When publicist Miriam Silverberg took on Meli Melo, a French restaurant in New York City, as a client three years ago, she immediately got to work pitching ideas that would result in the greatest publicity possible.
She dreamed, of course, of a four-star restaurant review in the New York Times. But she’s realistic enough to know that a major newspaper such as the Times, which pays a lot of attention to more expensive restaurants, might never get around to reviewing Meli Melo. So she did the next best thing.
—She contacted much smaller newspapers and magazines based in the Big Apple and invited them to visit the restaurant and write a review.
—She contacted local newspapers targeted at various ethnic groups and pitched general stories about the restaurant.
—She pitched stories about how the owner, Bernard Ros, was responsible for the gentrification of the neighborhood on lower Madison Avenue. Channel 1, the all-news cable channel in New York, picked up that story. Shortly afterward, it also appeared in Newsday.
When I had dinner with Miriam at Meli Melo a few weeks ago while visiting New York, she proudly showed me the framed clippings that graced the walls at the entrance to the restaurant.
Several of them, I noticed, were from Japanese, Chinese and Korean newspapers. I can’t read Japanese, Chinese or Korean, so I had no idea what the stories said.
I pointed to one clipping and asked, “Why did you pitch a Korean newspaper?”
“Because Koreans eat,” Miriam said.
Of course they do. Which raises an interesting point. You don’t necessarily need a Korean angle to your story to get into Korean newspapers. Or an African-American angle to get into African-American publications. Or an Hispanic angle to get into Hispanic magazines. But sometimes you do.
Read the publications before you pitch so you know the kinds of stories they publish. If you don’t know their language, find someone who can translate for you. Searching out smaller newspapers and magazines that serve ethnic markets can pay big dividends.
Learn more tips about how to generate thousands of dollars in free publicity for your food-related product, service, cause or issue. I shared 51 ideas with Jaime Oikle of RestaurantReport.com when I was his guest on a telephone seminar called “Publicity Tips for Restaurants, Chefs & Foodies.”