Homegrown By Heroes – PR with a (purple) heart

In July 2015, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture launched the first statewide, state-supported program – Indiana Grown – that creates a clearer designation of which products are truly farmed, produced and/or processed in Indiana. Through Indiana Grown, the term “local” started to take on an entirely new meaning.

Pence-launching-Homegrown-By-Heroes-.-270x180By focusing on its three major components – including educating consumers on the importance of buying Indiana Grown products, increasing sales and networking opportunities for Indiana farmers, and expanding support for Indiana processers in their effort to process more Indiana Grown products – Indiana Grown has already witnessed great success for its more than 400 members.

With membership on the rise, Indiana Grown is continuing to build its portfolio of benefits with the launch of Indiana Grown Homegrown By Heroes, a program that aims to recruit Indiana Veterans to the agriculture industry.

HomegrownThe launch of this program was celebrated publically at the Indianapolis War Memorial on Feb. 29. In addition to the presence of many Indiana Grown representatives and members, Gov. Mike Pence, the Department of Veteran Affairs, Homegrown By Heroes and the Farmer Veteran Coalition offered support at the press conference announcing the new veteran-focused program.

Homegrown By Heroes is a national program administered by the Farmer Veteran Coalition that includes more than 250 members in 43 states, including Indiana. By teaming up with Indiana Grown, the new program gives local producers who have served in the military the opportunity to use an exclusively-designed logo on their business signage and/or product labels. As a result of this added marketing logo, consumers can easily identify products made by Hoosier veterans and support them through every purchase.

As the PR agency on record for ISDA’s Indiana Grown program, Dittoe PR worked diligently to build awareness through personalized media relations, resulting in more than 50 pieces of TV, digital and print coverage in the first week since launch. Our team is thrilled to play a role in telling the story of programs such as Indiana Grown that focus on better supporting Hoosiers and Hoosier veterans in agriculture.

Sputnik-sized grand opening propels Broken Beaker Distillery

Focusing on the experimental side of distilled spirits and craft cocktails, Broken Beaker Distillery opened its doors yesterday to a warm welcome (minus the weather). The bar was packed and popping within the first ten minutes and didn’t slow down until last call.IMG_9079

Inspired by their owners, a chemist and an engineer by trade, Broken Beaker combines humor and science to create an atmosphere unlike any other on the popular Massachusetts Avenue.

The distillery focuses on the ‘experimental’ side of craft cocktails. Periodic table shelving extrudes from behind the bar and holds signature and seasonal spirits with quirky, scientific names. Broken Beaker’s soapstone bar top and classic laboratory bar stools bring back memories of a high school chemistry classroom while foosball tables and 50-inch TVs modernize the trendy 3,500-square-foot distillery.

Guided tours provide customers and alcohol aficionados a sneak peek into the on-site distillery and encourage feedback and ideas for future science-infused spirits. An outdoor patio is already planned for this spring.

How Dittoe PR assisted in the Broken Beaker opening
IMG_9019Broken Beaker is Mass Ave’s first on-site distillery and a business with a story that was begging to be told. Needless to say, hiring the professional storytellers at Dittoe PR was a no-brainer for these science minded entrepreneurs.

Leading up to the grand opening, Dittoe executed several communications tactics that secured mountains of coverage and ensured that the distillery would be on the forefront of everyone’s minds.

We created and managed Broken Beaker Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, using these to connect with food and beverage reporters, on-air personalities, restaurant reviewers and influential Indianapolis thought leaders. Our established relationships with members of the local media earned us coverage in nearly all relevant outlets including, The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Monthly, WTHR, Fox59, WISH TV, and Indiana On Tap.

IMG_9047Finally, Dittoe organized an exclusive VIP event with social media influencers, local media members as well as movers and shakers in the Indianapolis tourism scene. This generated a palatable buzz the night before the event which carried over until the grand opening.

Stop by Broken Beaker Distillery

With Dittoe PR’s assistance, Broken Beaker Distillery is well on its way to becoming a unique and popular staple in a neighborhood known for its iconic nightlife. They’re located at 643 Massachusetts Ave., next to Ralston’s Draft House. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that stopping in for a drink is a good idea!

6 Reasons Your Pitch Isn’t Working

It’s no secret that journalists don’t love the stereotypical PR pro (hence Twitter handles like this), but the reality is public relations helps keep the news flowing. This is only the case, however, if you’re doing it right. Nobody appreciates a stale email, inappropriately addressed email, mass email … the list goes on. News and magazine staffs are declining year after year, which means a decrease in available journalists to share your pitch with and an increase in how annoying a pitch can be. Don’t ruin a relationship with a reporter before it starts because it will only make your job harder.

More often than not, 75 percent of the time they aren’t responding because of deadlines, not enough time or they just aren’t interested, but what about the other 25 percent? It’s your pitch, folks.

  1. There is a person at the other end. One of the biggest things journalists tend to notice is a personalized pitch vs. e-blast. They appreciate knowing you researched their beats and stories, read them and found a way to present your idea based on those findings. They have names, too, so be sure it’s the right name in your intro. Personalize every time!
  2. Wrong, try again. With shrinking newsrooms, it’s not always easy to figure out exactly who is covering what beats. But pitching the wrong person is a PR pro’s worst enemy. If you’re not sure, call the news desk and ask. They’ll appreciate the research more than the apology when you realize you pitched a food drive story to a tech reporter.
  3. “So what?” Pitching a story that has very little (or none at all) newsworthiness will get it sent to the trash. If your pitch has them saying “so what?” then forget it. Just forget it.
  4. Local, local, local! Even if a broad-angle story has relevance in a small market, they aren’t going to jump on the bandwagon unless there is a (very) strong local tie. This can also go both ways – a very local angle won’t make it on national media outlets without a bazaar element to the story or something to bulk it up.
  5. Third time isn’t always a charm. PR is about building relationships. If one story pitch doesn’t work, it’s good to go back with more compelling news or a new angle. However, if you’re second (third, fourth, fifth …) pitch is just as lame as the first, good luck getting a response … ever. Don’t constantly share irrelevant or uninteresting story ideas, because writers will start to write you off completely.
  6. Timing. If you’re working with a national client, chances are you’re pitching to people in different time zones. This rule is simple, don’t pitch a writer on the west coast at 5 a.m. his/her time and expect an answer. By the time they check email, your pitch will be long gone and buried in the depths of their inbox. Plan it out accordingly and know where each writer is based before you pitch.

PR pros can’t fear rejection. It’s just part of the business. But, why make it easy for a reporter to say no? Take your time with each pitch, because one bad pitch could haunt you for much longer than it would take to do it right the first time.

Have other PR pitching do’s or don’ts? Share with us on Facebook.

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