If you have been reading TRO’s 365 Guide for any time, you know I consider local public relations to be one of your key marketing strategies. Public relations helps you to build the profile of your company, to raise its local visibility. As a travel professional, public relations is one of the best possible ways to build awareness of your service. PR has the added advantage of being dependent primarily on sweat equity rather than capital investment. This week we are going to look at a few ideas that might serve you well in a local public relations campaign.
Why go it alone? By incorporating a “cause” into your marketing efforts you increase the buzz factor substantially. Everyone loves a story involving well-intentioned motives. If you can successfully associate yourself with a cause, you will generate a great deal of positive good will in your community as well as do some good locally. What could be a better combination?
How to pick a cause? The first criterial is authenticity – choose a cause in which you believe. If you love animals, make your cause pet adoption. If you feel strongly about the plight of the homeless, orchestrate a local business volunteer effort at a shelter. There is Habitat for Humanity and the local Big Brother or Big Sister program. Avoid overtly political causes which may alienate large portions of your possible constituency, but choose something in which you can believe and engage with passion.
Whatever you choose, go big. By partnering with other businesses, you widen the circle of influence you have as an individual. Make some noise. Lead the way by asking other business owners to join you. By doing so you not only multiply the number of interested parties, you also make the story you are building more interesting to your local community and media.
Ask the organization you choose for PR assistance. No doubt they have their own internal resources for public relations to which you can add your own. For example, the animal shelter has a database filled with people who have adopted in the past and who can be contacted about your event. Most charities are experts at public relations, and their internal contacts with local media will often be quicker to respond to a charitable cause than to a call from a local business person. Leverage their resources and those of the other companies with which you partner.
Once you take on your cause, use the marketing skills you have developed in your travel practice to promote your event. Network, leverage others databases, seek out free advertising and use social media to your event’s advantage.
Tomorrow: The power of being a local!