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March 2006

Promoting The Industry

Marti Mayne

Our goal is to generate great publicity for BedandBreakfast.com members specifically, and for the B&B industry as a whole. In this issue we cover:

 

Ask the Pros: Organizing Your Press List

Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers

Recent Media Coverage

                                   
 

Ask the Pros: Organizing Your Press List

Question: “One of my upcoming projects is organizing my press contact list. I have a file of scrap paper, notes, lists, labels, emails, etc. and wonder how to organize it. Shall I just enter all those with email addresses into a “Press” group? Or is it still preferable to mail? Shall I group contacts according to media or region?” – Craig Cox, Riverbend Inn, Chocorua, NH

Response: Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to get the media to read and use your press release. After polling countless media, most prefer to get information by email, but some prefer faxes, and others want a hard copy. Try to tailor your releases to the method each media person prefers.

I keep my press lists by subject: bargain writers, family writers, outdoor writers, romance writers, luxury writers, food editors, travel editors, business editors, and so on. Additionally, I have a list for every state. You want to be sure to target your releases to the reporter’s interest. By organizing them by specialty, it’s easier to send the release to the relevant contacts.

If you don’t have an email address for a writer, you’ll need to mail your release. Color photos really set you apart, so it’s worth spending a little more money and including photos with your mailed releases (look for sales at local office supply outlets). One cost-effective trick is to put several small photos on the first page, so you’re really grabbing them with lots of “wow” photos. Photocopy the rest of the release in black and white. This way, you’re only paying for one color copy, yet are still getting the impact and communicating that you have good photography.

I also often mail and email releases to the editors I really want to reach, just in case they didn’t get my email. Send the powerful color photos by mail, and send the text-only version by email.

Remember, you won’t necessarily hear back from a reporter if they get your email. They may email or call with questions, but if your release is good enough, i.e. containing all the info it should (who, what, where, when, how and why is it important to that editor) they’ll simply use the release for their story. If it’s not of interest, they won’t use it, but don’t expect them to call you to tell you that.

Follow up with a phone call to the top 10 targeted media outlets for each story; chances are you’ll find out they never saw it, and then you can send it again and ask them to be on the lookout for it.

Email Etiquette for Media Mailings

  • Start the release with your location and the date.

  • When you email a release in bulk, send the release to yourself (or to me) and then use the BCC tool (blind carbon copy) in your email program for all other recipients. You don’t ever want the people in your emailed release to see everyone else’s address. The media has been known to blackball senders for this, and with today’s strict spam laws, it’s considered illegal sharing.

  • A catchy subject line is essential. Start your subject line with "PRESS RELEASE" (or PR), followed by five or six words of very enticing copy. Reporters and editors get hundreds of emails a day, so be creative.

  • These days, more and more busy reporters read email on Blackberries or even sophisticated cell phones. On these gadgets, a subject will only contain 15 characters, so make sure the first words of your subject line tell the story.

  • Never send attachments. Do not imbed graphics or photos in your emailed releases. Turn off your stationary, and send the release in the body of the email. Many, many spam filters will automatically grab your email if it has unwanted graphics or attachments. Mention photos at the end, with a line like “Fabulous high- or low- resolution photography available for this story” instead of attaching them to the email.


Let’s Hear It From Innkeepers
We really appreciate your support. Here are some of the comments we received last month.

“I want to thank you for including us in your press release, Family Winter B&B Getaways; we know your website has a great following. Our family packages are very popular, as there is so much here for kids to do. As soon as I have the summer packages I will send them along.” – Diane S. Dickerman, The Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Chittenden VT

“I will take another opportunity to say how much I appreciate the help with  our listing on your site. Janice Hurley is a treasure trove of information and has great customer focus. Thank you for helping me improve our listing.” – Marie-Louise LaFond, Barclay Cottage, Virginia Beach, VA

“Trust me; I now know how hard your job is. I have learned that we innkeepers are not good at letting people know what we do. We are our own worst enemies at times.” – Nancy Moncrief, Candlelight Inn, North Wildwood, NJ

Recent BedandBreakfast.com Media Coverage
BedandBreakfast.com stories resulted in over 6.25 million media impressions in February alone. If this coverage had been purchased as advertising, the value would exceed $18,000. Here is some recent coverage:

Radio listeners love hearing about B&Bs. In February, Sandy Soule conducted a live on-air interview with KAKL in San Antonio, offering ideas for the best romantic choices for Valentine’s Day. Additionally, she was selected as an on-air guest for the syndicated radio show World of Work and offered a compelling 45-minute interview, answering questions about innkeeping and offering advice for great Valentine’s Day getaways.

The Capitol Times in Madison, WI, mentioned BedandBreakfast.com, "a worldwide directory of intimate, owner-operated lodges," and mentioned the White Gull Inn as a BedandBreakfast.com choice for “Best Undiscovered Inns for Celebrating Romance.”

About.com’s popular Travel With Kids blog listed many of BedandBreakfast.com’s recommendations for great places for agritainment (in the press release distributed in February), including a photo of Buck Ranch Farm.

BedandBreakfast.com worked with members from New Jersey on a story for the Bergen Record featuring signature recipes and photos highlighting breakfast dishes. The story directed readers to BedandBreakfast.com’s recipe section for more fabulous breakfast ideas. Have you submitted your recipes? Click here to log in to your Home Base. Then click "Recipes" under "Free Member Benefits" to enter your best dish.

Outside magazine included BedandBreakfast.com in a story about online travel planning. The Associated Press picked up the story and included mention of BedandBreakfast.com in their weekly Travel Briefs, sent to thousands of newspapers around the country. To date, the story has been picked up by newspapers from Napa, CA to Hamilton, Ontario.

 

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Certificates

More travelers than ever before received BedandBreakfast.com Gift Certificates in 2005. These lucky folks may soon be new guests at your B&B, if you’re participating in the BedandBreakfast.com Gift Certificate program. Watch for increased gift certificate traffic in the upcoming months! To join the participating inns, just log in to your Home Base, or click here for more information.

Online Trade Show

Click here to view our Online Trade Show. Are you a vendor? Click here to find out how to get featured!

Online Reservations

Traffic Statistics

Log in with your property ID and password for details on the number of page impressions and click-throughs your B&B has received as a result of all BedandBreakfast.com online marketing, including property listings, Featured Property, and Inn of the Month advertising. More information

Member Information

To update your entry, post specials, and renew your membership, please log in with your property ID and password. Can't remember your password? Click here, then enter your property ID and we'll email it to you. Don't like your password? Once you're logged in to Home Base, just click "Membership," select "Change Password" ( No. 7 in dropdown menu), and choose another that's easier to remember. More information

Inns for Sale

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Innkeepers Information Center

Need more info? You’ll find lots of educational articles on our site for your convenience.


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