5 PR lessons from the BBQ


My first word as a child may have been cookie, but I love nothing more than a good, old fashioned BBQ. Whether it’s an all-out kid fest or an adults-only evening get-together with friends, my love for all things BBQ never waivers. You laugh, you eat, and you may even a learn a thing or two while you grill and chill.

That’s right, even a summer pastime like a BBQ has lessons to teach us—especially about PR.

With summer approaching, I’ve rounded up five PR lessons you can learn from a BBQ and implement faster than it takes to prep the grill.

Don’t arrive empty handed

You wouldn’t show up to a friend’s BBQ empty-handed, now would you? Of course not, because it’s rude.

Well-mannered you knows to only show up after checking with your host or hostess on what you can bring. You then arrive with drinks, flowers, or a dessert (or two) in tow.

Much like being a good BBQ guest depends on advanced planning, so does the success of any PR campaign. It’s all about being prepared.

Before you partake in any promotional or media outreach, have a plan. Do your research. Perfect your key messages. Perform a SWOT analysis. Know your target audience.

Always be prepared. I’m almost positive this Boy Scout motto was learned at the grill, too.

Not sure where to start? Our six-post series on drafting a successful PR plan can help.

Practice makes perfect

While watching them in action on the Food Network may make you think otherwise, even grill masters need practice.

Why? Because practice makes perfect.

You wouldn’t throw a giant BBQ for all your friends and family if you’ve never grilled before, would you? I think not. The same can be said about your PR activities

Do a practice run.

Prior to launching a new PR strategy or releasing your latest news, run through your PR checklist as a practice run. This will stop you from spending precious time learning systems you aren’t familiar with or correcting embarrassing typos or other errors.

No one ever failed, in life, PR, or at the grill, because they practiced too much.

Google is your friend

BBQs and Google go hand in hand.

From searching for the length of time entrees should remain on the grill to figuring out what the key ingredients are in the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Rub you love, it’s smart to keep your phone handy for Googling while at the grill.

How else would you know when to rotate your chicken or where to find the YouTube video on how to relight your grill?

Google also is quite handy when you’re performing PR tactics.

A smart PR pro knows to always triple-check their facts, especially the spelling of names, with a quick Google search.

Not sure how to pull together a media kit or draft a PR pitch? While we have fantastic tools for you to use here and here, you also can sometimes find what you’re looking for on Google.

Repeat after me: Google is your friend.

Try, then try again

While Instagram might be bursting at the seams with images of perfectly grilled steaks and BBQ chicken legs, I think we are all fully aware that’s not real life. Or maybe that’s just me, the girl who one time almost burned down a pergola because she needed a lesson in flame control.

Remember earlier when I mentioned practice makes perfect? It’s because almost everyone who approaches a grill needs more than one attempt before they’re a BBQ pro.

Maybe your chicken came out only half cooked or you really put the char in charred vegetables. That doesn’t stop you from swearing off the grill forever, does it? Of course not.

As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. This applies to both barbecuing and PR.

If you don’t succeed the first time—or the five millionth time—keep at it. You’ll get there.

Size doesn’t matter

It’s not the size of the grill, but how you use it.

Because if it was the size of the grill that mattered, then I need to speak with someone at Weber about why they keep making those teeny tiny picnic table-sized models.

The same mantra applies to your PR team and budget.

Don’t be intimidated by other brands or competitors who may have bigger budgets or PR teams than you.

I have friends with one-woman shops who have secured placements on The Today Show and in People without any PR budget or assistance to speak of. One of which resulted in 33,000 orders in the next 24 hours!

With PR, it doesn’t matter how big your business or budget is. It only matters that you put in effort and stick with it. We all start somewhere.

Not sure where to start? We have amazing library of resources on our Hearsay blog and tools in our shop to help.

What PR lessons have your learned from your time at the grill?

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