Ever wondered how a travel journalist has so much first-hand knowledge about every location you have ever wanted to visit? Chances are they have been on a familiarisation (or two).
A famil or familiarisation is a PR tool designed to give select journalists the opportunity to experience a region, venue, product or package. It is conducted with the intention that a journalist will then write a favourable story about their experience.
Typically famils are conducted by businesses in the tourism industry, to demonstrate the latest properties or offerings. This industry thrives on experiences, and journalists can help these businesses to meet or exceed client expectations about a region, venue or package by writing about their experiences.
However, you don’t have to be a hotel or tourist attraction to use this media tactic. If you manage a venue, such as an attraction or restaurant, think about how you can create an experience that you can invite a journalist to enjoy. Consider the interesting aspects of your venue you would like highlighted and work these into a fun and attractive prospect for a journalist (or even blogger).
When planning a famil consider the following:
Know your audience
Understanding your target audience is critical to the success of a famil. Research the journalists and bloggers who write about your industry or area of expertise prior to inviting them. By contacting the right journalist you are more likely to get them to attend your famil and write about their experience with your business.
Be the host with the most
A famil needs to be informative and engaging, and as the host your job is to do just that. If the host is passionate and enthusiastic when showcasing the business, it can make for a more engaging and memorable experience. It is also important for the hosts to be welcoming to the journalists as they are out of their comfort zone. They will appreciate the friendliness and consideration, and are more likely to remember you and your business once the famil is over.
Pack in the action
Keep in mind when planning to showcase your business, a full itinerary is critical. Journalists are there to experience and see everything you have to offer. Plan events that will provide variety and insight, try thinking outside the square by pinpointing key areas to highlight rather than showing everything.
For example, highlighting a new attraction at a venue and then conducting an activity that incorporates the attraction such as playing a game of beach volleyball to highlight the new activities available at a venue or showcasing the latest technology on offer and then creating an interactive game around this.
Once the famil is over, stay in touch with the journalists that attended. It is a good way to gain feedback and keep the relationship alive. Continued engagement with attendees will keep you and your business front of mind, and could lead to media opportunities in the future.
The important thing to remember about famils is to only use one when you have something physical to showcase or promote. Ensure to plan ahead and provide ample opportunities to highlight what it is your business has to offer. This will hopefully create a positive and memorable experience for the journalist and could result in some positive media coverage.