Last week, our team were invited to attend the annual Media Masterclass put on by The Tourism Society, hosted by TravMedia and held at London’s Trinity House.
The purpose of this annual event is to bring PRs, editors and journalists together to discuss how to continue to form mutually beneficial relationships that work for both parties.
The topic for this year’s event was “The world of digital and a new relationship between PRs, Bloggers and Content Creators: How do travel and tourism brands make this work for them?” Journalists and editors from The Times, Telegraph, National Geographic Traveller, ABTA Magazine and Fabulous Magazine were represented and they gave the audience the inside scoop on how to best grab their attention and get that elusive coverage.
Essentially, we discussed with the panel, and to quote Will Hide, travel writer for The Times, “how do we navigate those Journalists are from Mars and PR’s are from Venus moments?”
As with all great relationships the foundation is great communication.
Topics that came under scrutiny included press releases, pitching stories, how to get a journalist’s attention, the importance of images, the rise of influencers, social media for relationship building and the future of media platforms.
What was clear from all on the panel, is that both editors and freelance writers are increasingly extremely busy and are literally inundated with press releases and emails. For a press release or pitch to stand out it needs to be targeted, relevant, newsworthy and concise.
The panel all agreed that the top paragraph and the subject line are key. The rest of a release or pitch is just back up. So, as a business if you think you have something interesting to say, just remember that you have less than 20 seconds to grab their attention.
Sending a press release or an individual pitch is also a question of timing, and depending on the journalist and the publication, this can relate to something going out that day or something they are considering for a few months down the line. However, the panel did state that everything of potential interest is filed away for articles that may occur in the future, so don’t be surprised if your press release or pitch gets some coverage long after you expected it. One press release can continue to work for you way into the future.
The whole panel agreed that it is really important for our clients to have a great database of images that both reflect their rentals but also the experience that they offer. If you don’t have great images, no matter how fabulous your product, news or story, you will lose out on coverage.
Remember to take images in every season. Your photographs could let you down and stop you being mentioned if your target media are writing an article about Christmas in Toronto, and you only have summer shots. A photograph can tell a thousand words, so keep your photobank up to date.
Social Media was discussed in detail as a way that PR agencies and travel brands themselves can influence journalists and bloggers. The favourite platforms for receiving inspiration and pitches by far, were Twitter and Instagram. All the editors and journalists on the panel said that they use social media, not only to compliment a story they are already writing, but also to inspire them for the next topic.
Keep your social media up to date, don’t be afraid to pitch a relevant idea, share the articles that you have been featured in and keep connected. It all reinforces your message, makes your story more of a hot topic and helps the publications spread the content.
Essentially great PR will identify the difference between ‘buy my product’ and ‘this company has a great product that you should try’. Getting quality third party endorsements is crucial to credibility of your product.
If you would like to chat with us about your PR, content marketing or social strategy – please get in touch.