The Pizza Insider: September 2015

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

7 Steps to Press Releases that Get Noticed

perfect press release
If you're just starting out, or have a limited marketing budget, you can start getting the attention of local and national media immediately through a simple press release. At PMQ Pizza Magazine, and really every publication I've worked with in the past, press releases were the first point of contact we had with many businesses, leading many to end up in the magazine, and sometimes even on the cover!

If you've never written a press release before, consider enlisting the help of a professional, or try your hand at one yourself, using the steps below.

1. Decide what you'll announce in your release. Are you having a grand opening, introducing a new menu, throwing a party, celebrating an anniversary? Your press release must announce a timely event, or the media will have no reason to run it.

2. Create a list of publications/editors you'll send the release to. There's a great resource online that links to all of the newspapers in the U.S., making it easy to select papers/editors to send to. Be sure to choose appropriate editors for your news (i.e., food editors, lifestyle editors, etc.). Looking for magazine contacts? Pull up the website of your favorite magazine and click on the contact us page. (TIP: When emailing releases to a group of editors, BCC the group; editors do not appreciate their email addresses shared with everyone.)

3. Find a template online or in MS Word. There are many online templates that allow you to just plug your information into them. Browsing what others have written will also help you perfect your style.

4. Include the most important information at the top. Journalism school teaches us to always tell the reader the "who, what, when, where, and why" right away. You'll want to grab the reader's attention in the first paragraph. Editor's receive a lot of mail and may not read your entire release. Give them the good stuff at the start.

5. Include your contact information. Don't forget to put the best contact person at the top of your release, along with a couple of methods of contact (email, phone). If someone is interested in running your story, you want them to be able to contact you immediately.

6. Attach a relevant photo. Many times, editors are looking for last-minute news and your press release comes in at just the right time. If you've included a high-resolution image, you have a great chance of making it into the paper or magazine immediately.

7. Follow up. Editors are busy people; if you haven't heard back from someone in a week or two, it's perfectly OK to send a quick follow-up email. Most of us appreciate the reminder.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Pumpkin Pizza Recipes to Try

It's almost October, and everyone is going crazy with pumpkin! You'll find it in coffee creamer, candy, beer, cookies, chips, dog treats, ice cream.... You name the product and there's probably a pumpkin version of it.

With all this pumpkin going on, why not give the masses what they want this October? Consider testing a pumpkin pizza as a special on one of your slow nights, or during the week prior to Halloween (you won't need a special during the busy Halloween week).

Here are a few recipes for inspiration.

pumpkin recipe
Photo: Simons

This recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Chorizo Pizza precooks the pumpkin and then combines it with chorizo and red chili for a nice kick.

pumpkin recipe

This Pumpkin Pizza with Crispy Sage keeps things simple by combining pumpkin puree, nutmeg, shredded Gouda cheese and sage leaves.

pumpkin recipe

If your customers can handle some heat, try this easy Curried Pumpkin Pizza with Jalapenos. The spice from the jalapenos and the curry are a nice complement to the sweetness of the canned pumpkin.

pumpkin recipe

Rather use regular toppings with a Pumpkin Pizza Dough base? It's as easy as adding a couple of ingredients into your normal dough recipe. Check out a recipe here.

pumpkin recipe

What about a version of Pumpkin Pie Pizza? This recipe uses a cookie for its crust, which I'd suggest swapping out for your own savory pizza crust to cut down on some of the sweetness.

Have you tried any pumpkin recipes at your pizzeria in the past? Let me know about it in the comments below.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

7 Reasons to Try Vehicle Advertising

car wraps
Credit: Big Mama's and Papa's Pizzeria in Los Angeles
If you've ever considered using your delivery vehicles to advertise your pizzeria with magnetic signs, car toppers, wraps or decals, take a look at these 7 reasons why it could be the best marketing decision you've ever made.

(All of these tips were compiled from my recent article in PMQ Pizza Magazine here.)

  1. Vehicle advertising makes your brand stand out as unique in the area.
  2. The cost to outfit your car with advertising is less than a static billboard.
  3. Vehicle advertising goes where your customers are.
  4. Your vehicles become a source of free advertising.
  5. Reflective or light-up signs can stand out in the dark.
  6. Driving through a neighborhood in a branded vehicle increases orders immediately.
  7. Vehicle advertising introduces your pizzeria to new customers.

Do you currently use vehicle advertising? Tell me how it benefits your business in the comments below.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

9 Reasons You Need a Website

create a website
Hard to believe, but there are still pizzeria operators who believe they do not need a website. Many businesses are now, unfortunately, considering a Facebook or Twitter page to be the new "website." However, social media will not give customers the immediate information they are seeking when it comes to menus and contact information, not everyone uses social media, and these pages usually do not appear in browser searches.

Are you losing potential customers because you don't have a website, and if so, why don't you have one?

Years ago, it used to be a big undertaking to develop a website, involving designers and thousands of dollars. Nowadays there are dozens of inexpensive, and often free, software programs and websites that allow you to build an easy template site in a matter of minutes (they can even take care of getting the domain online for you). With a pizzeria, your site would only need location/contact information, hours, and a menu if you wanted to keep it really simple.

Having a website would do the following for your pizzeria:
  1. Make you look serious about having a business, and staying in business.
  2. Attract new customers that would otherwise not have found you while searching the Web.
  3. Show an increased level of customer service by providing information where your customers are looking for it.
  4. Give you a fighting chance against your competitors who already have a web presence.
  5. Provide your business with additional credibility and allow you to reference your site to business partners, employee prospects, etc. 
  6. Allow your pizzeria's information to be visible 24/7.
  7. Save you some money on advertising and menu flyers by leading customers to the website.
  8. Help you track how many people visit your site.
  9. Save time on the phone since most people will find the answer they need on your site before calling.
Still on the fence? Take a serious look at the benefits above and talk with others who are online about their own experiences.