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HomeCase StudiesLeveraging earned media to celebrate 300 years of the Big Easy

Leveraging earned media to celebrate 300 years of the Big Easy

Crowd at Mardi Gras

Everybody has a story about New Orleans. We wanted to reach as many people as possible so it was important to offer something that stood out and was as unique and authentic as the city itself

Lea Sinclair, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp


The 300th anniversary of New Orleans is a natural opportunity for residents and visitors to look back, but New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. decided the city’s tricentennial was also a great opportunity to use forward-looking technology to bring out some of the best stories.

The tourism group is pulling out all the stops. Efforts to date included a short film featuring jazz greats Lloyd Dillon and Johnny Vidacovich telling stories to a crowd in Jackson Square as footage was projected onto the iconic Presbytère behind them.

There were seven national print ads featuring archival photography from the 1940s to the 2000s and, most significantly, a shipping container using IBM Watson AI software that would listen for audio triggers from those who step inside to share their stories. These became film projections that could be recorded as beautiful, double-exposure videos.

“Everybody has a story about New Orleans,” says Lea Sinclair, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.’s director of communications. “We wanted to reach as many people as possible because many other municipal anniversaries will take place across the U.S. over the next few years. It was important to offer something that stood out and was as unique and authentic as the city itself.”

The company will be launching a series of events and initiatives throughout the tricentennial in 2018, so it needs to keep up the PR momentum all year long.

Tech pulls it together

The tourism group is a longtime user of Cision Comms Cloud, which brings together database, analytics, and monitoring tools to successfully execute every aspect of an earned media strategy. Cision Comms Cloud includes Help A Reporter Out (HARO), editorial calendars from leading publications, the ability to bulk upload and schedule social posts, and more.



Sinclair says Cision Comms Cloud allows her to keep up with all the media activity surrounding New Orleans, and far beyond it. Some of the specific areas of value include:

Tailored and targeted media outreach. Work by the New Orlean’s tourism company spans areas that include art, music, food and wine, travel, and other subjects. Some of these may be covered by a large, general interest magazine or newspaper, while others are covered by a more focused, niche outlet.

“That’s where Cision is golden,” she explains. “I can go into those niche areas and pick who will be best to contact for a given story. We can capture the fancy of many different and divergent groups.”

Real-time data. Keeping up with the pace at which the company moves requires highly accurate, up-to-date information about the editors and reporters who might be interested in their stories. Cision Comms Cloud’s database provides Sinclair with current contact information of her influencers, as well as the ability to develop longer-term relationships with those who have given good coverage of the city’s tourism scene in the past.

Board-quality numbers. Sinclair regularly gives a breakdown of her results to the most senior leaders in the organization.

“It allows you to dig down into what is happening: who has read (a release), how it has been read compared to years past, and so on,” she notes. “It’s capturing the real value versus just impressions. You can use it for many things.”

Long-term trending. Sinclair makes further use of analytics by archiving reports in a permanent Dropbox account to assess metrics in a more holistic and historical manner.

“New Orleans is very attractive to people of all ages and generations,” she explains. “While we’ve got an advertising firm that tries to stay on top of what’s trendy, it’s good to look back at what appealed to various generations in the past and what’s resonating now as our visitation grows, which it has immensely since (Hurricane) Katrina.”


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