I recently returned from my 1st media tour for our client Chef Steve Konopelski and his Bed and Breakfast, Turnbridge Point, which he owns with his partner Rob. The venue is located on the Choptank River in Denton, MD and is ideal for intimate gatherings of friends and family. The tour was a success but in reflecting, there were many exhausting moments through the planning and executing when I felt the whole thing was going to go south. Oh, the challenges of coordinating press.
In learning from my 1st experience I wanted to outline my efforts:
- The Pitch
Chef Steve/Turnbridge has 3 story angles that tell their story—travel, gay and foodies—so we reached out to press around each area of focus to invite them for the media tour.
Travel: Turnbridge Point is a charming destination on the Eastern Shore, 1 hour from Annapolis and 1 ½ hour drive to Rehobeth to go to the beach. Even closer is Harvest Ridge Winery, a 25-minute drive from the B&B. The story is Turnbridge’s ability to have a full weekend of fun by staying at the B&B, taking a private cooking class with Chef Steve, renting bikes, kayaking on the river, picnic lunch, and more. In the pitch I wanted to capture this full story as the destination when you come to the Eastern Shore.
Gay: I had a lot of fun with this pitch because not only is the B&B gay owned but the address is 119 Gay St. In this pitch angle, I described the scene of the B&B as above in the travel pitch, but with more of a focus on Rob & Steve, highlighting how they met and their career transition. Then highlighting the best part – the address. I felt it really brought it full circle and so did the reporters who opened by email with the subject line: Gay owned B&B on Gay St. – Gay Enough? One of my favorites responses was ‘hahahahaha yea, I’d say that’s pretty gay.’
Foodies: Chef Steve Konopelski is a couture wedding cake designer and creator of the Cannolio®, a cross between an Oreo and cannoli. He recently gained national exposure as a finalist on Food Network’s 2015 Holiday Baking Championship. As a guest on popular morning shows like Great Day Washington and other local channels, he continues to wow with his personality in addition to his food, just as he did on Food Network. His sold out Brunches at Turnbridge point are always a specialized menu, and their recently launched high tea has also kicked off with a sold out demand. All B&B guests wake up to a wonderful breakfast and the smell of fresh baked pastries.
- The Itinerary
I sent the above pitches and got over 20 responses, mostly, ‘I will get back to you’ or ‘this is great but those dates don’t work for me’ etc. Then finally there was, ‘This sounds perfect! Let me connect you with my reporter who I’ve signed the story.’ We decided to cap it at 3 reporters (ideally one from each genre). Before pitching I already had a skeleton of what the ‘run of show’ was going to be. The interim, between securing the reporters to the final schedule included, was a conversation about menu, excursions/activities, etc. Graciously, from their partnership with Harvest Ridge Winery, we arranged for the itinerary to include a trip to the winery with a tasting and picnic lunched prepared by Chef Steve.
3. Run of Show
I wasn’t too worried when I arrived to the B&B, 5 hours before press arrived. Every thing was planned and ready to go. The first reporter who writes for Man About World (MAW), an online travel publication, arrived and it was introductions, a B&B tour, questions, and chatting. The second reporter, who writes for Woman Around Town and Girl Meets Food (GMF), arrived in time for warm chocolate chip cookies and milk with the full party before bed (the standard nightly offering at the B&B). The next morning started with a gorgeous breakfast (tons of insta shots captured #foodie) and then MAW was ready for their private cooking class with Chef Steve. GMF had their private class in the afternoon. I took the press to the winery while Steve and Rob prepared for the evening and baking. With a bottle of blueberry wine from said winery, one of my favorite parts of the trip was having a family style dinner under the pergola in the backyard. The pergola is set up on a beautiful patio with fire pit in the middle. The pergola itself is covered in purple wisteria. It was really the perfect ambiance with the sunset, and it not only made my trip, but it really gave the reporters the Turnbridge experience. The last event on the itinerary was brunch the final morning and departure.
We determined a few things to change and simplify for the next tour, but it was a great 1st trip and great to get press into the space and one on one with Chef Steve.