Media don't like media
Week before last — back when British temperatures were less Saharan — I was sent several releases about various destinations’ strong performance in Time magazine’s World’s Greatest Places for 2022 (as an aside, isn’t it a bit late to release such a list?). There also arrived news of high placings amid a chart of Earth’s best cities to visit right now by the similarly-named Time Out.
I’ve touched on this before, but I’d be very surprised if any of these stories were picked up by travel desks of the mainstream media here (though please do write and tell me if I’m wrong!). Firstly, all media, even when not direct competitors, are rivals and thus wholly loathe to promote one another. Second, in running a short news-story about, say, Time’s poll, a publication would effectively be suggesting that their own judgement was less sound, less authoritative.
This reminds me of a red-faced incident in my greener journalism days when I pitched directly to an editor at an event, over some salmon vol au vents. “Sounds nice, but what’s the hook?” he enquired of my suggested destination. “Lonely Planet named it their number-one place to visit this year,” I countered. Whether due to the questionable canapes or my answer, he suddenly looked disgusted. “So we should admit to our readers that Lonely Planet knows more than us?”
I guess it goes back a little to what the point of a press release actually is, per my recent column. Perhaps the client simply wants to shout about their acclaim, and you must let them. Perhaps you think that, even if no coverage is forthcoming, it will subconsciously cement your destination’s credentials and status. Both approaches have merit.
Personally, though, I’d save stories like this for one-on-one media meetings, for use as back-up, rather like a CV. Or just enjoy the coverage in its own right, rather than recycle it in the hope for more. As a marketing tool, finishing high in Time or Time Out’s listings must be a huge boon; as a PR asset, I sadly reckon it’s less effective.
What Richard thinks…