SITUATION ANALYSIS AND OPPORTUNITY
The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (TDC) is made up of many retail shops, recreational outfitters, restaurants and lodgings. In 1998, St. John & Partners launched www.ameliaisland.org to give Amelia Island an online presence. The site gave a general overview of the island, its activities and accommodations, but was targeted to consumers. As the Internet continued to grow and become a more powerful research tool, St. John & Partners saw an opportunity to directly target a previously untapped market – journalists. Research indicated that the consumer site was of little interest to this group and that journalists wanted information that was specific to their needs. St. John & Partners knew it could reach this audience by providing them a separate, more targeted information portal.
- To enhance journalists’ awareness of Amelia Island
- To provide journalists easier access to information about Amelia Island
- To provide journalists with the necessary tools to write stronger features about Amelia Island
By targeting journalists with a site specifically designed for them, St. John & Partners and the TDC felt it could better educate the media about Amelia Island and offer them “one stop shopping” for island information. It would serve as an informational avenue suited to their needs and writing style with short pieces filled with pertinent information and an abundance of feature story ideas, not just vacationing needs, which the consumer site addresses. The site allows journalists the opportunity to become familiar with Amelia without ever having to place a single phone call, leave the office, or search for a copy of a paper media kit.
The media site, www.ameliamedia.com, was designed as a secure site, requiring log-in and password information. St. John & Partners included this feature to protect copyrighted images within the site. Once a journalist provides his or her name, publication affiliation and e-mail address, he or she can enter the site securely. If one prefers only to browse the site, he or she can click on the “browse the site” link, allowing entry; however, he or she will not be able to download digital images.
Once inside the site, a “welcome” page greets journalists and introduces them to them to the sites’ features, including a sidebar menu allowing quick and easy movement between areas of interest. Site topics include history, lodging and dining, outdoor activities, calendar of island events, contacts page, press trip and feature topic information, additional links to other relevant sites, and a library section, filled with high resolution digital images and appropriate captions. As an added convenience, most pages are designed with moderate graphics, making the pages easier to load.
The site was launched in late summer 2000. Press releases were distributed to local, regional and national media; travel and trade media; online media, at annual media missions throughout the country as well as to St. John & Partners’ travel media contacts. The Web address was also added to a special “journalists” section on the Amelia Island consumer site, which specifically directs them to the new media-only site designed with their needs in mind.
The Amelia Island media site launch was received with great response. From early September through December, 160 travel writers registered on the site and 193 images were downloaded from the site. Furthermore, journalists who are using the site are writing stronger and more accurate features about Amelia Island.