Hosting media, whether on your own or in collaboration with Tourism Kelowna, is a great way to spread the word about your business to local, provincial, national, and even international, audiences. Navigating how to best host or interact with media when they visit may not come easily or be something you do often. To help make the process easier, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to keep in mind when working with traditional media such as freelance journalists, radio hosts, magazine or newspaper editors, and contributors to online travel websites or news outlets.
1. Ask Questions
- Who do they write for?
- Are they on assignment or researching for future pitches?
- What are their areas of interest?
- What types of stories have they released recently?
You can ask these questions before the visit so you are prepared when they arrive, or it can be more informal and a discussion once they arrive. Either way, ensuring you understand their needs and interests will make the visit that much more impactful for both of you.
2. Provide Introductory Information
Media will fire back just as many, if not more, questions to you when they visit. Depending on the angle of their story, they may need lots of detail or just high-level information. To start, always offer introductory information first, then delve into their questions and areas of interest to share your story.
3. Share Your Story
Finding the best person to share your story is just as important as the story itself, and sometimes, that person turns into the story! Often, the business owner is the best person to speak with media, but sometimes a long-standing employee can offer interesting insight. Or, if a journalist has a specific niche, like profiling restaurants that source locally, then the chef may be the best person to tell that story.
4. Understand Timelines
When media visit your business, they may be on assignment with long lead times, may be researching to pitch future stories, may have their own online platform or may not have a say as to when an article will be published. For example, a freelancer may be on assignment for an outlet that has their editorial plans laid out a year in advance. This writer may visit in the spring, submit their story in the summer, and then the article will be published the following spring. Other times, editors and contributors to online platforms may be able to visit and turn around a story to be published online within a month. Understanding that timelines differ and that resulting coverage can come within a few days or over a year later is important.
5. Follow Up
If the media guest is important to you and you would like to build a relationship going forward, ask them for their card before they leave and send them a quick note afterward to say thanks. Including media materials, such as a link to images they can access online, quick facts about your business, and answers to questions you may not have been able to answer fully at the time of their visit, is also helpful. It goes a long way in ensuring you get proper coverage in a timely manner (or at least as quickly as they are able to provide it).
Have more questions about hosting media? Connect with me by email or by phone at (250) 861-1515 ext. 204.