PR 101: How to Pitch Travel Journalists
Spring is here, which means travel season is upon us! For those of you in the travel communications business there are countless of opportunities to tell yours story to travel journalists, bloggers, influencers – and consumers. But how do you reach the always-on-the-move travel media? Using Cision’s proprietary research of thousands of travel journalists, we have come up with six tips that will help your travel pitch get noticed in a flooded inbox. Because if you take a strategic, research-based approach to your editorial contacts and keep in mind these six tips, you will transform your travel pitching schedule into a true media plan.
Not All Travel Pitches are Created Equal
Pitching travel stories blindly causes an overflown editor’s inbox and an ignored pitch. Make the best out of your travel pitch by knowing specifically what type of travel the journalist covers. Is it local, budget friendly travel? Does he or she focus on family travel? Or perhaps they are covering newsworthy travel destinations tied to a trend? Whatever the angle might be, taking the time to familiarize yourself with the type of travel content a journalist covers shows respect and thoughtfulness and will get your pitch noticed. One of the top pet-peeves journalists mention is when a PR professional sends blind, poorly researched pitches.
Think Like a Journalist
Among one of the top requests travel journalist have is to include the basic particulars in your pitch: who, what, when, why and where. Thinking like a journalist will help you craft your pitch with the information a writer needs, which will ultimately saves both you and the editor precious time. Thinking like a journalist also includes sending high quality images of the travel places you are pitching, as well as your detailed contact information should the editor needs more information. Also, send pitches that have a unique angle and a good headline.
Keep Readers in Mind
The top priority of travel journalists — and any journalist, really – is their audience. Keeping the reader in mind while pitching will set you apart immediately. Remind bloggers/writers how working with you will benefit their readers. How will your pitch of a place or a product affect their audience? Be sure to offer a news hook, and explain why a magazine for example, needs to cover something now. Being considerate of someone’s readers shows that you have indeed done your research.
Look Beyond the Email Pitch
Most travel writers are constantly on the move and may not necessarily have time to read even an emailed elevator pitch. Then, look beyond your inbox and think how else you can connect with a travel writer. The answer is, social media. More often than not, travel writers are open to social media pitches. Many site Twitter and Instagram as a great place to connect with readers and PR alike. Before pitching via social, of course, identify what makes a writer tick and engage, comment or respond to their social media posts. This way, you will be establishing the basis of your relationship which will ultimately lead to a more successful pitch.
Consider the Lead Time
Depending on what media outlet you are pitching, lead times may vary. Print media and travel freelancers have longer lead times, often three to four months in advance. Blogs and online media may have a couple of weeks of a lead time, and sometimes pitches for a radio program can be last-minute. Whatever the case may be, knowing an outlet’s lead time will help get your pitches further.
Avoid Being Overbearing
An overly aggressive PR professional is a huge turn-off for travel writers. Constant follow-ups or blasting a pitch more than once will not result in placement, but rather will land your pitch in the trash or the SPAM folder. Follow-up phone calls in particular are a big pet-peeve. Most journalists will give submitted materials due consideration and, if interested, will contact you. Be respectful of journalists’ time, and in turn they will be respectful of your pitch.
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