So I was sitting at a media dinner when I overheard someone from a Canadian tourism office say to her companion that they were thinking of no longer sending travel media releases out, and Tweeting them instead.
I was taken aback because I had an hour ago just written this article and thought somehow she was the angel of affirmation.
But she’s right on.
I receive on average 35 travel press releases a day, in one form or another.
And that’s not counting the Viagra or “grow your manhood” notices. Or the abundance of pain killers offered on an hourly basis. If I were a “druggie,” I could get a fix without a prescription, with just a few keystrokes.
The range of travel releases I get is impressive, illustrating that there are interesting things going on out there, from a new chef in some luxury South Carolina hotel to a new spa in a Malaysian resort.
But the point is, unless they’re targeted irrelevant.
Unless the Media Release addresses what a blogger or journalist writes about, and unless the releases reflect a working knowledge of his or her work, including past publications, what’s the point?
Most releases I get are about 400 words. Some run as high as 800 words and are very text dense. I use maybe one out of every ten I receive.
Many come with unrequested multiple images attached, or/and several PDF files, which I never open.
Of all the releases in any given period, very few address me by name. Most say, “Good Morning,” or “Hi There.” That bothers me. If the senders don’t know who I am, why bother to send me a release?
What’s worse are the ones labeled: “For Immediate Release.” What does that mean, “For Immediate Release”?
It’s a hackneyed term that’s been around forever, and should be retired. Because what’s the opposite of “Immediate Release”? “Delayed Release”?
I’ve actually sent copy back to the sender with the specific suggestion that they read David Meerman Scott’s book, New Rules of Marketing and Public Relations .
Anyone in PR who hasn’t read Scott’s book is really out of touch.
While most of the releases are irrelevant to me, they are I’m sure to some blogger or travel writer.
In reality, my story ideas mostly come mostly from various news and industry feeds that many travel professionals subscribe to. Could be the Huffington Post or Hotelmarketing.com.
Often an article in Fast Company will be the source of a piece or USA Today Travel or Travel Weekly.
Very rarely the e-mailed press notice.
Or that Captain Rynd has just been appointed Commodore of the Cunard Line .
But here are two suggestions that I think might make the Travel Media Release really hot:
• Target writers whose work the sender knows, and whose subject matter they’re familiar with, so a content partnership can be created, and articles developed together over a period of time. And, go ahead, call the writer as a follow up! Have a conversation. By now you know him or her and his work.
One release I liked: “Hey, Kaleel, We’re running this contest on Facebook and using Foursquare tips to generate foot traffic to a destination we want to promote. Can we talk about this? I’ll call you. I know you did a piece like this in….”
She called, and the article came together with both of our efforts.
How about a Tweeting instead of emailing?
• I suggested to one company that instead of a 600 word release, why not send a 140 character “release” with a tiny url, #, and good, solid information.
Since I Tweet to three fairly significant travel accounts, I could Tweet the release once and schedule a variation for a second Tweet.
It could be Retweeted, of course by people who are following these accounts and then again by people following those accounts.
And the sender could Tweet and have colleagues ReTweet..and reach the public, the consumer directly.
Though emerging technology specialist, Eric Leist thinks the public/consumer would not know what to do with a Tweeted press release.
Still, a well crafted Tweet-Release would, I bet, get more professional and consumer play than sending it to a writer’s email box. It could reinvent the media/press release. .
Worth a try? Better than,”For Immediate Release,” sent to no one in particular.