There has not been a new post in quite some time. That’s not because there’s been a lack of activity to talk about, just that I’ve been eyeball deep in client delivery AND starting a new FT job. Thankfully these two activities go hand in hand. It’s a little different than the norm. Here’s the story.
I am now the Marketing Strategist at the Vertek Division (Randolph, VT) of Applied Research Associates, which is based in Albuquerque, NM. They’re an engineering and R&D company that solves large national problems from divisions nationwide. I spend about half of my time developing their digital marketing presence around certain products within their overall ARA web scope. The other half of my time I continue to offer freelance communications and media services locally and within the national snowsports world. These clients are invoiced from ARA rather than me personally, but that’s the only difference. I have basically been “acquired” as a business entity by ARA (my word not theirs). The role may evolve as we progress.
Recently I did some press release work for Mt. Abram Ski Area in Maine.
The announcement is getting some nice coverage helped along by attracting Associated Press interest. (Link is now out of date – but it was to many mainstream news outlets covering this news announcement, helped along by AP pickup.)
If your news releases are mostly netting you a few internet cut-and-pastes, then consider some professional help. You likely need to refine your message and timing to be more useful to media outlets. It may also be time to strip your marketing copy from your media relations.
Bonus tip: don’t oversend press releases turning your brand into more of an annoying pest rather than a trusted source. Restraint is a key component of media relations in today’s noisy news climate.
If you’ve been following along, you know that in each of the RV parks we have stopped at, I have produced specific videos tailored to their individual communications needs – some with local guidance – others first decline my offer – then change their mind once the product exists and is deemed valuable.
The park in Napa had no visual representation on their website and a simple message, so a broad visual documentation of the park, while also giving it some ownership as the location of choice in Napa was in order. This will be their prime online calling card for prospective guests.
Next we stopped in Pismo Beach and produced two videos in trade for two weeks of RV camping at the lovely Pismo Coast Village. The park decided to contract me for a third too! They had just launched a new website and needed content for the testimonials section, a highlight reel of their amenities and something to explain/link them to the local butterfly attraction. Done.
Now we are in Malibu at the Malibu Beach RV Park. It is one of the most unique spots to camp we have ever seen. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s a bummer that the park suffers from an overwhelming amount of negative online reviews, which can dissuade many travellers. Most of these reviews focus on distaste for the local rules. This park is in a highly desirable (close to LA) spot, has limited land on which to host guests, and has challenges with erosion on the steep slopes which can impact the entire camping equation. There are good reasons for the rules and the enforcement of them in this popular spot. As a reasonably experienced RVer now, they are not out of the question.
Rather than try to refute a flood of online negativity, the better bet is to put it into perspective and explain the situation on your own turf. With that scenario in mind, I produced this video for the Malibu Beach RV Park. Hopefully they elect to own it to help rebuild their online reputation and better set guest expectations for years to come. Once it resides on their website, potential guests will put much less weight onto the folks moaning about rules. I produced a first draft of the video and showed it to onsite management, got their tips and then added other topics before rendering the final. I have been unable to meet with ownership (onsite management passed along – thanks) to discuss our typical trade deal (which was a lock in prior locales), but I am hopeful that we’ll get together in some way (by Monday). Our “working trip” will carry on and they’ll start turning the electronic tide. It will equal more visitors and better educated visitors. Check it out.
They did what?
The “kicker file” is one of the most mutually accessible ways of getting national or international media attention, even if you generally don’t deserve it. At the end of most newscasts is a lighthearted look at something funny happening around the world. These sections also exist in large circulation newspapers and magazines. Your business or cause may not be able to penetrate the front page with hard news that you can control, but you may be able to shine a friendly light if you are willing to be a bit goofy and use a commonly popular topic to your advantage.
Take the World’s Largest Snowwoman for example. Bethel, Maine had already set the world record (as deemed by Guinness) for world’s largest Snowman and simply beating their old record might not get past the editorial desk, so what to do? Capitalize on the interest in gender issues and build a snowwoman instead! Yes it’s kind of ridiculous, but still rallies the community, gets people to talk, and interests editors all over the globe. Give it lipstick, eyelashes, wider hips (I guess) and bam – you’ve got a snowwoman. Along the way the region is highlighted as a top winter destination and people from far and wide come to see it.
The majority of the resources to build it were donated. I was lucky enough to help out and also represented the local ski area at the unveiling. Got to hang out with Senator Olympia Snowe too. Yes, that’s her name. Check the video.
There are many steps involved, but setting a world record is a sure route to making a big splash. It’s not as simple as just declaring yourself the greatest on earth. You need to submit for approval from Guinness, which can take around 4 weeks to get an answer. In the end you will be subject to their opinion on whether or not you are setting a valid and quantifiable record. It’s also not free. More information is on the Guinness website
Want to improve your marketing in Vermont? Let’s get lunch.