Canada has been on our minds a lot lately at Break the Ice Media.
Last year, we were brought on to a tourism program called A Welcome Surprise! (AWS!) – created to make Canadians aware of Upstate New York as an easy travel destination. Break the Ice was tasked with working directly with Canadian journalists and influencers to garner story placements and blog posts about AWS! Like all successful Public Relations campaigns, we decided to start at the beginning – by building one relationship at a time.
- 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 attended Discover America Day in both 2014 and 2015 – each time walking away with valuable leads and contacts that were interested in writing about Upstate New York Travel. Not only that, but many of the people met in 2014 recognized and remembered us the following year.Which leads me to my next point…
- Follow Up/Pitching: Once a relationship was established, it was up to us to keep it fueled with new ideas and angles about the AWS! program.We began with individual follow up after each show –by reaching out one-by-one to the people we met and providing more information on the ideas tossed around at the show. This opened up communication lines with them post-event, and paved the way for continued pitching and future stories.Through consistent communication, we began to establish trust by providing each journalist or blogger with reliable and relevant information, adding valuable content, and connecting them with interviews or photos when needed.This process also allowed us to vet the writers we were meeting – ensuring that they were also a good fit for our client and destination.
- Media FAMs: With travel, it is oftentimes important that a writer see and experience something for themselves before committing it to print.As we gained momentum and began to build trusted relationships, we entered into discussions with the Toronto Star, and another local publication called Eat Drink Travel about visiting Upstate New York. In February, two of their writers joined us on the first AWS! Media FAM. During this 3-day trip, there was beer, wine, racecars, cross country skiing, museums, restaurants, spa visits, and many more experiences that we offer here in Upstate New York. This whirlwind trip produced four media placements – one reaching almost 4 million readers with the Toronto Star – and many more tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts about our destination and travel program.
From Left to Right: Nicola Brown, Dorian Geiger, Sarah Blackwell, Carol Hicks.
*Shout out to writers Nicola Brown and Dorian Geiger (pictured above) for embarking on our first AWS! media FAM – and Yashy Murphy and Alison Kent for joining us in New York this fall!