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From the Field: Tips on Publicity

Posted on October 04, 2017

By: Rebecca Pang, President, Rebecca Pang & Co. and publicist for Family Ingredients 

Family Ingredients, a TV series that celebrates Hawai‘i’s stories through food, was ready to make its Season One debut in Summer 2016. In the show, host/chef Ed Kenney meets up with different Hawai‘i personalities to take viewers on a culinary adventure. Kenney and his guest uncover the history of a favorite childhood dish, leading us to learn more about who we are, one delicious memory at a time.

While the show was picked up by PBS Hawai‘i, and available to PBS stations nationwide, there was no guarantee which PBS stations would pick up the show. The production team was confident that great PR would help get the series picked up in multiple markets, so I was contracted by Rock Salt Media to help with publicity efforts.

My primary objective was to generate local and national PR coverage to inform potential viewers about the show, thus help attract national PBS stations to carry Family Ingredients. The positive buzz would also be encouraging for show sponsors.

As a result of targeted media relations efforts, Family Ingredients was a huge hit with the media. The show was featured in practically every print, broadcast, and online media outlet in Hawai‘i, including neighbor island publications. Stories were generated in national outlets like Open Table, San Francisco Chronicle, 7x7 and more. Stories ranged from the show announcement to background stories on the show’s key players, to the history of a food dish, to how the production came to be.

Season One of Family Ingredients was a major success, getting picked up in 92% of the PBS stations nationwide. Available in 105 million TV households, the numbers are reflective of the major PBS stations nationwide that broadcast the series, including key markets such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Boston, and San Diego. Family Ingredients was also available on Hawaiian Airlines' video-on-demand and online at pbs.org.  


Here are some basic publicity tips:

Tip #1: Do your research.

Make a list of all the local media outlets you want to get coverage in, find contact information for the reporters, and prepare different story pitches. Before your project even starts, it’s worth meeting up with a few journalists to give them a heads up on your project.


Tip #2: Write a press release.

Some people say the press release is dead, but I disagree. This is still an important tool for any PR person. For your release, you’ll want to explain the “who, what, when, where, and why” – in generally 500 words or less.  You can always follow up with more detailed information depending on the writer’s angle. 


Tip #3: Prep media assets and interview subjects.

Prep your photos, videos, and spokespeople before sending out your press release and starting your media outreach. After you pull the trigger on media outreach, be ready to answer emails and phone calls from journalists on deadlines, and know when your spokespeople are available for interviews.


Tip #4: Keep trying.

If journalists are not biting on your story, try another angle or another outlet.


Tip #5: Share!

After you’ve done all the legwork of pitching and securing media coverage, share articles with your team and on social media. It’s easy to “boost” your posts through social media advertising to generate even more awareness about your project or film.

As a result of the outstanding media coverage and positive buzz for the series, Family Ingredients was picked up by National PBS for Season Two, which is set to premiere on PBS Hawai‘i on October 11, 2017. I hope you’ll tune in or meet our team at one of our weekly screening events.  Follow @FamilyIngredients on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates. 


Photo: Renea Veneri Stewart


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