Three Ways to Win With Today’s Food Media

FLM Harvest

The iconic food magazine isn’t really a magazine anymore. Food media have become full-fledged media platforms and brands. At the United Fresh BrandStorm conference in Austin, a panel of food media called out these expanding connection points as a top media trend.

Media are now offering food marketers sponsorships for events, social media placement, digital campaigns, customized video and other opportunities for deep, meaningful connections with target audiences. We couldn’t help but be proud of how we’ve brought these connections to life with the partnership our team has developed between the Mushroom Council® and Bon Appetit, featuring custom stories, sponsored videos and consumer contests.

BrandStorm is an annual gathering of marketers from produce commodity boards, associations, brands and distributors. With about 350 marketing and communications pros attending, this highly concentrated conference allows for a more intimate setting to exchange ideas and foster inspiration.

As a media junkie, my favorite session was “Winning in Today’s Food Media,” featuring renowned food editors, content directors and talent offering tips on how brands and commodity groups can take advantage of the changing media landscape.

1. View Media Outlets as Multimedia Brands
Representatives from Food & Wine – with its origins as a beautifully thick, glossy book of chef stories and deliciously photographed recipes you someday aspire to cook in your kitchen – and Food Network – originally a 24-hour basic cable channel – both shared how their outlets have become multimedia brands, offering many opportunities for additional earned media coverage and sponsored content. F&W now hosts pre-eminent foodie festivals, and its sponsored social posts often reach more consumers than a print magazine feature. Food Network noted its “Food Network Kitchen” app features 50 live cooking classes a week.

2. Honor All Cultures Through Produce Outreach
Carla Hall, chef, former host of “The Chew,” TV personality and best-selling author, encouraged food communicators to always think about how various cultures embrace foods differently. The same fruit or vegetable has myriad applications across multiple races and nationalities. For example, some cultures take pride in using the whole plant, head to tail. We should learn this and honor it in our outreach. It will only grow the brand.

3. Slice Up Your Story for Fragmented Outlets
Kristen Hartke, an independent journalist who writes for outlets such as the Washington Post and NPR’s The Salt, reminded food communicators that – thanks to media fragmentation – one story idea can be sliced differently for various outlets. When pitching, publicists should serve up multiple ideas for how a freelancer can customize a big idea.

Food media is evolving rapidly, barely resembling the 2015 version of itself. Never has there been more options for content and opportunities for marketers. The plate is overflowing.

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