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Media: How to Successfully Pitch Your Destination​

Media: How to Successfully Pitch Your Destination

“Hey, RMI … why should I take the time to proactively talk to media about my destination?” Well, that’s a great question, and I’m so glad you asked!

If you work within the tourism industry, you’re likely tasked with promoting your destination/service/location/etc. to potential travelers. You may be working toward internal goals of increasing visitation, changing an audience perspective, or simply wanting to generate new awareness of your destination. Whatever your goal may be, pitching yourself regularly to media should be an important component to your proactive marketing and content plans.

Today, we’ll be sharing some high-level points to successfully pitching your destination to media.

Before you can start telling everyone how great you are, you should set yourself up for success:

  • Set your own (realistic) pitching calendar: You may have a small team, or even work solo. Pitching to media every single day may be a bit overkill. But pitching one story a month or a couple times a quarter should be manageable for you and your team. (You can always ramp it up more once you master this skill!)
  • Identify your audience group(s) – you likely have a few! Targeting the right audience is key. For example, families (couples with dependent kids/under 18), independent travelers (solo travelers or travelers who visit destinations with friends) and retired travelers (mature travelers who may no longer have kids in the home to care for) are common tourism audience groups.
  • Select your preferred medium (TV, magazine, radio, etc.) and a few key media outlets that match your audience groups. Magazine examples for each audience segment we identified above could be:

            – Families: Parents Magazine
            – Independent: Travel + Leisure
            – Retired: Reader’s Digest

  • Take a peek at their editorial calendars: Most media outlets plan their content annually and make their calendars available publicly for advertising purposes (usually found in the footer of their website; for example, Travel + Leisure’s calendar). These calendars help your team identify opportunities and build out your pitch calendar much more easily. Note: Media outlets plan content 3-6 months out from publishing. So, you’ll want to stay on top of it!
  • Anticipate potential story angles: Even if you can’t get your hands on an editorial calendar for an outlet, you can always keep your ear to the ground when it comes to trending news, unique story angles and more. Stay up to date with current news, and if your destination has a “hook” that could be tied to that same topic, you’ve spotted an opportunity!

At minimum, make sure you understand the timing of seasonality – publications talk about ‘Summer’ beginning in April, so be prepared to talk about summer activities in your area in March or earlier. And one final tip: anticipate and plan for important calendar events (anniversaries, holidays, etc.) that media tend to cover. Great resources to identify anniversaries and events are This Day In History and National Today.

Now it’s time to craft your pitch:

  • Create a compelling headline: Utilize descriptive and captivating words that summarize the pitch.
  • Clear and concise body: Keep the body of your pitch short and to the point – around 200 words.
  • Include a call-to-action: Whether it’s a link to your website or social media pages, send the journalist somewhere helpful to learn more.
  • Use only high-resolution visuals: Sell yourself through visuals – include only your BEST images and/or videos that capture the essence of what you’re trying to pitch.
  • Customize your pitch: Although you may be sending the same pitch to multiple outlets, it goes a long way to personalize it for the specific journalist you’re sending it to.
  • Follow up: After sending a pitch, be sure to touch base with the journalist a week or so afterwards to ensure they know you’re on top of it and can follow up with more questions if they have them.

It’s time to get the people talking about you! If you’re still not sure where to start, contact us and let our team assist.

Kim Snape, Sr. Marketing & PR Manager