Remember when you were in high school and how you hated it when people “talked about you”? Well, adult life is not all that different from high school. But as a travel consultant, you want people to talk about you! In fact, it behooves you to give them something to talk about. That, in fact, is the very essence of a good word of mouth public relations effort.
Word of Mouth happens with or without your participation. However, that does not mean it is out of your control and cannot be managed. To the contrary, you can promote and amplify your brand through a good word of mouth campaign. By strategically cultivating your message, you can help ensure that when people talk about you, they are saying the things you want the market to hear.
At the heart of a strong word of mouth campaign is authentic marketing: knowing exactly who you are, what your travel practice is about and being able to clearly articulate that message. If your core marketing identity is not well defined and clear, if you are not able to easily identify your mission, then others will not be able to do so either, and your message in the market will be muddy and not well defined. This is particularly important because a word of mouth campaign depends on an initial group of “influencers” being charged with the mission of “spreading the word”.
Let’s use an example. You want to promote the use of your travel services in the ranks of those citizens in your community that are military veterans. You have chosen this particular avenue because you have several clients who are veterans who have traveled with you and who are very pleased with your services. Perhaps you are a veteran yourself. You understand the inherent desire in many veterans to return to the battlefields where they lived out a very important part of their young lives. You are certain that you can assist the veterans in your community to have a profound travel experience by returning to Normandy, Vietnam or South Korea. The place to begin your word of mouth campaign is with those closest to you – co-workers and existing clients. That inner circle needs to clearly hear and understand your mission, to grasp your authentic belief and passion for the project. If they do, they will become your evangelists. If you can assist them to understand the importance of this project to veterans in your community, one of them will tell two others and those two others will tell four more. That is how good word of mouth public relations happens. The resulting word of mouth will re-inforce every other effort you undertake in your campaign: presentations, press releases, networking and advertising.
Good public relations is the result of much effort and planning. Word of mouth has an important role to play in any PR campaign and will contribute substantially when it is launched with a clear vision and articulation.
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