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PR - rethink how you’re doing things

+ Posted by Peter Bowden

Public Relations is another way to tell your destination's story. There's a added benefit to managing PR the right way as it engages the locals, media, etc., beyond just visitors. The more involved you are with the message, or content, the better. And when working with the media, time is critical; consider that a story or article's lifespan is short -- 48 to 72 hours before it becomes today's headline or gets buried or worse, discarded.

So how do you get the most from a story idea in the shortest period of time.

Share on social media -- Once the story goes live, it’s time to use your social media channels -- in a big way. Share it across social media channels throughout the day and week. It's okay to rework the copy, hashtag and image so you can maxmize reach to a variety of audiences; keep the message fresh. Who wants to read the same post 10 times in a row. Consider pinning that tweet to the top of your Twitter feed. Tag the author, the publication and other companies or individuals mentioned so they can engage their audiences.

The takeaway - do everything to get your news in front of as many people as possible within that three day window (if it takes longer, you're wasting your time).

Implement digital ads -- Early engagement levels can trigger news to trend on social media. Desired outcomes incolude increased reach and the story's chance to rank well in Google search results. Paid campaigns are one of the best ways accomplish this. Digital ads allow you to target larger and more speicific audiences. Social networks are perfect for finding your ideal viewer. Consider platforms like Outbrain, Stumbleupon and Taboola. The key to success is to make your audience want to click and share.

The takeaway -- consider how your audience thinks, what are their wants and desires, and what's in it for them? 

Tap your email network -- Email remains the most effective online platform. It ranks ahead of Facebook. If you’re not using email tactics you're missing out. When your story is available for consumption, immediately launch an email campaign to everyone on your orgnaization's contact list. Use a service for conducting these sorts of campaigns for mass distribution.

Check yourself - send yourself a test. There’s nothing worse than finding a typo after it's been senrt. Always include a call to action -- above the fold... like “Please share this!”

Share with clients -- Treat your clients specialInstead of bundling them in with the rest of your email lists, clients should receive a separate message, acknowledging their role in your  orgnaization's success. This type of communciatiuon goes light years in strengthening your relationship; they may share the good news among those in their personal networks -- without your needing to ask. And this is a key thing you want to happen - advocacy!

Circulate internally -- This is a must. Share the news release internally to get your team excited; encourage them to share the information with their networks.

Messages shared by employees on social media report 561% more reach than the same messages shared by the organization's social media channels; employees have 10 times more followers than their company’s social media accounts. Keep in mind, their content typically receives almost 10 times more engagement than content sharedon company channels.

The takeaway -- people trust people, more so than putting trust in a branding campaign. It gets back to the old advertising rule - word of mouth advertising is the most powerful kind of advertising - social media just puts a new spin on it.

NOTE: When a positive piece of press gets published, get behind it and make a big deal out of it. This is a key way to provide extra lift, extra recognition, success, etc. And always let the reporter who originally published your story know that youre driving traffic to his/her article. They’ll be thrilled to have the support, boosting their readership and will be more likely to work with you again in the future.

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The Author

Peter F. Bowden, TMP

President & CEO, Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau

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