Earned Media to Boost Awareness: How Food Brands Can Break Through the Clutter and Create Conversation with Editors

Earned Media to Boost Awareness: How Food Brands Can Break Through the Clutter and Create Conversation with Editors

Oftentimes PR practitioners will be asked “what is the difference between PR and advertising?” While both are incredibly valuable, they serve different purposes. There is a saying “advertising is what you say about yourself, and PR is what others say about you.” When a trusted media source features your brand in an unsponsored article, it is a valuable third-party endorsement.

The Benefits of Successful PR

Successful earned media will boost awareness, create conversation and garner attention for your brand. It’s essentially free publicity and can come in many forms such as an unpaid review, press mentions or an online article featuring your brand. Consumers trust the site where they consume their content and take note when editors write about or recommend a product. For example, a product feature in a national news outlet: the Front Burner in The New York Times brought awareness to Del Pacifico Seafoods Shrimp Burgers, which showed consumers where to buy them and helped boost sales.

6 Tips for Successful Pitching

Earned media starts with a concise, compelling pitch to appropriate writers and editors at relevant publications for your brand. It’s perhaps the most important part of getting noticed in an editor’s inbox and the first step to earning media for your brand. If your news warrants a press release, putting together a pitch and attaching or linking back to the press release will help provide additional context for the writer.

Here are a few tips to cut through the clutter and get your pitch noticed in an editor’s inbox:

  1. Relevance and Timeliness: Food brings people together, so leaning into timely holidays, seasonal occasions and celebrations is a great way to position your client in a relevant way for story opportunities. Ex: Handmade Shrimp Burgers to Fire Up the Grill This Summer
  2. Uniqueness: Underscore what makes your brand stand out in the category. How is your story different from your competitors? What resources or experts can you offer to the editor? Ex: Spare Tonic Takes Waste And Creates New Mixer
  3. Proximity: Reaching out to local media is a great way to build awareness and support right in your community. Ex: Lightlife & Austin Based Food Truck ‘The Corn Dog Guy’ Team Up for $1 Plant-Based Corn Dogs 
  4. Impact: Whether your brand is sponsoring a local charity event or has a compelling brand story, the impact tied to your brand can be an important factor when it comes to earned media.
  5. Demonstrate Expertise: Position the brand and founder(s) as thought leaders in their industry and offer interviews to become a go-to resource. 
  6. Create Engaging Content: Do you have amazing photography to showcase, recipes or interesting survey findings you can share? Support your brand’s story with statistics, facts, an infographic, etc.

Amplifying Your Story

Once you’ve drafted a pitch, finding the appropriate media to send it to is key. Paid databases such as Cision or Muck Rack are great places to start to pull relevant media outlets, writers and contact info. However, a traditional Google search or browsing a publication’s website can also help with developing a media list. Conducting additional research on publications and writers is the most effective way to know if you’re pitching the right person. Cision’s 2022 Global State of the Media Report cited that 2 in 3 journalists say the vast majority of pitches they receive are irrelevant. Media switch roles, jobs and beats often, so researching to ensure your pitch is something they would consider covering will go a long way. Personalizing the pitch to the writer will also make a big impact and help to create and maintain relationships with media. 

Attending industry events and conferences is a great way to network with editors, especially from trade publications. For example, the annual International Foodservice Editorial Council event provides an opportunity to nurture relationships with foodservice writers, and the Summer Fancy Food show attracts a large number of media looking to find the latest and greatest in specialty food and beverages.

Once you start earning media, it’s important to leverage these articles on your social media pages. A simple “Thanks @Publication for including us in your feature on best kitchen accessories” with a link back to the article helps put additional eyes on the article and nurtures your relationship with the writer since you’re promoting their work. It’s also important to post to the press section on your website!   

The value of earned media to enhance brand reputation, communicate your story and distinguish you among the competition is vital for success in a cross-functional marketing and communications strategy. If you’re looking to generate earned media and tell your brand’s story with a strategic PR approach, contact us for custom PR concepts and solutions.

Topics: Marketing & Communications, Social Media, Marketing, PR


The Front Burner is a bi-monthly newsletter addressing the latest in food and beverage trends. This in-depth resource helps you stay current in this fast-evolving industry.

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