Sophie Shields on Marketing Liverpool's global press coverage
Marketing Liverpool’s Communications and Digital Marketing Executive, Sophie Shields

Marketing Liverpool’s Communications and Digital Marketing Executive, Sophie Shields

One of the best ways for Liverpool City Region to attract visitors from all over the world is to be front and centre in travel publications, websites and broader mass media.

These vital column inches, online video and hyper-linked ‘direct to booking’ landing pages entice travellers through opinion as much as striking photography and engaging ‘things to do’ lists.

These opinions don’t just happen. Leading journalists, travel writers and influencers can often take their pick from an array of potential destinations. To secure a sought-after travel writer’s opinion we must first lure the writer and this where Marketing Liverpool comes in.

This month alone, Marketing Liverpool has secured glowing coverage  in The Times’ ‘The Boston Globe’ and ‘Lonely Planet’ – And it’s all thanks in large part to Marketing Liverpool’s Communications and Digital Marketing Executive, Sophie Shields. Here Sophie tells us more about how she works to welcome writers from all over the world and uses her expertise to show them a great time once they’re here.

“The great thing for me is that there’s already significant interest and awareness in Liverpool. It’s rarely a hard sell but it’s important to keep Liverpool as part of that editorial conversation and this is achieved through a variety of ways,” Sophie explains.

“Enquiries from international media land in my inbox or on the other end of the phone daily. This can range from VisitBritain enquiries from representatives from around the world or other local, national and international freelance journalists. We also receive many enquiries from production companies looking to film documentaries; influencers visiting the city or call outs for features in a range of publications.”

“The level of Marketing Liverpool’s input can often vary, with certain enquiries requiring images for a story, some suggestions for a themed list or information on new things to do in the city.

“A recent example of this was when ‘The Guardian’ were looking for food and drink festivals to feature in the article 10 of the best spring and summer food festivals in the UK. I pitched ‘Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux’ to them as a new concept and they featured it as the first event on the list, with a photo of Castle Street as the lead image. With a very short turnaround time, reacting quickly to relevant requests can produce valuable coverage.

“Other enquiries can require a much deeper level of input, often taking weeks of planning and preparation to welcome journalists and media to Liverpool for press visits. Each trip is different, with a tailored itinerary developed to suit the journalist’s needs and their story angle. 

“With the help of our supportive partners from across Liverpool City Rgion’s visitor attractions, hotels, hospitality venues and travel operators, I’ve planned itineraries around The Beatles, football, food & drink, the outdoors, music, and a combination of everything the city region has to offer. 

“I’ve recently planned visits for influencers from Brazil and China, journalists from Italy, Spain, Australia and Scotland and production companies from the Netherlands and Germany, with trips from Iceland, Houston and Texas currently in development. 

“Whilst these may take a fair amount of planning and time, the wide variety of coverage created from the trips is invaluable and allows us to showcase everything that our city region has to offer to new audiences around the world.

“It’s not all about reacting to media requests, part of my role is to create our own stories and angles to pitch to the media and press for coverage. This includes sending press releases announcing the launch of new campaigns, circulating information on new activity in the city region and creating content around stories for media interest.

“An example of how this worked well recently was for Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday celebrations in June. We planned a series of content to celebrate the occasion including working with Liverpool BID Company on renaming Mathew Street, ‘McCartney Street’ for the week.  

“We invited pupils from McCartney’s primary school to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Penny Lane’ at the Penny Lane sign with the Magical Mystery Tour Bus and we worked with Arriva to arrange for a local musician to perform Beatles songs on the number 80 bus into Liverpool City Centre. 

“I sent out a media release with footage from the activity along with information on how venues across the city were celebrating and it was picked up by various media outlets including Good Morning Britain and ITV News, which was fantastic. 

“By managing reactive and proactive PR activity, maintaining relevant contact lists, facilitating itineraries and hosting journalists, Marketing Liverpool helps keep Liverpool in the minds of the world’s media, promoting us as a top destination to visit, live, work and study. 

“We’re keeping Liverpool in print and online all over the world. if you want to be a global destination you need a global reach. Right now we’re collaborating with venues across the city region on our upcoming autumn/winter campaign, featuring an amazing events programme. I’ll also be sharing information on how to spend Christmas in Liverpool, launching our new Visitor Guide and working with Icelandic airline Play, on the launch of their new route into Liverpool John Lennon Airport. 

“The best thing about my role is that it’s always changing. Liverpool City Region’s visitor economy is pretty dynamic, always presenting something new and this is great for securing PR and keping journalists and travel writers interested. It also makes my role a lot more exciting too.”

If you’d like to receive PR updates from Marketing Liverpool or have any media questions, get in touch with Sophie at sshields@marketingliverpool.co.uk.