- What does “public relations” mean?When it comes to Sparrow Travel Media, we break it down like this: There are three ways to get media coverage – earned, owned and paid.
- Earned media (sometimes also called ‘free media’) is what we focus on, and this means publicity that came about through promotional efforts. This tends to be the most trusted form of media, as the information is unbiased.
- Paid media is publicity that you pay for. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, many bloggers/influencers that come to visit a destination also charge a fee to write about it, the key is how you can best amplify this media to leverage more coverage.
- Owned media represents properties that you own — website, blog, social media channels, etc. — and control the messaging for.
- What exactly does “pitching” mean?
“Pitching” is a term used regularly by PR and media professionals. Essentially it means that you are suggesting a story idea to a writer, editor or publication for their consideration. If they like the idea, they may request more information.
- How long until I should start seeing results?
Media relations is all about patience! Publicity is not a one-time thing, it is ongoing, and it builds over time. You will refine your pitch, implement feedback and continue plowing ahead. In a world of instant gratification, it is important to be reminded that many publications are working on a 3-9 month lead time.
- Can you guarantee results?
In short, no — we (or any other PR service for that matter) don’t have any control over what publications choose to write about. With that being said, the more often you pitch the more opportunities you’re giving yourself to get coverage!
- Do you provide help with pitches?
Unless you are a “Top of the Line” member, which includes input on your pitch, we are unable to take a look at your pitches and make suggestions. However, we do have sample pitches available on the member side, and our private Facebook group is an excellent place to ask for opinions on pitches.
- What kinds of media outlets are included?
You’ll find queries from national magazines (i.e. AFAR, Sunset, HuffPost Canada, etc.), regional magazines (i.e. Portland Monthly, AAA, WHERE, etc.), trade magazines (i.e. Recommend, Wine Spectator, etc.), national online media and influential bloggers.
- What if a contact I’m looking for isn’t included?
If there’s a specific writer or editor for a publication (not freelancer) that you don’t see contact info for, please let us know—we will work our absolute hardest to get that information for you! You can use the contact form to reach us or post in our private Facebook group.
- Why do you charge for this service?
We charge because it takes a lot of time — to the tune of a few hours every day across a few staff members — to round up these publicity opportunities and make sure you are aware of them (and that the website is working correctly, media lists are updated, etc.). Our $137-165 monthly fee may seem steep to some destinations, but compared to a traditional agency that would typically charge a monthly retainer fee of at least $2,000 a month (and usually much more than that), we think this is an incredible value for all the features you can access on the members side. In fact, we have had multiple people say “you need to charge more” but that is not the point of Sparrow Travel Media — we are here to help destinations of all sizes fulfill their desire to grow the tourism industry in their area. This truly is a passion project!
To help people take a chance on Sparrow, we have also provided members a no-contract, cancel-anytime option. We think you’ll be pleased with your investment!
- What forms of payment do you accept?
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and debit cards.
- I’m a freelance writer, can I use this service?
Absolutely! Sparrow Travel Media is an excellent resource for freelance travel writers looking for proactive stories to pitch. There are more tips on the members side specifically for freelancers, and how to utilize this tool.
- Can I sign up if I’m a PR firm?
You can, but please be aware that each of your tourism clients should have their own account. The reason for this is that we keep track of member profiles in case we have media reach out to us directly looking for a source.
- Why do you only accept members in the United States & Canada?
At this time we only accept members who are based in the U.S. & Canada to make sure our members are successful! It can be hard to pitch destinations to places that are difficult/expensive to travel to.
If you are interested in Sparrow and located in another country, please let us know so we can gauge international interest in expansion!
- What elements should I have in place to take advantage of these opportunities?
Media today wants to be able to go to a professional-looking website and find the information they are looking for. You also want to have some hi- and low-resolution professional photos available to send to media at any time should they request it. Make sure the photos cover the events, seasons, adventures, etc. that you might pitch the most often.
If you need a website refresh, contact us and we can get you some preferred vendors names. We’re not talking anything super in-depth, but even one well-designed homepage can make a world of difference to a reporter.
- Do you dislike traditional PR agencies?
Absolutely not! We have worked with and for many great agencies that have done wonders for larger tourism entities. Sparrow Travel Media was started to specifically help lesser-known and under-funded entities who may not have a monthly budget of $2,000+ get the coverage they deserve. We value our PR agency partners, and appreciate thework they do on behalf of their clients.