Yesterday I was writing a pitch for a client who was promoting a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Ingleton, to be exact.
It was in response to a journalist request for cottages available over the new year and the deadline was tight - so tight, in fact, that the request didn’t arrive until 20-minutes after the deadline had passed. Therefore, I knew I had to get some info over to the journalist quickly and keep my fingers crossed that it made it in time.
The cottage was an absolutely stunning oak-beamed bolthole for two - perfect for an active/outdoorsy couple who fancied a quiet new year to themselves snuggled in front of the log burner.
And I knew exactly how to pitch it to appeal to that specific audience, as I knew the area myself.
I travel a lot in my spare time and Nick and I have visited Ingleton and walked the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, meaning I was able to quickly throw a pitch together with the area in my minds eye.
It reminded me, once again, of how much I love working in rural tourism. I make it my mission to travel the UK as much as I can (it’s my business to) and I’m delighted that my clients can benefit from it.
I got such a thrill from knowing exactly where I was writing about because it was somewhere I had visited myself and I was able to put a bit of my own experiences into that pitch.
It’s important you know how to choose a PR who understands your industry. And I’m not just talking about tourism here, I’m talking about food and drink, equestrian, farming or otherwise. There are many different niches, even within rural sector, that require a specialist knowledge.
I’m lucky enough to have had a career that spans a few different niches - from food and farming to hospitality. But I haven’t got a clue about the equestrian sector, so if a client approached me with an equestrian product I’d almost certainly recommend someone who could help them better than I could. I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m in over my head. I’d rather turn away work than do a shoddy job because I didn’t have the contacts or the experience to benefit them.
By working with someone who understands your niche, you’re not only gaining their industry expertise and knowledge, you’re connecting to their entire network as well. PRs spend a lifetime building contacts, networking and engaging with people within their chosen sector.
Working with a specialist is going to become even more vital as the rural tourism industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. The competition is going to become fierce and already we’re seeing a shift in the industry as the bar is raised time and time again by innovative designs, new attractions or a superb menu. Competition is healthy - it’s what keeps businesses alive.
So by working with someone who knows, not only how to best build your reputation from a PR point of view, but who has insider knowledge of your business, your sector or your geographical area, you’ll be ahead of the competition before you’ve even begun.
Another benefit of tapping into that knowledge and experience is that they’ll probably think of things you might not have. They can call on past experiences and know what has worked for other businesses and what hasn’t.
For example, if you’re considering a collaboration with an influencer, they might be able to point you at one who they know creates great content for a niche audience, rather than wasting time on someone who has a large following but gets little engagement.
Again, it’s the little things that can make a big difference to your PR campaign and your business.
And as for whether or not my pitch was successful, time will tell!