I have worked in the public relations industry for six years now. In the beginning of my career, I specialized in the fashion industry but over the past few years I have made a transition into hospitality.
Regardless of the industry, there are some PR fundamentals that you should know;
1. Understand your client, their brand, and how to best tell their story.
2. Have a thorough knowledge of your media connections – who they are, what outlets are in line with the stories you are pitching
3. Know how to communicate with the media and what the specific writer’s and editor’s beats are
4. Know how to write a press release and a media alert
5. Know how to write an effective pitch
These are some obstacles I dealt with and how I overcame them:
Learning new media outlets
When I worked in fashion, the type of publications I worked with were obviously fashion-focused: Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, and Marie Claire. In hospitality, the big game players are Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur - just to name a few, and I wasn’t that familiar with these outlets when I first started. I needed to research every single food publication I could find in order to familiarize myself and gain a deeper understanding of each one. Research is key when it comes to PR .
Learning new media contacts
Knowing media contacts and building relationships is so important in PR. Of course, many of my contacts were from the fashion industry and I barely had any connections in hospitality. Again, I had to rely on research and reading; I read articles and paid attention to who was writing for each publication. I knew I needed to have a good understanding of each writer’s beat in order to send relevant pitches. I also started to follow many of them on social media in order build more personal relationships.
Writing more pitches and understating the over-saturation of the market
More writing is involved in hospitality PR than in fashion. While working in fashion PR, I pitched clothing collections and look books to be photographed and featured in fashion editorials; it was more visual in the sense of pitching. Hospitality PR is different because the market is over saturated. There are so many restaurants out there and writing effective pitches to gain coverage is essential.
I had to understand the market better so I did a lot of research on the types of stories that each publication covered. I had to work on my writing skills in order to create unique pitches that would catch an editor’s eye. I studied my client’s menus, and learned everything I could about their brand and them as people to come up with story angles.
I learned so much from working in both fashion and hospitality. At the end of the day, a solid understanding of public relations is essential and a good publicist will know how to transition their skills toward any industry.