The world of PR has changed from the days we thought a spread in a Sunday newspaper travel supplement was the holy grail. People pay attention to a different range of media now, and podcasts, blogs, Instagram and Facebook groups hold a much bigger grasp of customer attention. Most of these sources have much greater sticking power than traditional media as well, so we have to create the right content and work harder at connecting with influencers.
Back in 2005, I hosted a journalist at one of my properties in Ontario. We’d invested in 6 months with a travel PR company at not an insignificant cost, and were getting weekly mentions in local newspapers around the UK. Then, the call from the Sunday Times came. They wanted to send one of their travel writers to spend a few days at our cottage, as part of a wider visit to our area. Air Canada and Ontario Tourism sponsored the visit, and we gave him our place as a base.
The result was a double page spread in the newspaper and a lot of traffic to our website. But, for most people, the paper would be consigned to the garbage the following day, so it was very short-lived publicity.
Now of course, all the newspapers have online editions, albeit behind paywalls so this type of coverage is limited to subscribers.
What may work better is blog content issued by influencers who carry weight with their audience, as long as they are your demographic.
How you connect with those influencers is the key to getting them to take interest in you and what you are offering. It’s not enough to just send information on the property and how great it is – you have to engage with them and show you are genuinely interested in their community and have something more to offer than straight promotion.
In “The New Rules for Public Relations Success”, writer Cheryl Conner shares some pointers for succeeding in PR – many of which apply perfectly to our industry and how we share our message. In particular,
“Value-added information for your audience is more valuable than promotion and hype. Educative information has been the greatest key to successful public relations since the beginning of time. But in today’s connected universe, the value is easier to quantify and measure than ever before. According to Conductor.com, a consumer is 131% more likely to purchase from a vendor who publishes an educational article they have read. You can’t afford to lose an advantage like this.”
This applies to every part of social media – particularly on Twitter where you are most likely to find influencers hanging out. Engage with them with your most valuable content, and you may well find them knocking on your door for more information.
Jessica Gillingham has been involved in travel PR for years and over the past five years has dedicated her skills to the short-term rental niche. Working mostly with providers to the industry she understands the nature of the business and how to connect with the right people at the right time.
In this episode, Jessica talks about how influencers work to spread good content; whether it’s still worthwhile hosting a journalist at your property, and how to establish their credentials.
- How PR provides an environment in which sales can happen
- What an influencer is and how they can help
- What good PR can do for a vacation rental owner and manager
- How to do your own PR effectively
- The questions to ask when a blogger wants to stay in exchange for publicity
- The value of subscribing to HARO