Media coverage is vital to any brand’s success, but this topic is particularly important to the hospitality industry here in the North Bay.
After all, both travelers and locals alike rely on articles, blog posts, and online reviews when booking their hotels, winery tours, and restaurant reservations.
The hospitality industry in Wine Country is growing. With more hotels, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries than ever before, publicity matters if a business strives to stand out. Writers and journalists in hospitality are stretched thin. With short deadlines, late-night writing sprees, and an array of topics to cover in the North Bay, writers are looking to feature brands that make their job a little bit easier.
Instead of having to call a tasting room for information about the latest wine release or going into a restaurant to learn about an event, they prefer to simply visit a business’s website to find more information about the subject matter.
And unfortunately, when they get there…often there isn’t a lot of information at hand.
Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned sommelier, wine educator, journalist, consultant, critic, and public speaker based in Sonoma County. So, take it from him when he notes how things have changed:
“Back when I first started wine writing, members of the media would be an employee of a publication, and they receive a press kit from wineries, complete with wine labels and printed up wine specs for most new releases.”
That is definitely not how the world works in this digital era.
Writers are often freelancers, working from home. They’ve got little or no budget for photo shoots and dining out at all the new restaurant openings. One way that hospitality marketers can ensure that the members of the media want to write about their brand is by regularly updating their websites with the latest information. Even better, have a press, trade, and/or media section available on that website.
A press section on a website is not about customers. It is about providing clarity for a writer, salesperson, sommelier, or wine buyer.
It is one way to tell the story of your brand. If you don’t provide the story on your website, especially on the media page, then the aforementioned people may get details wrong – or not want to feature your brand at all. By the time journalists land on the press section of your website, they are usually already writing about you and simply want to make sure they get the basics correct, such as when your business started and tasting notes.
It’s also a good place to grab a high-resolution image.
If you don’t have a media section yet, or simply want to revamp yours, here are the six things you need to know when creating a media section for your hospitality website:
1. Add a link to your press section on the homepage of your website, at the bottom.
There is a reason why this is the first bullet point. The most important thing to remember is to make this page easy to find for busy journalists.
2. Make sure to have a range of copy on this webpage.
Start off with a paragraph about your business, then the contact info for PR, awards or accolades, and fact sheets with background information on your products or services. Timber Cove Inn in Jenner, has a “Press & Accolades” page on the bottom of its website for anyone looking for more information.
Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.