19 June, 2020

Megan Allen is a journalist and public relations expert who specialises in rural tourism. She lives in Rutland with her husband, Nick, and baby boy, Ezra, where she runs her PR agency, Rural Roots Media, and writes and edits The Rural Travel Guide.

Website: www.rural-roots.co.uk & www.ruraltravelguide.co.uk

Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ruraltourismnetwork/

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/RuralRootsPR/

Megan is relaunching The Rural Travel Guide in May, so would love to hear from any businesses on the Isle of Man that have an amazing story to tell! editor@ruraltravelguide.co.uk

The heady world of press and public relations can sometimes seem like a foreign country to small businesses in the tourism industry. ‘Why would a national newspaper be interested in anything I have to say or offer?’, you might ask. ‘Why would PR companies in the UK, let alone worldwide, want to know about what I do?’

Well, there are plenty of reasons actually! Rural tourism PR specialist, Megan Allen, specialises in helping small tourism providers to find their unique story and then to shout about it from the rooftops.

“Everyone has a story,” says Megan. “Tourism is about what experience you can give to people, it’s what makes you stand out from others. So, how you got to where you are and what lessons you’ve learnt along the way, it’s all part of your back story that makes you interesting and unique.”

By building a reputation around this unique story, Megan helps small businesses to create press coverage which positions them as an expert in their field. Just one mention in a respected broadsheet is essentially worth thousands of pounds in advertising, so it’s a lesson that’s well worth knowing. Here are her tips on how to go about creating your own press coverage.

How to create press coverage

Identify your audience: work out who you are trying to attract. What is their age range – for example, is it the family market or are they retirees who might visit mid-week and out of season? Then look at their lifestyle, how much money they have and what they spend it on. What media do they consume – are they Daily Mail readers or do they access the media online during their daily commute? Once you have this knowledge you can start to identify the right stories to tell, where to tell them and what to say.

Discover your unique story: what is it that makes you stand out from other tourism businesses? It’s very easy to think that what you offer is the norm, but remember that visitors don’t live your life so you may be surprised at what they do find interesting. Perhaps you’ve moved from a corporate job into a farming life – there’s your story. Or maybe you offer something a bit different that can become a talking point.

Target the right media: once you have identified your audience, you can start to target the media they engage with. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research and speak to journalists directly. Especially now, journalists are looking for good stories so if you can help them out, even better. You don’t have to write a press release – they actually prefer it if you pitch to them individually. Let them know your story and if you can make it current, even better. To find out what articles journalists are currently planning, check out #journorequest and see if there are any travel features that you could pitch ideas for or help them with.

Get online: print media is always going to be important but online articles offer an element of longevity. Plus, you can share links with other tourist providers which is really good for your google search ranking. Check out tourism bloggers who specialise in niche markets – don’t be put off by the numbers – bloggers who have fewer followers are more likely to be better engaged with their audience which then becomes a more powerful tool for you.

Be social media savvy: use your own blogs and social media channels to keep telling your story, creating your own PR for your business. Make sure that what you offer is Instagrammable – is it visually attractive and are there places for people to take photos so they can share their experience? The most powerful PR tool is word of mouth, so you want to try to make your guests feel compelled to tell their friends about you. After all, most people will act on recommendations if they come from someone they respect and trust.

Start now: lockdown is the ideal time to start planning your press campaigns. You could start by sending out a Survey Monkey to find out who your audience is and what your ideal customer reads. Ask for feedback from past visitors and find out where they heard about you. Journalists often work a few months ahead of publication dates, so use the shoulder season to talk about summer features. Start chatting about ideas for press coverage later in the year – cosy pubs to visit in the area, or exhilarating winter walks, for example.

Creating press for your tourism business is a powerful way to reach new markets, and best of all, it is free to do. With a bit of research and creativity you can use this period of lockdown to tell your story, so that by the time we’re on the move again, there’s already a buzz about what it is you offer.

To find out how Megan can help you gain press coverage for your rural tourism business, visit rural-roots.co.uk

Or connect with Megan through Rural Roots Medi on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

If you’re a small tourism business, you may wonder why national newspapers, journalists or bloggers would be interested in what you have to offer. But, as rural tourism PR specialist, Megan Allen says, everyone has a story to tell and that’s what gets you coverage.

In this insightful podcast, Megan shows you how to find your own unique story and how to deliver it to your target audience. With her help, you will understand how to approach journalists and how to pitch your story to the right media so that you can benefit from free press coverage.

Best of all, creating a buzz about what you have to offer is something you can start to do right now during lockdown. Listen to the podcast to find out how!

What we discuss:
  • Why free press coverage is worth thousands of pounds of advertising spend

  • The importance of word of mouth marketing

  • Which media to target with your story

  • What you can do now to create press coverage for later in the year

What you will learn:
  • Ways to get to know your target audience

  • How to identify your own unique story

  • The best way to reach out to journalists with your story

  • The value of creating your own PR through social media