Generating Free Media Coverage
It is rare that you can achieve your marketing goals from just one single action or one single media. The biggest corporations are more and more building their advertising presence in as many places as possible to provide constant messaging and reinforcement of the image which is a key factor in most successful campaigns.
As a World Heritage site, the goal should be getting coverage in as many places as possible without being contradictory. Involving the media to help produce content will also help in building the foundation you need to achieve your goals.
All Digital Media Guidelines
New and Interesting Angles
Often even the most popular and well-respected online publications will look for easy ways to produce content providing opportunities for you to guide them towards the kind of coverage you would like.
You may already organise familiarisation (fam) trips for media – or be included as part of a larger trip organised by a local DMO. It is important for the fam trips to consider the key message you’re trying to convey and to ensure the itinerary reflects the message. One option may be ‘reverse-engineering’ the itinerary – start with your perfect story in mind and work backwards to put together an itinerary that would fit the story.
For example, if you want to promote your World Heritage site as the ultimate day trip from a nearby city, show the hosted media that public transport is available and convenient, there are enough attractions and experiences to fill a day and that there are places to eat lunch or purchase refreshments.
But, if you want to promote longer stays at your World Heritage destination show the variety of the offer, how to easily move between different activities each day, restaurants and accommodation that are worth recommending, and the attractions and experiences that fit together into a coherent narrative.
It is important to remember that there will be different content needs for journalists, bloggers and influencers. The people visiting your site will be the experts on what is best for them, and you should offer whatever is possible to help facilitate the requests they may have. But by making some suggestions, you can help steer them towards topics you would like to highlight.
Start by thinking about some of the remarkable aspects of your World Heritage site that may interest the media – and then think about how they could become presented on digital media.
• Do you have a hidden collection of items that could become a story?
• Do you have an attraction on your site with a lot of colour and action that could make a good video?
• Can you offer special permission to film drone footage of your site, to capture incredible imagery?
The next step would be to contact your local DMO of your city, region, or country. They can help facilitate contact with media organisations or bloggers or public relations or marketing experts. There is a good chance they are already planning projects with media and you can ask to be involved.
If you invite the media to visit your World Heritage site - or media contacts you about visiting – you will need to discuss the topic of material and financial support. This could include accommodation, meals, guided tours and transportation, or in some instances a direct payment.
In each case, the level of support needed may be different and you will need to make a decision about whether the investment is worth the return. For instance, free entry to your site may be something you are prepared to offer to all media requests; free accommodation might be something you will offer to bloggers who can prove a significant audience; and airfares might be something you will offer only to large online publications.
The digital media landscape can make it difficult to make quick judgements about the actual impact of a blogger or influencer. Not only are follower numbers important, but so are the demographics of those followers, and their level of engagement.
In order to make a decision on the level of support you are willing to offer, it is recommended that you see statistics. A blogger or influencer should be able to easily provide them. You can also ask for the details you are most interested in – which countries the audience is from, the age of the audience, how many engage with the content, and so on.
Also, remember that you can always reach out to the local tourism board or businesses in the community to help you offer support. There may be hotels that are happy to provide rooms in exchange for being included in stories, or restaurants that will offer meals in the hope the media will share a photo on social media.
Ways to Offfer Media Support
- Entry to attractions
- Guided tours
- Tickets to events
- Interviews with experts
- Permission to film/photograph
- Access to 'secret' locations
- New exhibitions
- Event previews