Communicate Your Food Truck's Marketing Message with Public Relations - dummies

Communicate Your Food Truck’s Marketing Message with Public Relations

By Richard Myrick

You need to determine how to share your food truck’s marketing message with your community. Three of the most common methods of message promotion are public relations (PR), advertising, and social media. Using PR in particular to market your food truck gives your targeted customers the ability to become familiar with what your business is all about before you even hit the streets.

Public relations means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For you, the basic purpose of public relations is to shape and maintain the image of your food truck business in the eyes of anyone who will ever form an opinion about it. The main goal of your public relations strategy is to enhance your company’s reputation.

The food truck industry is extremely competitive. You need to have an edge that makes your business stand out from the crowd, something that makes it more appealing and interesting to both the public and the media.

The public is your current and future customers, whereas the media is partly responsible for selling your brand. Your PR efforts help you give the public and the media a better understanding of who you are.

Although PR is one of the most powerful ways to promote your business, it also has several disadvantages that you need to be aware of:

  • Coming up with an interesting press release isn’t always easy.

  • Measuring the success of a PR campaign is difficult.

  • Selecting the appropriate media may be challenging.

  • Controlling the interpretation of your press releases is tricky.

Do public relations for your food truck yourself

Many start-up businesses don’t have a budget for PR at the outset, so they take the responsibility for PR on themselves. You can take the following steps to get off on the right foot:

  1. Understand what makes news.

  2. Apply your marketing message and determine what newsworthy information you have to share that would interest readers, listeners, or viewers.

    For example, are you launching a food truck that will be the very first of a specific type of ethnic cuisine to be offered in your community? Have you just secured permitting in a city in which you’ll be the very first food truck? Is your business doing a lot of charity work in your community?

    These types of topics are appealing leads to the media, and by talking with relevant journalists, you may secure a few column inches or air time to promote yourself.

    PR is all about getting closer to your audience by amplifying your marketing messages and inspiring others to tell your story. You can get your message to relevant journalists via press releases, your website, and other social media platforms.

Stories that are of interest to your customers but don’t make good news stories are perfect for your website. You can also tweet links to updates and any coverage you manage to secure to make your online presence work even harder.

Getting some help from PR agencies

Owning a food truck can seem like a 24/7 operation where some business tasks simply must be farmed out to consultants to be completed. Read through the following reasons why some food truck owners select this route to help you determine whether hiring a PR agency is the right avenue for you:

  • They don’t have enough time to devote to it. PR requires more than flipping an “on” switch and walking away. PR continues to benefit you only if you put more effort into it. Just like other marketing functions, consistent, strategic, and measurable PR is something that needs to be planned for and executed over a long period of time.

  • They want to maximize their launch. Most business owners understand the importance of their initial launch to the success of their business. PR is much more than just writing a press release and sending it out via a wire service. Having a partner who can maximize your media relations, events, and other PR-related activities in conjunction with a major press release can help you successfully launch your truck.

    If you plan on utilizing an outside agency for your launch, you need to make sure you have a system in place to continue all the energy and momentum you’ve built after the launch is over. The worst thing you can do is launch your truck with a huge amount of fanfare and then fade away without maximizing what you and your agency spent months developing.

  • They’re in a crowded market. Food truck owners who are trying to compete in large, well-established, or crowded markets may see some benefits to hiring an outside PR agency. A good agency can develop a strategy that focuses on your company’s strengths and makes you stand out from your competitors.

Find out about agencies that have experience within the restaurant or food truck industry by asking fellow food truck or restaurant owners for recommendations. Look at press releases issued by other food trucks to see who represents them.

After you identify a few agencies that seem appropriate, take a look at their websites or call and ask for general information about their services, including a complete or mobile-food-industry-related client list. If you plan to get the word out about your opening, hire an agency about a month before you plan to hit the streets.

If you have a limited budget, consider hiring an intern from a local college to do the PR work for you. In most cases, interns will work for a low price or for free.