge a bloggers interest. This will save you time. If you keep your call brief and respectful, the blogger will be happy to point you in the right direction. If they don’t answer or are on deadline, follow up with an email pitch.
  • The final suggestion will take more than courage. It will take temerity to meet a local food blogger/journalist for coffee. Sometimes bloggers are looking for any excuse they can to leave their home office for a while.
 Share some of the tactics you use to get the word out about your business. We’d love to hear about them.