Canada and Canadian travelers are on our minds a lot at Break the Ice Media. Through our Canadian Co-op PR program, and previously through Cross Border Showcase and A Welcome Surprise, we’ve been working to make Canadians aware of Upstate New York as an easy travel destination.
In 2014, we were first brought on to a tourism program created to grow awareness in Canada of travel opportunities in Upstate New York. Break the Ice Media began working directly with Canadian journalists and influencers to garner story placements and blog posts. Like all successful Public Relations campaigns, we started at the beginning – by building one relationship at a time. Today we have great relationships with many Canadian journalists and influencers. Even years later, this approach to our PR programs continues to be the secret to our success.
1. Canadian Media & Travel Shows
The first step in building our targeted list of media contacts was to get in front of the people we wanted to reach – face-to-face.
Discover America Day is one of several media/travel trade shows hosted in Toronto each year. It pairs travel destinations from across the United States with travel writers and bloggers who reach a primarily Canadian audience. We have attended Discover America Day each year since 2014 – each time walking away with valuable leads and contacts who are interested in writing about the destinations we represent.
2. Follow Up & Pitching
Once a relationship is established, it’s up to us to keep it fueled with new ideas and angles. We follow up individually after each show, reaching out one-by-one to the people we meet and providing more information on the ideas discussed in person. This opens up communication lines with them post-event, and paves the way for continued pitching and future stories. Through consistent communication, we establish trust by providing each journalist or blogger with reliable and relevant information. We frequently chime in adding valuable content, and connect them with interviews or photos when possible. This process also allows us to vet the writers we are meeting – ensuring that they are also a good fit for our clients’ destinations.
3. Media FAMs
With travel, it is oftentimes important that a writer see and experience something for themselves before committing it to print. Our very first Canadian FAM into New York State brought a journalist from the Toronto Star and a blogger from a publication called Eat Drink Travel. That FAM resulted in four media placements – one of which reached almost 4 million readers with the Toronto Star – and a slew of social media posts.
Over the years, we have secured and organized many media FAMs for both Canadian and US media. We’ve seen the landscape change dramatically – with more niche publications and social channels taking the place of media giants (like the Toronto Star). We’ve watched attitudes shift towards U.S. travel and seen our relationships with writers become more important than ever.
Learn more: Break the Ice Media’s Travel PR capabilities
Recent Success: In 2018, we hosted 11 Canadian writers through our Canadian Co-op PR Program. We have four so far in 2019 with more in the works. Our 2018 Canadian Co-op PR Program resulted in 14 media placements, 48 social media placements and over 1.2 million media impressions.