Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What are the best travel blogs ?

It all depends on what you are looking for: destination, type of travel, segment or travelers ninche.

But here are a few suggestions:
- Gridskipper
- Travel Post
- Travelblog
- Bootsnall
- and
- Rolf Pott's blog and
- Vagabondish
- Writtenroad - the inside scoop of travel publishing info
- +++

Postings on travel writing: +++

Blogs awards for best travel blogs +++ +++ +++

Sources: Frommer;

What happens if travel gets too expensive ?

Over the centuries travel experienced a huge increase in terms of tourists numbers, specially during the last 10 years, with flights getting more affordable and fast ... allowing people to even consider spending a long weekend in a more distant destination. But with Gas prices reaching over 4 dollars a gallon and big airlines such Delta and Northwest reporting combined $10.5B loss on fuel costs and Delta Chief Executive telling that north American domestic airlines need to hike fares by 15 percent to 20 percent just to break even at current fuel prices,one question comes to mind, what will be the impact of such type of increase in the travelers mind?

Will travelers become
frustrated and will them continue to Travel?

And if they stop traveling because it is getting too expensive for them to do so? Who will be able to or willing to pay top extra money to go to different places in search for unique experiences? And what will be the effect on the travel industry if people stop traveling as often as they did until now?

This is just a start of a new period and challenger in this industry. And what will PR professionals have to do? It's time to get even more creative. It's time to consider a good amount of reengineering and strategic thinking, right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York Times on layoff deadline

What amazing and challenging times we are living today. The New York Observer reported that the New York Times admitted that it will have to layoff staffers in the newsroom. Initially they were looking and hopping to get enought volunteers for a buyout but that is not happening in the numbers that were expected.

So layoffs are on the horizon and the New York Post mentiones that NY Times deadline is next week. More to follow, I'm sure !

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Decline in magazine land ?

In our day to day activity, one our major goals is to give exposure to our clients. And one of the ways to obtain it is always to place some type of story or mention to his/her product or service in a magazine, specially in a niche magazine that theirs consumers normaly buy and read.

But things are changing a lot in that used to be one of the weapons that publishers used to sell a placement ... the readership.

Currently people is changing their reading habits by accessing online to their favorite magazines ... so, instead of readership, the buzz word now should be total audience.

In february Media Bistro runned an article that talked about Newsstand Magazines are dropping Circulation. According to Folio Magazine Magazines are taking a huge hit at the newsstand. Audit Bureau of Circulations semiannual report showed that newspapers have experiencing steadily declining sales and that a number of high profile consumer magazines took a big hit in overall circulation. For example, only AARP saw a circulation increase of more that 2% ... all the other top 25 magazines showed significant drops in overall paid and verified circulation while others experienced a drop at the newsstand. Here are a few examples:

Time (-17.57%)
Playboy (-10.04%)
Reader’s Digest (-7.64%)
Among women’s magazines: Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s World and Redbook each lost 6 percent

In terms of single copy sales, seven of the top 10 showed decreases in sales in the last six months of 2007 versus 2006:

Glamour (-13.24%)
National Enquirer (-15.25%)
Good Housekeeping (-20.71%)
Even Every Day with Rachael Ray (-6.37%) even when it was 133.7 % up in terms of total subscriptions

To access the list of the top 25 US magazines by total paid and verified circulalion plus by single copy sale click here.

Are these bad news for consumer magazines in a variety of categories? we will follow the topic and keep you posted. Meanwhile, check the New York Times for more news on the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Should you trust in the circulation numbers that magazine tell you they have ?

A 2006 article by Business Week made me start thinking on this topic. Apparently the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) at that time released a fas-fax reports showing discrepancies between rate base (the circulation that magazines guarantee to advertisers) and actuall reported circulation. My next obvious question was if this is still hapenning ? Go to the Audit Bureau of Circulations website to have access to those fax reports online since according to ABC every six months, publishers file their circulation claims with ABC, and an ABC Publisher's Statement and a listing in ABC's FAS-FAX report is created. You can also check other additional free reports.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dubious Digits and why Magazines Use peculiar Cover Numerology ?

Did you ever though why magazines use so many numbers and lists on their covers ? The New Your Observer recently published an article where John Koblin investigates this curious fact. Some say it's because readers are trained to look for those numbers, others say it both a promise to the reader and a great graphic device ... but the truth is that at the end this all works to sell magazines. Click here to read the entire article.

Freelance Fizzle! - another interesting article published by the New York Observer about the Decline and Fall of a Writer

Journalist Doree Shafrir in a time that in the magazine industry, print is losing a little of its gleam and all the magazines are putting a little more attention into their web content, gives examples on what is changing in terms of the freelance job and all the new challenges that need to be faced. So if you are planning in becoming a writer make sure you read her article here.

New York Observer article on " Where Will Magazines Be Ten Years From Now?"

Recently journalist John Koblin wrote a very interesting article at The New York Observer questioning where the magazines will be in ten years from now. Editors from several prestigious magazines such as Wired, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Us Weekly and several others provide their points of view regarding this subject. Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

“7 Steps to Successful Public Relations” Helps Startups Succeed offers a 7 steps for successful public relations for small business that include create an Action Plan, research the media, develop story ideas, prepare a media kit, write a press release, contact the media and get the word out. and

When Does a Business Need Public Relations?

I've found this very interesting article writen by Fruition Consultants

Tips for better pitching stories to travel and other industries magazines

Recently Travel Weekly invited top travel editors of Travel + Leisure (Nancy Novogrod), Conde Nast Traveler (Klara Glowczewska) , National Geographic Traveler (Keith Bellows), Budget Travel (Erik Torkells) , Town & Country Travel (Heidi Mitchell), Travel + Culture (Kate Sekules), USA Today (Veronica Stoddart) for its 3rd annual Travel Weekly Consumer Travel Editors Roundtable. This year the roundtable focused on the types of travel industry news and activities that the editors really care about (and why).

Below is a summary of the major topics and conclusions that were retained from that gathering and that can be applied by Public Relations and writers from the travel and other major industries:

- Travel Magazines, in general, provide service and inspiration to people that just want to know where to go on vacation (where to stay and eat, what to do and visit and how) ... so their stories focus on the reader's travels

- Articles stories should only be assigned when an editor knows that they are great stories that are going to be of value to, work for and serve a reader's need and if "the reader is really going to that place". And only then the editor should start thinking on how to sell it.
Stories should always allow readers to enjoy and get something usable out of the magazines that they buy

- The reader has to want and love the articles so that they agree to buy the magazine and read about other cultures and places that are brought to them in writing

- For a good travel article all you need is to have a very good angle, a point, freshness and also great editing since most of the people are not interested in other's people's trips. So what makes a good writer is his or her ability to go somewhere without a particular purpose and write a piece about it and to be able to gauge the differences and capture the authenticity, the local style, the traditions, the unique experiences and the other side that a particular place and its people has to offer, avoiding focusing on the colonization of the international brands. Do it and see it firsthand and write about it making sure that the article doesn't disappoint the readers with the things that are recommended. Everything must be accurate.

- the secret is to think on destinations that pretty much every traveler that reads the specific travel publication wants to go

- Real writers versus travel writers: real writers / novelists or journalists that can write a travel story focus on their own unique experiences versus travel writers that have the experience of travelling, that can gauge what they see (at hotels, spas, food, all sort of experiences) against anything else they previously experienced and can provide their point of view. Both can’t be someone that is mere hotel critic, a list maker or a "I'm going somewhere, do you want anything?" type of person.

- An editor job is "to make the magazine sell" and "look at trends as they emerge"

- Travel content is one of the most popular areas online

- "there's travel and there's reading about travel"

- "every writer is trying to give editors what they want"

-"some of the world best literature has been travel literature, and wasn't written by a travel writer"

- Present affluent consumers are interested in new experiences, in trying a recently opened hotel that is luxurious, has good reputation via word of mouth and really delivers in terms of service quality with no margin for mistakes.

- With the low value of the dolar situation, the high cost of travel and the economy not doing so great, it is clear that, since travelers have more diverse international travel options, they all want value for their travel ideals, interests and needs. Travelers will start looking for alternatives:
* in terms of cheaper destinations (long-haul flights make easier than never to get to Asia, Latin America and other destinations where the dolar goes further)
* not traveling internationally as much or for shorter periods of time
* staying closer to home (shorter-distance or more domestic type of trips)
* plan more often a leisure trip onto a business trip

- Of course there will be always people that will continue committed to spend and to travel as part of their luxury lifestyle, and there are other "budget" people always looking to try to find that great deal ... for those, that makes part of their entire pleasurable travel experience.

- New travel terminology: "Staycations" - when people decide to vacationing by staying at home and enjoy what the home environment has to offer. The thing with this concept is apparently that if they don't travel to other places they probably will not learn anything from a stay-at-home backyard vacation. See more on this topic at Time Out New York , Washington Times, Fodors, Sun Journal, Chicago Sun Times, Times and Transcript and Honolulu Adviser.

Get the full story at TravelWeekly (free registration)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Magazineland facing big challenges in 2008 according to Business Week

Recently Business Week ran an article mentioning the decline of the newsstand sales and the stagnant world of the magazineland. Jon fine artile also referes that the reduction of the volume of copies produced by the midsize publishers is a big challange that they will have to during 2008. Maybe is time to question what that will represent in terms of the Public Relations world since our job is often measured in terms of obtained placements and exposure for our clients products and services, right ?