Whether you run a walking tour, transport company, cafe, B & B or local attraction, your business will always benefit from more people knowing about it. You don’t need an expert to tell you that.
However, many tourism businesses suffer from a lack of time, money and resources to implement a widespread and effective PR strategy. Many struggle to even find the time to update followers on social media or send a marketing email to their database.
Besides time, the most common statement from tourism businesses is that they have nothing to say. Business as usual – what’s newsworthy about that? But that’s where they are wrong.
Traditional media can be your best friend and your worst enemy. The media world is changing faster than we can keep up, and the evolution of how people consume content is occurring at an even faster rate.
Don’t just think about the media being the local paper. No matter where you live, there is always going to be a blog, Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram account following what’s on, what’s happening and things to do. (And if there isn’t, you should be starting it!). In the bigger cities, there are countless new media outlets popping up online or in the street in the form of street press, that are there to feed the hungry content machine week after week and month after month, which in turn feeds consumers – particularly visitors to a region.
Building a database in your local area to tap into these opportunities is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It saves time when you need to get the word out about important announcements, and keeps you front of mind with local media and other outlets putting content together in your region.
Every time you have an update, the formula is simple. Upload it to your own channels, then feed it out to your database. The key is communication – don’t expect the media to come to you. People don’t think about your business unless you put it in front of them. You might not always be reaching people exactly at a time when they want to take notice, but it’s all brand awareness and an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool at everyone’s disposal.
There are some simple steps you can do right away to start implementing a PR strategy in your business:
1. Build a content calendar. Start with one item per month; what is always happening in your business at that time of year? what milestones will be coming up? what new products or services that you will be offering?
2. Get a media release template and personalize it to your business.
3. Start a simple spreadsheet, gathering names and contacts for key local media and content outlets.
4. Write and distribute. Follow the formula – send a media release out once a month and you will begin to get a feel for what content excites your local media outlets and what falls by the wayside. Don’t be afraid of trial and error.
5. Think outside the box. Host a VIP event and invite your local media/contact database to experience your business first hand. They are more likely to promote you in a positive way if they have a personal connection or understanding of your product or service.
6. Keep on top of it. Don’t miss two months in a row because you are too busy. Good PR opportunities will not make themselves, so keep your local outlets informed and on your side.
Remember that getting started is one thing and finding the time to continue is another. The keyword here is consistency, so commit to your communication plan and soon you will start reaping the rewards.