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Trying to be useful

I found myself discussing “reader utility” more than once last week. This is a criterion that’s easily forgotten when I pitch a story, yet wholly crucial. It’s all very well my writing about somewhere fantastic, but there’s no point if none of the publication’s audience can follow me there — or can’t feasibly have a similar experience.

This is the fatal flaw for a lot of annual festivals — they won’t take place again for ages, and their next line-up will probably be different — and so it proved too for an idea of mine. I’d been investigating the main filming location of Saltburn, an upcoming movie generating some Oscar buzz; alas, that turned out to be a private country house estate that’s never open to visitors. It might work for other sections, but there was no travel story, sadly.

With festivals, as well as one-off (or very short-term) spa offerings and hotel events plus anything pop-up, the better odds for PRs are instead in pursuing list entries or news stories. Where the latter is concerned, a good image goes an especially long way.

Timing is also key. In most cases, publications will want to promote these sporadic events a week or so ahead of time, leaving readers time to feasibly plan a visit.

Finally, an angle helps. If a newspaper, blog or magazine promoted every fun-sounding festival (for example) they heard about, they’d do nothing but. So the trick is to make yours somehow unique. Is this the inaugural event (as for a wacky Lithuanian event in today’s Metro)? Is it a distinctly more impressive line-up than in previous years, or does it fit with a burgeoning lifestyle trend? That sort of thing can help.

What Richard Thinks…

“For sheer novelty, if nothing else, this from Bekki at Meteoric wins the weekly gong “

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