PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference Session Reveals How to Pitch Culinary AnglesAugust 30, 2018
No matter what media vertical you’re pitching, journalists seek timely, concise pitches tailored to them. At the 2018 PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, culinary journalists shared their thoughts on what makes a good pitch, the culinary themes they’re seeing and the pitches they aren’t getting (but wish they were!). Here are the key takeaways from the experts: Ashley Day, food editor at USA Today; Amber Gibson, freelancer and contributor to Forbes.com; and Richard Martin, editorial director at Food Republic. Travel PR pros should remember these points when pitching culinary press as part of a destination marketing program.
What’s trending in food coverage?
- Sustainability: Emerging trends such as the search for the meatless burger cross different fields but mainly highlight sustainability, wellness and, ultimately, trying to eat healthier. There’s still a lot of advancement in profiling vegan and vegetarian eating.
- Reinvented Classics: Never underestimate the classics or the power of reinventing them. By tying in a positive cultural trend such as the plastic ban, simply made and deeply adored classics can easily make for a newsworthy story.
- Build Your Own: Pitch healthy alternatives to build-your-own chains serving assorted lunch meats.
- Daily Breakfast Options: Healthy weekday breakfast options that are often overlooked – like curry – are gaining traction.
- Current Food Obsession – Katsu Sandos: Japanese pork cutlet sandwiches are currently all the rage, dominating restaurant menus.
What makes a good culinary pitch?
- Outlet Familiarity: Familiarize yourself with the publication and keep up-to-date with the strategic direction the outlet is heading in – i.e., moving to focus more on digital content or newsletters.
- Hyper-Specific Recipes: Send pitches with information on specific dishes and types of food that the editor covers or takes an interest in – the more unique and specialized, the better.
- Unique Food Holiday Tie-Ins: Although holiday-themed culinary pitching can be overdone, unique holiday tie-ins to a destination are welcome.
- Little-Known Food Trends in Cities: Think about what food is most unexpectedly common in a destination, and consider pitching a food trail or destination guide.
What pitches aren’t coming in?
- Family-Friendly Meals: Editors seek a variety of angles, from dining with kids who have food allergies to finding breweries that offer kid-friendly amenities.
- Small-Town Acceptance: Small towns should really embrace what they’re good at and tell the stories that are unique to them. If locals are generally happy with the food scene, visitors will likely be pleased, too. There’s also ample opportunity for cities that haven’t been over-covered.
The media landscape is ever-evolving, and conversations with professionals in your field – specifically at hyper-focused conferences such as PRSA Travel & Tourism – are a sure way to keep abreast of valuable tactics and information. Plus, you get to mingle and network at night or, in this year’s case, join in on a second line parade down Bourbon Street to the welcoming reception!