Whetting Food Writers’ Appetites: A Recipe

Over the last 15 years we have become far more attuned to our foods. Be it their flavour profile, country of origin or dietary and healthful benefits, we are always looking for the latest taste, cultural inspiration or natural “superfood.” Out of this interest, a “foodie” culture has blossomed, with entire networks, magazines and websites devoted to our appetites for the most current trends and inspirations.

Brands looking to leverage these influential channels  and provide consumers with greater insight into their products and therefore a stickier commitment to purchase, need to augment their product drops and list of “marketing-speak” benefits with tools relevant to their target media and their food-loving audience.

You can start by ensuring three things: know your media and their beat, your topic is timely and relevant and you have the basic tools available to help others tell your story.

To meet the diverse need of customers, the average Canadian grocery store carries approximately 40,000 different products. This diversity is reflected in the interests or beats of Canada’s extensive and talented roster of food-centric reporters. Do they cover prepared foods, natural foods, organics, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diets? Are they committed to food grown in their region or country or do they look for international chefs of influences found around the globe? Do they want product samples and are they prepared to receive them? Knowing this allows you to better craft messaging that is appealing to their audience and saves money on pointless product drops.

As with food itself, campaigns for this audience also have best before dates. Pushing a Christmas dessert on a print writer in mid-December is as pointless as hors d’oeuvres recipes for an Oscar Party in March. To take advantage of simple timing such as the holidays, seasons or key events, get out well ahead of them so you have an opportunity to be influential in the direction of that story. Look for times or current dietary trends that are relevant to your product and where there is a reason to use your brand’s name because, for example, “it is the only one with X, which makes it appealing to those following (place name of latest food trend here)!”

Finally, as the Boy Scouts say, be prepared. Be able to back-up your pitch with supporting materials that include product and topic fact sheets, recipes that are tested, tasted and accurate, photos of said recipes along with accompanying nutritional profiles. All of these should be in a format that allows the recipient to simply drag and drop the content into their story. (As a side note, all of this will also become engaging content through your organization’s owned, online and social media channels).

To further abuse food metaphors, there is a basic recipe that should form the foundation of all of your outreach. Once you have this knowledge, relatable season or trend and supporting materials, you can then begin to play with timing to reach long and short lead media, independent media, television and social channels when it is most relevant for your product. For now though, I’m hungry and am off to make a sandwich.


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