Travel blogs and mainstream media sites drive millions of travelers to the destinations, products or services they cover. But breaking into their influential pages can seem daunting.
Here are three tips to help your travel pitches take off—and land more top-tier coverage:
1. Get real—ditch the models. Travel journalists are tired of seeing “fake people posing at Photoshopped ski resorts,” as Detroit Free Press travel writer Ellen Creager puts it. “Don’t use models in your PR photos,” she says. “We want images of real people at your resort or destination.”
2. Get trained—provide high-quality photos. Creager also asks PR pros to stop sending low-resolution, “Web-friendly” photos. “A high-res photo makes it more likely that we use your story, because that’s what we need to run a piece in the print version of the paper,” she explains.
National Geographic Traveler’s Chris Elliott elaborates: “Some PR people say clients won’t pay for professional photography, but that could cost you a story. Photos now must be high-res and high quality—with good framing and unique subject matter.”
Beth Harpaz, travel editor at the Associated Press, agrees. “If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, then at least train a millennial on staff in photo editing,” she advises.
3. Get followed—turn the tables on Twitter. Journalists are split on fielding pitches through social media channels. “We like PR people to interact with us on Twitter,” says Paul Brady, deputy consumer news editor at Condé Nast Traveler, “but most of us don’t want hard pitches there. Save that for email.”
Creager recommends inverting the find/follow/pitch model. “Stop following and pitching journalists en masse on Twitter. Get us to follow your or your client’s Twitter handle instead.”
The best way to do that is to break news on Twitter account and provide links to compelling content. “Fill your feed with Tweets that make us feel we have to keep up with you,” she suggests.
Brian Pittman is a consultant to Ragan Communications and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Paul Brady, Ellen Creager, Chris Elliott and Beth Harpaz share more behind-the-scenes pitching insights in the PR University webinar, “ Top travel media and bloggers tell PR: What to pitch, how to win big coverage.”