My 2023 Challenge to You
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37 stories. That might be a new record for our firm.

In the month of January we had 37 stories hit for our clients:
The New York Times
Good Housekeeping
Travel + Leisure
Garden & Gun
Just to name a few.

How did we do that? Well, that’s a bit harder to pinpoint.

PR is also known as Earned Media Coverage. Let’s make sure we are emphasizing the word EARN. It’s not owed, it’s not guaranteed, it’s not paid for, it’s not produced in house.

By definition to earn something is to gain deservedly in return for one's behavior or achievements. Meaning we have to work for it. Hard. For every single story. All 37 of them.

And while I can't tell you in just a few sentences what we did to land each story, the one absolute thing we didn’t do to land any of these stories? Send a press release.

Y’all I hate to tell some of you this: but press releases died with the fax machine. If you are one of those few people who still relies on either, I’m sorry but I’m here to tell you it’s time to come on over into 2023. It’s nice out here. A little tech-heavy but we’re all adjusting.

Seriously though, you have to stop thinking that a press release is going to land you any sort of real quality media coverage.

That’s not to say the information isn’t important- but you need to take that who, what, when, and where and make it relevant to WHY NOW- why is this part of a bigger trend or relevant for the current news cycle? Why should a journalist care? And more importantly why will their readers care?

If you are one of those who is still spending  HOURS waiting for someone to approve a quote you drafted for them, I challenge you to JUST SAY NO to press releases this year. No one wants to use your canned quote; if they want a quote they want something original and will ask for it.

I know it’s scary, but so is the fact that CNET is now publishing stories written by AI. Yes, you read that correctly. But that’s a whole other topic for a different day.

Until next time,
The Sparkle Boss

Case Study: Macon, Georgia
Bill Gates famously said “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR.”

So how far can $1 really go when it comes to PR?

We started working with Macon, Georgia in February 2022 and immediately heard the rumblings that their National Historic Park was in front of Congress and expected to be named the next National Park within the year. You get one chance when it comes to major news in the tourism industry. 2023 is Macon’s chance.

We seized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them as September neared and were able to land them on not one, not two, but eight “Where to Go in 2023” lists.

Macon, a city that has historically been known as a stopover on the way to another city, was featured by  EIGHT top media outlets as a destination “to go in 2023” — Frommers, Southern Living, Yahoo!, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Bloomberg, Men’s Journal, INSIDER, CBS This Morning and a spot on The New York Times’ coveted annual 52 Places to Go in 2023 list.

We spent $0 to earn more than 678 million impressions and $6.2 million in value. Every single one of these placements resulted from a only a pitch. I wonder what Bill Gates would say about that.   
And the Award Goes To.....

We are thrilled to announce we are the recipient of 2 HSMAI Adrian Awards, which recognize excellence in travel marketing.

Out of over 600 entries submitted this year, our PR program with VisitGreenvilleSC was recognized with awards for Print Feature Placements and New Opening or Launches. This 10 page feature story in EatingWell magazine earned a silver award for print feature placements; while this NBC Nightly News story about the opening of Unity Park earned a bronze.

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