9 Tips To Remember When Pitching Canadian Media Outlets

May 25, 2017

There is no denying that the United States has experienced a decline in Canadian arrivals over the past two years – largely due to the weakening of the Canadian dollar. However, Canada continues to be a large source of inbound travelers to the U.S. After all, it is only a short flight or even drive, to some states from “north of the border”. With that in mind, publicists from destination marketing organizations continue to pitch media outlets in Canada to strengthen their position in the market and raise consumer awareness.

In 2016, Development Counsellors International surveyed 120 lifestyle journalists, both in the United States and Canada, to determine similarities and differences in editorial preferences. The study, “The Divergent Preferences of Travel Media,” not only unveiled the differences between United States and Canadian media, but gave valuable insight on the evolving way publicists and journalists are working together.

Here are 9 tips from our study that will help you pitch like a pro the next time you approach a Canadian media outlet:

1. Keep your online gallery up to date

Our study found that the most useful items for Canadian journalists in an online media room are photos. It’s important for destination marketing organizations to consistently update their media gallery for journalists. In addition to photos, story ideas have come in as the second most useful item in online media rooms, bumping press releases down to third.

2. Don’t ignore Instagram

While Facebook and Twitter remain the top social media platforms to spark story ideas, Instagram experienced a huge spike this year and became the third most referenced social media channel to stimulate story ideas. 37 percent of Canadian media use Instagram as a reference to spark story ideas.

3. Don’t underestimate the value of a good pitch

Pitches are the third most used tool in determining stories for Canadian media. Although it may be time-consuming to craft custom-made pitches, the power of the pitch is not to be underestimated.

4. Pitch via email, before you make a phone call

If you’re thinking of calling a journalist right now, think again. Almost all, 94 percent, of Canadian journalists say that they prefer to be contacted by email, instead of by phone.  So start your relationship with a strong subject line and follow with a well-researched pitch. Then ask for a phone call in your email to further discuss your pitch.

5. Use Press/FAM Trip in the subject line

“Press/FAM Trip” has made its way up the list for the most captivating term for Canadian media. 54 percent of Canadian journalists say that they are most likely to open your email if you have the words “press trip” or “FAM trip” in your subject line. “Invitation” comes in second, and the name of the destination comes in third. Who can really resist when your subject line says something like, “Tahiti Sailing Press Trip”.

6. Always keep your social platforms and website up-to-date with news and research

Aside from traveling the globe, what do you think Canadian travel journalists spend most of their time doing? Our study says research, a finding that points back to having an updated media gallery and active social media presence – you never know when a journalist is researching your destination. Writing and emailing are taking up less of a Canadian journalists’ time.

7. Consider a longer press trip – ideally 5 days or more

As previously mentioned, you are more likely to capture a Canadian journalists’ attention if you have the words “Press/FAM Trip” in an email line – but how long should your press trip be? 41 percent of Canadian media prefer press trips that are 5 days or longer. Although this may vary depending on your itinerary and destination, this is the most ideal length of stay for Canadian journalists.

8. Socialize your media hits

The influence of social media has become more powerful than ever. That’s why it’s important for destination marketing organizations to stay active, and use their social channels as a way to spread content and engage with audiences in an interactive way. 57 percent of Canadian media use Facebook and Twitter, equally, as their top distribution platforms while on assignment in a destination, DMOs should maximize this coverage through sharing across all social platforms – alerting other journalists who are looking to cover the story, too.

9. Schedule your media event around a cocktail reception

If you’re planning a media event, it’s important to get the timing right. Although setting up meetings during the day seems like a good idea, Canadian journalists actually prefer evening engagements. Our study found that Canadian journalists are more likely to attend a media event if it is around a cocktail reception, or a dinner.

 

Have any additional tips? Tweet at us at @aboutdci

 

Interested in reading the full study for yourself? Download your copy here.

 

Ally Carlson

Written by Ally Carlson

Ally is a communications veteran based in Toronto. She not only creates original content that engages consumers, she's adept at leveraging media platforms and social influence that motivates consumer travel.

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