Common pitfalls and pro tips to boost your ROI - Insights

Common pitfalls and pro tips to boost your ROI

PR relationshipsIn the hospitality industry, there are many opportunities for savvy businesses to use public relations (PR) to increase brand awareness with potential customers and, as a result, to boost sales. But for those just getting started, PR can seem very complicated and confusing. However, with a bit of information, you’ll be ready to start generating media coverage for your company. As a PR pro who has been working in the hospitality industry for more than 10 years, I’m excited to share these pro tips Ð and how to avoid the most common pitfalls of PR outreach – with you today.

Best PR practices

Pro Tip: Relationships matter

To be successful in PR, your relationships with journalists are key; the best way to create successful working relationships with journalists is to help make their job easier. By providing them with interesting and informative content that is a fit for their beat and the specific topics that they write about for the publication, they are more likely to cover your articles.

Remember to always be professional, helpful, kind and, above all, honest. To make yourself stand out in their minds, and therefore, to make them more likely to read all of your emails, make a point to remember details about their lives and ask about them when in your email pitches. Even when I don’t know anything specific about a certain media contact’s personal life, I will always start my messages with a friendly comment, such as ÒHow was your weekend?Ó or ÒHappy Monday!Ó to develop of feeling of comradery between the two of us.

Pro tip: pitch strategically

Before starting to pitch, it is important to determine which types of media outlets will be best to help you accomplish the objectives that you’ve established in your strategy.

For example, if your campaign objective is to increase sales of your tech product or service to hotels, you should be pitching hospitality industry trade publications, not consumer news media outlets. In this case, you could also pitch business publications and/or daily publications (newspapers, blogs and online news sources) that cover the business of the hospitality industry; i.e. hotel industry coverage in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The LA Times, etc.

If your goal is to raise awareness of your company in general business circles, for example, if you are trying to reach potential investors, you should pitch journalists who write for business publications, such as The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, BusinessWeek, etc.

If your goal is to sell your product or service to consumers as it is for hotels, pitch journalists who write for consumer-focused publications, such as Travel + Leisure, ABC News, Matador Network and the travel sections of newspapers and magazines, etc.

What not to do

Pitfall: Sharing information with journalists that you’re not 100 per cent sure is accurate (a.k.a. guessing)

Honesty is the always the best policy when it comes to your interactions with media, as it will earn you respect and credibility as a source of news. When someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, it is very normal to guess or hypothesize, because you worry that it will hurt your credibility if you say that you don’t know; in fact, the opposite is true, as lying accidentally or purposefully, or providing incorrect information could irreparably damage your relationship with the journalist. As such, the best way to reply when you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to is: ÒI’m not sure, but I will find out and get back to you ASAPÓ. Once you’ve made the promise, make sure that you do follow up as quickly as possible with the answer.

Pitfall: Ignoring/avoiding controversy regarding your company

If there is any controversy to be found regarding your company, avoid pitching any stories because, even if you are pitching an unrelated story, journalists will most likely ask (about the controversial subject).

When approached by media to comment about the controversy directly, never ignore them, avoid the issue or say ÒNo commentÓ, as all of these will make you (and your company!) sound guilty. Instead, you should thank the journalist for their question, tell them that you are aware of the controversy, that you are looking into it and that you will contact them with your comment when you have more information. When you do get the information, you need to contact them and provide the answer to their question and explain what your company is going to do to fix/address the situation.

While it may seem counter-productive, this practice will always benefit your company more in the long run; media and the general public always respect transparent companies much more, and are less likely to react negatively to the controversy if you are open, honest and communicative.

ByÊJennifer Nagy,ÊPresident ofÊJLNPR Inc.

About JLNPR Inc.

Jennifer Nagy

JLNPR Inc. is a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers Ð and whenever possible, without the overused, often abused press release. In addition to traditional media relations outreach, we also ghost-write exciting, informational copy that will be published (in our client’s name) by top hotel industry media outlets Ð in order to increase your company’s visibility with potential customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales.ÊTo learn how to do your own PR for your company, download JLNPR’s free guide:ÊHow to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Sales – Without Blowing Your Budget. To find out more about JLNPR (including our services and out-of-the-box philosophy on press releases), please visitÊwww.jlnpr.com.

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