Leigh Cort Publicity 2013
Leigh Cort Publicity
“When in an instant a news story travels the globe via internet, radio, TV or newspaper, the effects can be dramatic. Your reputation and image are at stake”. This was and still is the original concept that prompted me to launch a professional travel public relations company ten years ago. A collection of 27 historic bed & breakfast inns in St. Augustine, Florida became my first client, propelling me into a world of international travel writers that found St. Augustine (circa 1565) as fascinating as the amazing properties.
My goals were lofty AND achievable on behalf of the inns. I found that there is a unique finesse when representing a ‘collection’ of clients vs. one individual property, but the major point was that there was POWER IN NUMBERS! I took time (ONE YEAR) to learn each property individually in order to understand what niche segment of the media market affected their bottom line. And writers loved coming to St. Augustine to experience one OR MORE of the member inns. It was like a ‘tasting party’… with many flavors, especially when the Inns’ pedigrees spanned 1791 – 1918.
I realized that media coverage wasn’t going to happen overnight and a group visit occasionally was more productive than an individual writer’s visit. So I began inviting 15-25 journalists to a 3-night trip, sprinkling their adventure with distinctive dining, adventures, attractions and the people who made the destination come to life. I proposed brand campaigns that consisted of themed visits, giving the writers a story that they could pitch and write with ease…from romance and history to architecture …even gardens. I wanted to bring media coverage to the client while guaranteeing great content to the writers and making their job easy!
However, hosting a solo journalist is a very rich experience for the writer. They don’t follow a strict itinerary as a group does; I give them unlimited free time to pursue their own pleasures after lengthy discussions and emails. They have a true ‘guest experience’ without the rigors of group activities. BOTH are valuable to the b&b’s ~ and individual visits can happen with a week’s lead time. The group trip takes 4-6 months to plan and execute.
What do I bring to my clients that they can’t do themselves?
In addition to being the ongoing ‘point person’ that is attentive to each writer’s requests for a visit and pre-qualifying them for credibility, I develop, promote and track media coverage for every client’s style, budget and timing intact. On the other hand, I’m cognizant of the journalist’s last minute request for photos, interviews, facts checked…and sometimes their inability to come up with a story. THAT is the easy part!
Whether a start-up b&b organization or an individual property, I integrate influential media contacts and clever ideas with effective writing talents that inspire the media and allow the innkeepers to do what THEY do best – take care of their guests and their inns.
With a colorful background of special events in the entertainment and party industry, I bring a fresh approach and creative style of ideas to the b&b’s. I don’t have a magic wand! It’s a collaborative and positive integration that we develop together. Weekly and bi-weekly meetings are crucial to the success of working the plan, since travel publicity isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon!
What Innkeepers Can Do To Be Ready for Media Interest
Become familiar with your local media outlets (TV, radio, online, newspaper, magazine, social media). Develop a relationship with your local Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, letting them know that you have occasional openings to host travel journalists. Put a ‘photo section’ on your site that has low, media and high resolution images that are easy to download by media requesting photos. Maintain current seasonal recipes to forward at any time to writers and read everything you can about travel trends and how they impact your inn and destination. Consider BRIEF video tours of your inn that can be embedded in your website and THEN stay up late perfecting your social media talents!!!
~ ~ ~
Taking a pivotal role in client websites and their social media presence is one of my significant roles today. Being available 24/7 is what keeps my b&b’s and I on a futuristic path together. Forecasting travel trends, knowing their niche market, keeping a broad perspective on their behalf gives them an edge over the competition in their respective geographic areas.
A decade later, Leigh Cort Publicity has gently expanded to include celebrity chefs, Jazz bars and restaurants, cultural organizations, a BarBQ restaurant franchise, authors and a football linebacker. Where did he come from? I needed a little sports celebrity BUZZ myself! I love to have fun~
WHAT DOES THE MEDIA LOOK FOR TODAY?
What press release GETS your attention?
What makes a valued destination for a travel story?
When is the best timing to receive information about a property?
What gets your goat?
How can individual properties win your nod?
What are the Top (5) things you admire when receiving a press release or media invitation?
WHAT THEY SAY~
"I always look forward to working with Leigh Cort, especially when that means spending time with her in person. She is not only efficient, professional, and charming but goes out of her way to cater to the needs of individual journalists. That is a rare calling in the 21st century." Dan Schlossberg, President, North American Travel Journalists Association, Travel Editor, www.consumeraffairs.com
"The King and Prince Beach & Golf resort has had the pleasure of working with Ms. Leigh Cort for almost two years and we have benefited greatly from that relationship. Once we hired Leigh to handle our Public Relations the awareness of the King and Prince increased dramatically and I give credit to the three Travel Writer familiarization trips Leigh co-ordinated and hosted for that success. Leigh definitely knows the travel market and she uses that expertise to positively and successfully promote the King and Prince throughout the United States. I could not be more pleased with Leigh’s efforts and look forward continuing our partnership for years to come."
Michael B Johnson | Vice President of Resort Operations SSI
"What a resource. Not only does Leigh have the contacts to reach any media outlet, she has a passion and personal relationship with every client she represents. Her knowledge and desire for success is second to none. Leigh is a crucial part of our team, we couldn't do it without her." Mark Vandeloo, General Manager, Casa Marina Hotel
"Leigh is truly a writer’s ally and secret weapon! She’s dynamic, professional, and a rare combination of efficiency and creativity. From food to the arts, history to family fun, Leigh's itineraries are smart, enjoyable and thought provoking." Wanda Mann, New York City
"Leigh has diligently been guiding and directing our PR campaigns for the Casa and St. Francis Inns; she's been directly responsible for a significant increase of regional, national and int'l. media coverage including radio, print, online and TV. Her personal relationships with multi-media journalists and editors has given us exposure that we might never have received on our own."Joe Finnegan, Owner
"The best thing we did was to hire Leigh Cort. I'm amazed at the publicity, energy and the single driven purpose this woman has and her commitment to her clients." Casablanca Inn
“Leigh Cort never sleeps! Her energy & enthusiasm are equaled only by her infinite talent in garnering publicity and coming up with wonderful promotions for her many clients. People recognize the excellent service she provides” Susan Brandenburg, Journalist & Columnist
If you have any
questions or would like more information, please contact us
us, or use our online request form.