The job of a publicist is to create awareness and manage an individual’s or company’s product, image or brand. A good publicist knows how to present their client in a way that entices the media to take notice. As the Editor-in-Chief of Luxe Beat Magazine, I hear from thousands of publicists and public relations firms every day, pitching me authors to interview, products to review and destinations looking for coverage. Coming into the magazine publishing space with years of public relations (PR) experience under my belt, I’m amazed at how inadequate most publicists are in their ability to function in the role.
As I open one pitch after another there are always a handful that make me shutter each day. What prompted the article you’re reading right now, was a press release from a firm promoting eating rabbit on Easter Sunday. The email subject line read, “Easter Recipe: Garlic Rabbit Terrine.” I did a double take. After reading the subject line one more time, I opened it. The subheading read, “The Appetizer Your Easter Brunch Is Missing, Wow Your Guests With A Garlic Rabbit Terrine from Chicago’s Tortoise Supper Club.”
No matter what your vantage point is as it relates to the Easter holiday, religious or otherwise, this PR strategy was done in poor taste. The publicist’s job is to provide the media with a story worth covering. What reputable media outlet would think promoting eating the Easter Bunny is a good idea, any day of the year? I struggled with publishing the full press release when writing this piece and decided to use it as a learning lesson. It is posted at the end of this article.
Several weeks ago, I was speaking to a PR class at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL alongside my business partner and dear friend Maralyn Hill. She’s an alum and we were invited to visit the campus to speak to a variety of different classes about our experience as entrepreneurs. The PR class was our last stop. I brought up the hasenpfeffer faux pas and the 20 or so students and professor sat with jaws dropped. Their eyes bugged out. It was one of the top five real-world examples we covered and had the biggest impact. The reality of working with a publicist should be that of obtaining media coverage and hopefully enjoying the experience along the way. With that said here are my top five tips for working with a publicist to make the most of the experience once they have been hired:
- Does the pitch make sense? The best of publicists will be able to provide reasons why they are packaging your product, service or brand in a certain way. Don’t be afraid to question your PR firms approach developing your public profile. Someone should have questioned the recipe for Peter Cottontail brunch. Not all press is good press.
- Always approve the messaging. From the press kit to the press release to the email pitch, the client should review and sign-off on the content. Have your publicist send you a test sample before anything is pushed out to the media. Read through everything. Are all hyperlinks to your website, social media or Dropbox photos working? Is your name spelled correctly? This past Valentine’s Day I received a press release promoting a “Galentine’s Day” cookbook. When I contacted the publicist to let her know there was a typo, she didn’t respond. She did however email me a week later with a follow-up pitch and the “G” was still there. Sign-off on all press content.
- Photographs and files. As an editor I want to see everything coming from a PR firm packaged up nicely. The easier it is for me to get through the content and use it, if I’m interested, provides a better opportunity for coverage. This include a well-written press release, additional press materials and high-resolutions images. When it comes to photographs they should be JPG or PNG, not TIF. A .zip folder should be attached or a link to Dropbox or some other online media filesharing software provided. The link should be accessible without requiring the media contact to sign-up for anything. Take the time review all files that are being sent out on your behalf and test, test, test.
- Support the work the publicist is doing! There is a responsibility as a client to take advantage of the work your publicist is doing for you. As a publicist I can’t tell you how many clients didn’t follow through when I coordinated a radio booking or written interview. If your publicist is getting you coverage drop what you’re doing and move on it. The media love to work with professionals who are interesting and proficient. Be sure to promote an upcoming interview before and after on your website in your press section and via social media. Provide your publicist with website and social media access to assist on these tasks. Don’t let their hard work go to waste.
- Reporting and contacts. Throughout the course of your PR campaign, your publicist should be keeping track of the work they’re doing. Some PR firms provide weekly reporting and some report at the end of the campaign. Take the time to review the reports and have your publicist go over it with you if you need further explanation. Don’t forget to save the reports and media contacts so you can follow-up in the future directly.
Establishing a collaborative relationship with your publicist will strength your campaign and build a long-lasting relationship, even after the campaign is complete.
PRESS RELEASE REFERENCED IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE:
Email subject line: Easter Recipe: Garlic Rabbit Terrine
The Appetizer Your Easter Brunch Is Missing
Wow Your Guests With A Garlic Rabbit Terrine from Chicago’s Tortoise Supper Club
It’s hard to believe but Easter is just around the corner! While lamb and hand-carved ham are the traditional dishes to serve on the Sunday holiday, rabbit is becoming an increasingly popular option. Aaron Browning, Executive Chef of Tortoise Supper Club in Chicago, is one foodie who is a big fan of infusing some culinary creativity into a traditional Easter feast.
Believing that rabbit is a delicious and underappreciated protein, Chef Browning will be adding a rabbit appetizer to Tortoise Supper Club’s famously expansive Easter Brunch Buffet this year. In addition to traditional brunch favorites, multiple stations and an iced seafood bar overflowing with jumbo shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell and ahi tuna poke guests can enjoy Chef Browning’s Garlic Rabbit Terrine.
Can’t make it to Tortoise Supper Club for Easter this year? Chef Browning is sharing his recipe so everyone can enjoy this holiday delicacy at home with friends & family.
Garlic Rabbit Terrine
3 Rabbit Legs
¼ Chopped Thyme
1 tbsp. Cracked Pepper
10 Clove Garlic, Chopped
3 tbsp. Armagnac
3 tbsp. Chopped Parsley
1 tbsp. Grated Orange Zest
1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
⅛ tsp. Ground Clove
Rub rabbit legs liberally with salt, garlic, thyme and let sit overnight.
Next day, rinse legs under hot water and pat dry.
Melt enough duck fat to cover legs.
Place legs in fat and bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook covered at 350 degrees for 2 hours.
Remove legs from fat and cool fat.
Shred rabbit meat in a bowl.
Add parsley, Dijon mustard, cracked pepper, Armagnac, orange zest, and ground clove.
Stir to combine.
Add some chilled duck fat to moisten mixture.
Place mix in a jar or mold and chill for 12 hours.
Serve with Toast Points, Crackers or Crudités
For more information about Tortoise Supper Club please contact SCPR directly. Chef Aaron Browning is available for on air cooking segments and high resolution images are available upon request.
About Tortoise Supper Club: Located in Chicago’s bustling River North neighborhood, Tortoise Supper Club (TSC) is a stylish yet approachable restaurant and lounge that invites guests to “dine well and dine together.” The metropolitan supper club offers patrons a singular dining experience that celebrates the authentic charm of the classic American supper club while also catering to the needs of the contemporary diner.
The warm and inviting space is punctuated with pieces of Chicago history, original artwork and family heirlooms from owners Keene and Megan Addington (both of whom have deep Windy City roots.) At its core, Tortoise Supper Club is truly a family run restaurant: Keene and Megan are on site almost every day greeting guests at the door, stopping by tables to say hello and connecting with patrons from all walks of life.
At TSC, guests are treated to an elevated dining experience that combines steaks, chops and seafood with handcrafted cocktails and friendly, attentive service. Created by Executive Chef Aaron Browning, TSC’s menu includes signature dishes like Chilean Sea Bass with Sautéed Watercress, Ginger, Coconut Rice & Shrimp Ragout, 12 oz. Peppercorn Crusted New York Strip Steak served with Au Poivre Sauce and Oak Aged Bourbon Meatloaf with Foraged Mushrooms and Buttery Mashed Potatoes. Understanding the dietary restrictions and lifestyle choices of today’s diner, Chef Browning proudly offers many gluten free options.
Weekly specials include Half Priced Signature Cocktails on Wednesdays, Salmon En Croute with Scallop Mousse and Lobster Cognac Sauce on Fridays, Northwoods Dry Rubbed Prime Rib on Saturdays and $1 Oysters / $1 Shrimp Cocktail from 4:30 – 6:30 pm on weekdays. Live Sinatra-style jazz music is played in the lounge every Friday and Saturday night.
Tortoise Supper Club is located at 350 North State St. in Chicago, IL. Lunch is served Monday – Friday from 11:30 am – 4:00 pm; dinner is served Monday – Thursday from 4:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Friday & Saturday from 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm and Sunday from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. The lounge is open until midnight.