July 10, 2019

Learning about PR (warning long post!)

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Hi! I’m Jane. Some of you might remember me from when I was taking customer orders and pouring coffee at Clover DTX 🙂 Now I manage the marketing department.

I got a concussion a few weeks ago playing frisbee (I’m okay now!) and had to limit my screen time. I wrote out this entire blog post with pen and paper and transcribed it when I was feeling better.

The subject? PR. Clover used to be downright anti-PR. (I wasn’t here at the beginning but Lucia’s told me about how Ayr would send journalists away when they came to the truck). Ayr wanted to stay focused on the food. I can imagine this approach felt very grassroots, small, local, cool.

Things are different now. The days of the food truck with an unpublished address and a whiteboard for a menu don’t feel that far away sometimes, but now we celebrate when someone notices Clover and publishes something about us (in the PR world this is called “earned media,” a term for anything that gets published about you without you explicitly paying for the coverage). And as we plan new locations, we know that people need to know about us!! Not just insiders. Not just folks in Boston. EVERYONE.

We’ve generally had a pretty good trickle of articles. We’ve had great articles written by skilled journalists. We make top lists for food in the Boston area (yay!). We get a fair amount of coverage for Impossible meat (even now, nearly 2 years after we first put it on the menu). Bloggers love us, and social media engagement is super high.

Where we fail? We’d love to be able to write a press release on a deeper topic, send it out to a network of journalists, and have confidence that it’ll get picked up and circulated. Lucia and I actually gave this a shot a few months back, to no avail. We thought we had such fun ideas too! About the coffee industry, and Ayr’s trip to the Montecarlos coffee estate. Maybe I’ll write about that particular failure sometime soon.

I’ve been doing some research into PR. It seems like the two opinion camps are “do it in-house!” vs. “hire a great agency!”

Clover’s been pretty solidly in the “DIY” camp, but with limited success (again, the failed pitch from a few months back). When it comes down to it, I do think that with the right amount of time and effort we (we = me, Lucia our Creative Director, and Ayr our founder/CEO) could churn out some great PR in-house. But none of us have the time! Lucia designs almost everything coming out of Clover. I oversee a whole department. Ayr is literally our CEO. And there are skills and connections that we simply don’t have.

So, this is my really long-winded way of saying – Clover is looking for a PR firm! We have some big ideas and want a partner who sees what we see (and maybe even what we don’t see!) and can make it happen for us.

We’ve gotten a few recommendations from industry friends. We’ve been having informational interviews these past few weeks with folks in Boston, Vermont, LA, and New York City. If you’re interested, we can keep you updated on how things go.

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