One of the easiest ways to gain positive exposure and establish your credibility as a travel expert, is by being quoted or featured through various media channels. At first glance, that may sound like something reserved for only an elite circle of travel industry veterans, but I have come to learn that appearances are certainly not as they seem. In early December, I attended the Young Travel Leaders Conference in Las Vegas. On top of it being a conference geared towards us, the Millennial Travel Professional, (and no they don’t pay me to say this… unless I can get someone at Questex to pay me), I walked away with a wealth of ideas on how to hit the ground running for 2015. Here are a few best practices I took away from the conference regarding gaining positive exposure and reaching out to the media.
Before getting started, it is imperative you know your agency protocol when it comes to being quoted. The purpose of being in the media is to establish yourself as an expert, increase exposure, and, as a result, gain more business. The last thing you want to do is wind up putting your foot in your mouth.
Reach out to members of the media! If they do not know you exist, how are they going to ask for your opinion? Find the authors of the articles in publications you read and reach out to them. It is even easier with online articles, they generally have a link to the author’s bio and their email along with any number of social media accounts making it easier to figure out how to contact them than say…. (insert any airline).
Qualify the people you are reaching out to. Not everyone writes about everything. If you are an expert on the Caribbean, you probably do not need to be reaching out to the author of the River Cruise column.
Do not be afraid to send that “blind email.” Before you hit send though, make sure you are putting your best foot forward. This is your 30-second elevator pitch, condensed into a flat email format. We get the credit for creating a whole new language of text-speak, but this is not the time for any of the lols, btw, fwiw, etc. Make sure to use spell check too. Remember, you are trying to show them that you’re an expert.
Ask the writer to email you the questions ahead of time. This allows you both time to to prepare your answers as well as run it by your bosses, making sure they are okay with you speaking on the particular topic.
During an interview, maintain a high level professionalism. Treat it as if you would treat a job interview. This is not the same as you chatting it up with your colleagues at happy hour. You are on record, and whatever you say may be repeated.
Avoid insulting your base, the whole point is to get greater exposure and get more business, not lose any. If need be, play devil’s advocate and talk both sides of an issue. Two great segues to use; “having said that” and “with that being said.”
Do not try to fake your way through an interview for sake of being quoted. If you do not know something directly about the topic, be upfront about it. You may even be able to use your expertise to shed a different perspective while still remaining relevant to the topic.
Most importantly, be authentic and give genuine, honest answers. If the author needed a canned marketing-speak response, they would have called up a PR team and asked them.
Do you have any best practices or ideas to add? Share them in the comments below.
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