A great promotion idea is only as good as the marketing and PR behind it. When a bar and nightclub owner puts months of planning into an event and no one shows up, all of the energy put into that promotion was for naught. Jeffrey Yarbrough, owner of Dallas-based bigInk PR, says, “Creating a solid relationship with your media outlets is a lot like creating a cocktail. Add the right amount of each ingredient, making sure not to leave any step out, and you will get fantastic results.”
Yarbrough shares a "recipe” to help bar owners capitalize on media outlets and get the word out. “If you follow each step, you will walk away with contacts that are willing to help you and, in turn, increase your media hits,” he says.
1. Do your research and have a plan. Yarbrough advises creating an annual plan, which is the best. He says a quarterly plan is good, a holiday plan “is very minimal” and an annual plan is best. Once you make a plan, do your research on which publications will work best for you. “Don’t go blindly into pitching to media,” Yarbrough says. “Understand your event or your pitch and where you would like to see it in a publication. Pitch for that section only.”
2. Make sure your promotion has value. “Send something press worthy,” Yarbrough encourages. The reader will only read something if it’s interesting. Yarbrough says owners need to ask themselves if even they would want to read the story. “For example, $3 Crown and down is not press worthy. Three-dollar Crown and downs featuring a celebrity bartender or giving proceeds to charity is something worth reading.”
3. Build relationships. Creating a loyal customer base certainly is an owner's No. 1 priority, but Yarbrough also says to get to know the journalists you often work with and see how they like to receive their information. “Don’t be a stranger, and don’t just call when you need something,” he says.
4. Be an expert. Part of building rapport with the media is being “a resource for the editor,” Yarbrough says. “Share what you see and hear around town even if the information doesn’t pertain to you.” By showing that you’re an expert in your field, then you can inform and influence the media, he adds.
5. Mix everything together. By mixing each of these tips together, Yarbrough says owners can create a winning combination, ultimately increasing media placements in the future. “If you look at the big picture, you’ll see that creating strong media relations is very similar to building relationships in any area of life. It’s all about connecting with the person, building rapport and being available when they need your help,” Yarbrough says.