How to Use Twitter to Generate Press Coverage for you Rural Tourism Town

by Joanne Steele on October 29, 2009

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I recently directed you to one of the best sites I’ve found online to teach you the basics about setting up your Twitter site.

If you are now on Twitter, you’re probably trying to figure out how to make it useful for your town and your business. People are starting to “follow” you, and you are probably following them back. You are trying each day to find something worthwhile to say in 140 characters

And you might be wondering how all this will bring you more customers.

I have discovered two great blog posts that will help you turn your Twitter presence into an effective media and customer attraction machine. Be sure to leave each a “thanks” in their comments. They have saved us hours of research by compiling these lists and ideas.

Today I will give you some ideas about how to use Twitter to get press.

Check back tomorrow to learn how to attract more customers as Twitter followers.

There is a huge concentration of travel writers tweeting daily about their adventures.

I ran across this list, 101 Most Awesome Adventure & Travel Twitterers You Should Be Following, put together by travel blogger, Mindaugas Markus.

He also includes several additional lists of travel twitters – hundreds of opportunities for you to explore!

Here’s how to approach these names and lists.

1. Read Mindaugus’ descriptions of each travel tweeter, and follow those that apply to your destination.

If they travel and write about a specific destination and you’re in that region, follow them.

If they write about a niche that is popular or growing in popularity in your area, follow them.

If they write about general travel including rural destinations, follow them.

Don’t waste time on urban travel writer/bloggers or people who are concentrating on activities or areas not pertinent to you. Remember, all their tweets are going to land on your page!

2. Keep a list of the areas of interest of writers you’ve followed and who are now following you back.

If you’re now being followed by travel tweeting fishermen or cyclists or rural culture enthusiasts, tweet with them in mind. As followers they will be getting your daily tweets.

3. To get them to write about your area or business take it one step further.

Find their web sites, blogs and Facebook pages and start keeping track of what they are writing about in a longer format.

Be much more discerning here – you’ll not have time to become a fan of every travel writer who is your Twitter Follower.

Comment regularly on their posts. Be helpful and informative. Remember that you are building relationships, not posting virtual billboards for your town all over the place.

Once you’ve established a relationship, invite a travel writer who is a good fit for your area to come and visit. Plan a familiarization (FAM) trip around a great event or the best season for an activity they regularly write about.

As a former county tourism director, I discovered early on that the most successful FAM trips were not the group type. For small rural communities you’ll be more successful by sending a travel writer a personal invitation to your area and planning a trip specifically for them.

Expect to comp much of the experience if you are working with freelance writers. Major magazines provide writers with an expense account. Freelancers are on their own.

Because you’ll be asking lodging, dining and activity service providers to help you by providing their services for free, you want to make certain that you’re working with a legitimate travel writer. If you’ve been following someone online, you’ll know.

With the recent buzz about paid online reviewing, your writer will most likely be publishing that he or she was your guest. Because freelance travel writers have worked this way for years, you’ll probably notice that if some part of their trip was a great success, they’ll write about it and anything that wasn’t just doesn’t get mentioned.

By using Twitter as a way to discover travel writers who are compatible with your area, you will be able to generate a good online media list and expand your online presence through articles written by these pros.

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