Press trips are a fantastic way to introduce journalists to your brand. There is no substitute for an in person, hands-on experience to communicate your story (although press events in other cities are important too, you can see “5 Tips for Planning Great Press Events” here. Recently, the Benson Marketing Group team organized a trip to the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) appellation in Monterey County for writers on behalf of our client, Hahn Family Wines. Here are a few takeaways from that experience that will help make any press trip a success:
Tell a Broader Story: Even though Hahn Family Wines sponsored this press trip, it was important to share the spotlight with other SLH producers. Exposure beyond Hahn Family Wines provided writers depth to the SLH story and created a richer, more fulfilling experience. Though counterintuitive, when clients share the spotlight it works in their favor, not against them. In fact, the first press result from the trip featured Hahn Family Wines prominently within a story about SLH.
Offer Authentic Spokespeople: It’s important that spokespeople are genuine so writers can focus on absorbing information instead of determining if a source is trustworthy. Spokespeople should be able to genuinely convey passion for the subject matter and a love for what they do each day.
Provide Access to Unavailable Experiences: While it’s important to demonstrate what experiences are available to the general public, writers also enjoy “off-the-grid” experiences that they could not have otherwise. For instance, one of the producers we visited has a tasting room outside SLH. Instead of visiting the tasting room, we met in the middle of the producer’s SLH vineyard for a conversation and tasting. On a press trip to the Languedoc region in France, we arranged a tour for writers in cars made by French manufacturer Renault. Also, something as simple as a private dinner with the winemaker and his/her family makes lasting memories.
Free Time Works in Your Favor: Leave approximately 90 minutes of free time prior to the evening’s activities so writers can relax or catch up on other work. Most will need to work on other writing assignments while they’re on the trip. Writers can also use this time to explore the area on their own and reflect on the experiences of the day. One writer, in particular, on the SLH trip used his free time to walk along the Monterey Bay and consider the source of the cool wind—a defining features of the Santa Lucia Highlands terroir—traveling from the Bay through the Salinas Valley.
Small Details Make Big Differences: The small details set a good press trip apart from a great press trip. Have a welcome bag with a hand-written note accompanied by an assortment of snacks and bottled water for them to pick up at check-in. Will you be outdoors all day? Bring sunscreen to share. And carry a phone charger with various cords to offer your writers a power boost in between destinations.