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Press Releases: Content Creation for DMO's

Posted: October 24, 2013
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Press releases... a time-honored tradition at Fortune 500's, small businesses and yes, even Destination Marketing Organizations. The question is, do you really put your press release content to work for you, or does it just sit on your website hoping to be picked up by the Google and PR Newswire's of the world?

Going back to my DMO days, we sent out a ton of press releases, to the tune of 80+ in the year 2011 alone. That's a lot of information that needs to go out about a destination and I'd be willing to bet most of you are doing similar volume. Even if you are a smaller destination and only doing half of that, that is still a ton of opportunity to talk up your destination by leveraging the pieces of information within those releases to fuel blog related content.

So what do I mean by all of this you ask? Well its simple folks, we talkin bout content (in Allen Iverson voice)! Think of content as the oxygen of marketing, it's all around us, and in todays landscape, we very much need it to survive. But where does it come... a news release, a topic model, your sales team? The answer is all of the above, and today I'm gonna talk to you about how you can repurpose content from your press releases and turn it into engaging visitor/stakeholder blog content.

So enough of my theoretical babble, lets find a few examples and talk about how to turn a press release into great blog content:

  • San Francisco Travel - So i just went to the San Francisco Travel website and found the most recent and am going to pull a blog post topic out of this press release. This is a great news release by the San Fran team highlighting the tourism marketing efforts of the previous year in the form of Economic Development, which just happens to be one of my favorite topics.

    The news release is full of tidbits of information regarding the impact of tourism and visitor spending in the city of San Francisco. Since this is a topic that almost every DMO to some degree provides on an annual basis, I am sure this is relevant to most of you. If it were me, I would take five of these factoids mentioned in the press release go with in a top five format. So something along the lines of "Top Five Things to Know About Visitor Spending in San Francisco." Now obviously the title needs a little work, but this is just one example of how to repurpose the content. Start with the heavy hitting data first, such as "These visitors spent $8.93 billion in 2012, up 5.5 percent from the previous year." From there you can hit the point home to stakeholders and communities that tourism does indeed matter.

  • Visit Austin Texas - This press release is one that most DMO's see often when the local airport announces new domestic and or international service with direct or indirect flights to and from your destination. For this specific post I would key in on what this means for the destination long term as far as my content piece. The CEO's comments foreshadow this a little, in regards to the UK representing the top overseas market and the prospect of flight service 7 days a week. A post like this allows you to take a proactive approach to giving potential visitors insight as to where the flight service is now as opposed to where it will be in 6 months to a year, and creates that buzz.

Now those are just a few examples and I really could have gone to town with this post, but this gives you a solid foundation with which to move forward on your own. Be sure in your posts to link back to the original press release at some point also, as a point of reference for the user.

To sum it all up, press releases are great, but there exists so much opportunity to extend their reach and make them work more for you. Back before I become a lover of all things DMO, I worked for Hertz Local Edition renting cars in the hot Florida son. Our branch managers used to always talk about how when we have cars on the lot, we're losing money, and those cars need to be out on the road making money for the branch.

Same goes for hotel inventory, in that an empty room isn't doing you much good so it needs to be occupied and making you money. The same can be said in this case for your press release and news content in general in that it needs to be out there and working for you in the form of creating revenue, awareness, or even both.

Where do you draw content inspiration? Press releases, topic modeling or something else? Let us know by chatting with us on Facebook or Twitter.