When you hear “media”, your first thought is probably “how much will this cost me?” While that’s a legitimate question, there are ways to partner with the media without investing in a huge advertising campaign. For example, newspapers are desperate for increasing their circulation, so they are very open to promotions that are tied to new subscriptions. It could be as simple as an offer to sign up for a subscription and receive dinner for two at your restaurant. I’ve seen this promotion where the newspaper prints rack cards that go on front of every newspaper machine in town, advertising the promotion and your restaurant. The only cost to the restaurant was the food cost of redeemed certificates.
Another opportunity for low cost media is to feed the local disc jockeys. Providing food to the on-air staff is often good for some free plugs on the air, as they talk about the great food they’re enjoying. You also may be able to get some promotion in exchange for gift cards, as most stations have ongoing trivia quizzes or contests that are always in need of a steady stream of prizes.
But in today’s digital age, don’t limit yourself to thinking “media” only means the traditional mediums of television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Many old-school media companies are struggling while audiences continue to build on alternative mediums. With social media, you can still find low-cost opportunities to gain large visibility.
A few of today’s media that you might want to pursue include:
PODCASTS – These are growing at an incredible rate, and they provide the ability to target a very specific audience, because most successful podcasts are created for a very narrow niche of people. Most podcasts have little advertising or sponsorships, so you could get some publicity for the price of a free pizza (or whatever food you serve.) You could become the official restaurant of a podcast, or you could provide gift cards to be used as giveaways to help build the podcast’s audience.
BLOGS – There are blogs that have built huge audiences. These bloggers have become thought-leaders and influencers who can motivate their audience to do specific things, like come to visit your restaurant. Offer to do an interview, provide useful content, or provide prizes for their promotional efforts. They are also trying to build their audience, so if you propose a way that helps both of you, most bloggers will go for that.
FACEBOOK GROUPS – You know about Facebook pages, but you can connect with large groups of people with shared interests in Facebook groups. Look for groups in your town or city. Join in the conversation and become a trusted participant in the group, without trying to advertise or promote. This will build awareness and relationships, which will result in visits to your restaurant. You can also find groups to join on Linkedin. These can be helpful to build awareness of your business, plus they can be a valuable source of information for you, when you join industry-specific groups.
VIDEOS – Videos are the hottest commodity on the internet. From YouTube to Facebook and most of the other social media platforms, videos are the most viewed and most clicked on items online. Look for video opportunities for your restaurant. Something fun and wacky could go viral. Or your chef could do short cooking classes. The ideas can be endless.