Hardly a weekend goes by without a journalist or influencer staying over in Bristol for a travel feature. Indeed, in the busiest seasons we often have several in the city at once.

Lesley Gillilan and I are Visit Bristol’s Media Liaison Managers and it’s our job to coordinate their trips. This usually involves organising a place to stay, places to eat and a packed itinerary of tours, events and activities. We couldn’t host such a vast number of media visits (nearly 70 press trips in 2019) without the cooperation of our members and your limitless enthusiasm for offering a complimentary room, meal, ticket, experience, etc. It has led to some exceptional coverage for the members involved.

Spray session with Where The Wall

Image - unique experiences such as a spray session with Where The Wall contribute to great coverage

If you’ve never hosted a journalist but would like to then there are a few things you might like to know.

  • We carry out credibility checks by asking journalists/influencers to complete a media form stating that they have a firm commission for their feature, when/where it will appear and that appropriate coverage will be provided in return for any complimentary experiences.

  • We host journalists from the UK and internationally, and are constantly promoting Bristol to the media team at VisitBritain/VisitEngland to ensure we’re working with the best writers nationally and overseas. In fact, a recent email from our media colleagues thanked us for providing a “continuous pipeline of news to VisitBritain”.

  • We know that there are times you may be fully booked, or maybe you just don’t think a particular media opportunity is the right one for your business. Don’t worry if you have to say ‘no’ sometimes, there’ll always be other chances to get involved.

A journalist experiencing Go Aloft!

Image - a journalist experiencing Go Aloft! at Brunel's SS Great Britain

Some top tips on how to be included

Ask us about the Visit Bristol Media Pass. We issue this to all authorised journalists staying in the city to allow them complimentary access to the attractions and tours on the pass during their stay. If you’re already featured on there, ensure your front-of-house staff know so they recognise it when it’s presented. If you’re not included and think you should be, let us know. For more information, see our information sheet and print it off for your front of house staff: Media pass info sheet

If you are contacted directly by a blogger or journalist…and are unsure about working with them you can call and discuss it with us. We may know of their work, or our colleagues at VisitBritain/VisitEngland may have worked with them before and could offer insight. We may also be able to add more to their trip by providing a media pass, etc.

If you know you have a journalist visiting…alert the staff that they might encounter whilst with you. Journalists and bloggers have the potential to influence many thousands of future visitors, so we want them to see your business and the city at its best, and represent it as positively as possible.

When hosting influencers and bloggers...consider following them from your business social media accounts and interact with their posts about your business. It can encourage further engagement from the content creator and increase the reach of their posts promoting your business.

Press previews, hard hat tours or exclusive interviews…journalists love to get a new or different angle on things ahead of everyone else, so if you have ideas for making that happen we’d love to hear them.

Keep up-to-date with which journalists we’ve hosted…and the resulting coverage by reading our monthly media reports.

Tell us your markets…Let us know which inbound audiences you are looking to attract. We’ll keep this in mind when scheduling visits.

by Susie Bowers