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A PR who is a unfailingly good at her job rang me this week to sell me a story. (She emailed me first to tantalise me with the bare bones of a tale, and then, when I’d bitten her hand off with excitement, asked if she could ring at a specific time to tell me more: which to me is the perfect pitching process.)

While she represents a handful of gorgeous properties across Africa, the story she was suggesting wasn’t only about one of those. She had discovered that two other new camps were opening in the same region, and had done her research on all of them.

Not only did she have the dates on which all the rival camps were opening, but the prices they were going to charge, and the organisations heading them up.

By the end of the conversation, I had heard not only about her own company’s camp (which sounds glorious), but a couple of others that together would create the backbone of a perfect trip.

Within ten minutes, I had the elements of a story, the dates in which I’d have to travel to get the exclusive, and enough information to start to research the trip once I’d put the phone down. And half an hour later, I’d sent out a pitch to an editor that I know she won’t be able to resist.

The PR understands not only her journalists and publications, but that, for a travel journalist, one new hotel is vaguely interesting if you are a hotel reviewer. Two’s a coincidence, and could be useful. But three is the lucky number that signifies a bone fide trend and a sure-fire commission.

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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