Beth Atkinson works for the DMA Solutions team where she was instrumental in the growth of her fresh produce clients. Her role as Public Relations Manager includes building brand images and fostering relationships with key influencers to generate effective content. Beth believes that public relations is so much more than “selling an angle.” It is about telling a story that is unique, relevant, and useful to consumers for their overall well being.
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In this episode you’ll learn:
- How to market yourself to fresh produce brands
- Collaboration between fresh produce brands and bloggers
- Authenticity matters
- Stay true to your values
Tell us a little bit about you, Beth Atkinson, and what you do.
I have been in marketing for seven years now. I’ve worked with different types of brands, from CPG brands to technology, restaurants, home appliances, and fresh produce. I really found my passion for fresh produce and the food that’s grown. I am working with an agency now that deals exclusively with fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a dream come true for me and for DMA Solutions. We’re located in Dallas. Our goal is to increase consumption of fresh produce. I lead the public relations team. We believe that building relationships and measuring results are so important when we are working in an industry that is so fluid and deals with mother nature and a lot of the craziness that a lot of companies don’t. It is just so good to be here and working with amazing bloggers who understand the value of fresh food.
Can you talk about how you put together fresh produce brands and bloggers?
I think of it as a kind of dating. If you think about brands in general, you have these massive CPG brands like Coca-Cola, Chobani, or other similar. You expect some brand presence, but it is hard to remember that there are brands behind some fresh fruits and vegetables. When you walk into the grocery store, you just see an array of fresh produce and you just don’t recognize that there are people that are picking fresh produce and putting their company name or brand on it. We want people to recognize that there are people behind your food. The food that is grown doesn’t just appear in your grocery stores. There are people that go out and pick it. It is their name, it’s who they are. When I say dating, it is because most PR people serve as a matchmaker. It’s a business transaction. They try to find calculated results based on a blogger and a brand. My role, however, in the fresh produce industry is like a family member, a sister to her brother – a very personal role. I want to make sure that you are not just a good fit based on the calculations of – Do you have the same interest? Do you feel like a good fit? I also want to make sure that you will compliment my family member. That’s the big difference. Fresh produce is very personal and so family-oriented. There are people and emotions involved because it is a labor of love. People spend years to harvest this food and there is a name behind it. The way that I work in this industry is really different from how people work in other industries.
When one of the fresh produce companies comes to you, can you share what they are looking for in a blogger?
A lot of brands do not really understand what bloggers do in a broad scope. We know that there are influencers out there who are able to write and influence people to go and buy. Basically, we just want someone who can make us sell fresh produce because we want people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s my goal – to help people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. So when a brand comes to me and asks, “How do I do that?”, I recommend bloggers. Recommendation and influence of someone that you trust is way more valuable than a billboard on the side of the road or an ad that pops on the side of the Facebook. What I am looking for is the balance between your writing style, photography, visual aspect to what my brand looks and feels like. People must also be engaging with you. Numbers are important to me. Also, by all means, I want to know that you are getting some traffic to your website and that you have a certain number of followers. I would rather have a blogger who has slightly slow numbers but engages with their community and does have connection. That is ultimately point of influence. People will be going to eat more of what we are selling, and that’s the goal of every brand.
What do you look for in bloggers to promote a fresh produce brand?
In general, there isn’t any one thing. I work with some bloggers who have excellent social media following, but their influence is rooted in them being a dietician, for instance. That’s their value and influence. They have a perspective that does not translate to 500,000 page views a month. It’s a value because people really listen to them and trust them. If you are a social media blogger and people are engaging with you more in social media then it is great. Your blog posts may not be influential in terms of numbers but people are seeing what you post in social media as a result of a blog post. I don’t think that there’s one thing that I look for. I just want your engagement and the quality of how you present yourself to the audience and your authenticity. You are being authentic to who you are as a brand. I want to make sure that I am working with someone who is not just posting to make a dollar, but someone who’s posting with some authenticity of feeling towards what they are working on and who they are working with.
How can bloggers explore working with a fresh produce brand?
Reach out to me! We have clients in every category of fresh produce. I think when you are working on our brand, you just have to do your research and be diligent. The trickiest part in working with fresh produce is we just think that strawberries are just strawberries or tomatoes are tomatoes. If you think like that, you’re just like the majority of the people so don’t feel bad. You have to think that there are people behind multiple farmers who grow strawberries. You have to ask, what group of farmers are you going to connect with? What values of that certain companies can you identify with? Those are the brands that you should be working with and that’s the right place to start. I will challenge you, if the fresh produce brand is approaching you, or if you want to approach fresh produce brands, go to their website and make sure their values are aligned with yours. After, identify where their opportunities are. Where is your vision for a certain brand? You cast vision on what you want on your blog using fresh produce brand and approach someone with that vision and there’s a lot of things that you can do with the fruit, it can make the conversation a lot more easier. You have to find the right company or ask if you have questions to the company about what are their certain practices. It’s important because you are the reflection of that company and they are the reflection of you on your blog. Do your research and reach out if you want to work with fresh produce brand. I think it’s the best industry to work with.
Beth Atkinson works for DMA Solutions where she was instrumental in the growth of fresh produce clients. Her role as Public Relations Manager includes building brand images and fostering relationships with key influencers to generate effective content. Beth believes that public relations is so much more than “selling an angle”. It is about telling a story that is unique, relevant, and useful to consumers for their overall well being. She is passionate about helping people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Website: DMA Solutions
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