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Because TravelAge West works with so many public relations representatives, we’re often asked if we have advice on the best ways to get news items picked up by editors. A while back, I was on a panel at a PR event that addressed this topic, and I came up with a list of tips. While these were originally meant for PR professionals, they can also apply to travel advisors who are trying to get publicity for their business. I thought I would share a few of them here.
First, be specific. Don’t just send the same email to every publication in your area — do some research to understand the media company’s audience, and craft a pitch with that in mind. It’s even better if you find the person in charge of the section that’s best for your news release. Then, you can write a specific pitch, such as: “This informational cruise night I’m hosting would be great in your calendar section.” The idea is to make the editor trust that you understand how your story can be pertinent to the outlet’s audience.
Next, include all the important information. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a great pitch, only to discover that the sender left out the actual location of the event, or the date a new program is set to start.
Finally, give the editors plenty of time. Flash sales are great for your own social media, but they are often useless to a publication that already has content planned out days, weeks or even months in advance.
I thought about some of these marketing basics as I read this issue’s cover story (“Now What?” page 12). Of course, my job is not to promote travel to a particular place, such as Mexico, but if it was, I imagine a basic marketing principle might be: If you want to increase travel, don’t dissolve the official tourism board. However, as you can read in the cover story, a lot of smart people are working on creating a new normal for marketing Mexico. Ultimately, I’m sure they will figure it out, and I’m confident that travel advisors will once again be a major part of their strategy.