“Public Relations is Critical at a Time like This”: Christina Lenkowski – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Christina Lenkowski
  • Position: CEO & President at Christina Lenkowski & Co.
  • Favorite Destination: Ireland
  • Dream Destination: Australia to go wine tasting and see a kangaroo

“Public Relations is Critical at a Time like This” – Show Notes and Highlights

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About Christina Lenkowski

  • Christina has explored the world. She grew up in Oregon. After college, she wanted to experience the world before settling down. With a student visa in hand, she lived in Ireland for six months and worked in an Irish bar. Then, when she came home, she went to Mexico for six months. Now, she lives in Boise, Idaho.
  • Her mom was director of the Agribusiness Council of Oregon, so she grew up in rural agritourism situations. 
  • Her first job was with a comics company in Portland called Dark Horse Comics. She loved working there. Her next job was a travel agency working with a tourism client that was Travel Oregon and the Willamette Valley Visitors Association. After college, when she got her first PR job, she didn’t think she was going to like it, but with her writing experience and social personality, she loved it!

 General PR Advice 

  • In PR, our number one priority is to help make a reporter’s life easier. Information needs to be easy and quick to find.
  • If you can’t provide that information quickly and easily for them, they’ll move on to someone else who has provided that. This is the case because often, reporters are working on five stories simultaneously and don’t have the time to dig for the information.

PR Advice #1: Updating Your Online Media Kit

  • Your online media kit on your website might be titled different things: press kit, press room, or media kit. 
  • Contact information is a must in your online media kit.
  • You can include your past press releases, past media coverage you’ve achieved. Those might need to be updated. 
  • You should have photos in your online media kit. You shouldn’t have to have media sign up to get your photos. These photos should be instantly downloadable and have at least low-res versions. Then, if they need a high-res version, they can ask you.
  • Itineraries are also nice in an online media kit. The media and audiences both love it. What can you do in 24 and 48 hours at your destination, including restaurants?
  • You might also want to include a facts and figures sheet.

PR Advice #2: Focus on Media Opportunities 

  • For bigger destinations, you might have an agency doing this for you already. 
  • For reactive media opportunities, there are amazing free resources called Source Bottle and HARO (Help A Reporter Out) that can help you get earned, free coverage. 
  • In sources like this, reporters will submit a query and state what they are looking for. Then, you can see those requests and respond to them. 
  • For proactive media opportunities, make an editorial calendar for pitchings. Print publications often work 5-7 months in advance. Pitch stories around that calendar.
  • Christina was watching a presentation by Destination Analysts that said fall is when people are going to start traveling again and we are going to see an uptick. If you pitch now for fall, you’ll be in the perfect timeframe.
  • You will usually start seeing editorial calendars starting in October for the next year. For example, the Martha Stewart Living Magazine published their 2020 calendar in October. This calendar shows a list of what they’re going to publish over the next year and it’s free.
  • You can get these in their media kits or in the advertising section, typically online.
  • The biggest thing is to stay in contact with local reporters and news outlets. You can call the front desk for emails. If you know exactly who you are trying to reach, that’s even better. Make yourself available and let them know you can help in any way and have stats to back up your pitch.
  • Media coverage is what takes people from considering to confirmed.

PR Tip #3: Don’t Go Dark

  • Don’t go dark. Especially, right now. Again, from the presentation that she listened to, it said the two places people are going to travel to as soon as they can are beaches and rural areas.
  • They want to go to a place where there are not as many people and that they can drive to.
  • For rural destinations and tour operators, this is the time to be talking about your destination. People are going to be doing road trips, and they want to visit less crowded spaces. It’s an ideal opportunity.

PR “Don’ts” Right Now

  • Don’t run ads or promotions as if this was a normal time. Messaging and budget need to shift.
  • Don’t tell them to travel right now. It’s going to come off badly and they’ll ignore.
  • Don’t go dark. You might feel like you don’t know what to say or how to say it, but people want to hear from you. Each week people are growing more and more excited to learn about travel experiences and destinations.

People are going to travel again. Get in front of them with media coverage.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast