Spud Hilton from the San Francisco Chronicle speaking at the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima.

On behalf of PARSONS + CO and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I was lucky enough to attend the Travel and Words Conference in Yakima last month. Below are my key takeaways from the two-day event:

1. The press release is not dead.

Subject to much debate, the press release is actually not dead. According to some of the region’s top travel editors, they still often use press releases as a resource for generating new stories. The key is in the content. Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to convey? Every press release must have a story worth telling, and the less work that editors have to do with your release, the more likely they are to use it.

2. When it comes to pitching, make sure you know what each outlet covers.

A travel magazine focused on experiential, narrative pieces isn’t any more likely to write a product review than Martha Stewart Living is to run an article on the Indy 500. When you’re sending a targeted pitch, make sure you’re familiar with the different categories and sections within a publication. If you’re pitching a travel product, pay attention to the blogs that publish product reviews and the magazines that have gear editors.

3. Every story needs a specific angle.

An event announcement alone is not an angle. When you’re building pitches, make sure that you’ve thought through your specific angle in advance. Think about your niche and why your idea is relevant. For example, a list of the Northwest’s top distilleries is a story that has probably been done before, but what about a roundup of the women behind Northwest’s whiskey distilleries? Not only does the female-owned angle make it more newsworthy, but it also targets a specific niche.

4. Engagement matters more than followers.

Forming a partnership with an Instagram influencer will only benefit you if they have a loyal following. Note that I said loyal – not large. That’s because the number of followers doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming the content. Engagement not only influences the visibility of your content, but it also gauges how well the content resonates with a specific audience.

5. Know your target audience.

While getting an article published in O, The Oprah Magazine may be a dream for some, it’s not going to do much good if your primary target audience is millennials. Knowing your target audience gives you clarity on where you should be pitching and how you should be engaging. For example, millennial-oriented brands are much more likely to be active on Instagram and Twitter than their boomer-focused counterparts.

 

So what’s the moral of the story? Do your homework first. Take the time to develop strong story angles, read articles written by the people you’re pitching and research what your audience is reading. The extra time it takes will pay off in the long run!




Brand positioning is key to staying relevant in today’s world of information overload. With the never-ending stream of resources available, it’s easy to be misinformed or be overwhelmed by the number of paths your brand could take.

We recommend starting with these three steps to effectively define your brand and position it for your targeted audience.

1. Embrace your competition.

There’s almost always going to be a Pepsi to your Coca-cola. A BMW to your Mercedes. It’s a hard one to accept, but almost no one offers a completely unique product or service. No matter what you are selling or offering, chances are good that you have competition.

Instead of focusing on your product, take the opportunity to focus on your competition and your audience. How are you different from your competition? And if you aren’t that different from your competition, how can you position yourself to stand out? What you learn from asking these questions can sometimes make all the difference.

2. Avoid clichés like the plague.

It’s impossible to position yourself as different or better if you are using the same tired language that everyone has heard a million times before. This includes:

  • Great customer service
  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • One-stop shop
  • Hidden gem

Vague, clichéd phrases mean virtually nothing, causing people to shut down and not be receptive to your message. The best way to gain a fresh perspective and develop strong copy is simply to hire a professional copywriter. It’s money well spent and will make your messaging clear, concise and cliché free.

3. Information is just as important as inspiration.

It’s important for your messaging to have facts mixed in with the bits and pieces of your brand that get you fired up. However, not all your potential clients will want to know the same things. And the facts that you find interesting or the things that get you fired up may not be what your clients care about.

It’s most important to look at who your clients are. What do they care about and what pieces of information are key when making the decision to choose your product or service?



Is drinking coffee on an empty stomach bad for you? And is 300-400 mg a reasonable recommended limit for caffeine consumed per day?

Leading health and wellness experts weigh in on The Today Show regarding what is considered ‘safe’ coffee consumption.

“Each person must decide if the early morning coffee on an empty stomach works for them,” NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom tells The Today Show. “It works for some people, and not others. What’s most important is to know your own body.”

What about when it comes to low-acid coffee?

Fernstrom says the issue is two-fold. Acid is naturally found in coffee and can trigger the production of acid in your stomach, while people who suffer from reflux and heartburn are already vulnerable.

For those of you who are sensitive to caffeine, The Today Show acknowledges the benefits of drinking trücup low-acid coffee and how it may be a better option to fuel you for the day. Read more about what the industry’s leading nutrition experts have to say about healthy coffee consumption here.



One of the daily benefits of working at PARSONS + CO (aside from a witty team and spontaneous dog visits) is the clients who are set on being game-changers in their industry. One of our newest clients, GRAYL, is doing just that – working to create a world where people no longer rely on plastic.

“It’s not just about selling bottles,” says Travis Merrigan, one of GRAYL’s co-founders. “We’re not trying to get people to stop using plastic water bottles…we’re looking to get people to stop using single-use plastic.”

Haven’t yet heard of GRAYL? Here are our top three reasons the GRAYL Ultralight Bottle should be your go-to travel companion and is the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life:

  1. A safer (and simpler) way to see the world.

For many world travelers and outdoor adventurers, clean water often becomes a concern. Whether it’s drinking from a backwoods stream or filling up at a sketchy hotel sink, GRAYL can easily (and safely!) satisfy the needs of a thirsty traveler through its patented, purification process. GRAYL’s full-spectrum purification and filtration removes 99.9% of all viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Oh…and did we mention it only takes 15 seconds?

  1. A sustainable culture and concern for the environment.

One GRAYL purifier cartridge displaces 300 single-use water bottles, helping contribute to the reduction of plastic waste in our environment and making it easier for globetrotters to travel sustainably.

The team at GRAYL is also committed to giving back, particularly when it comes to the environment. The company recently joined 1% for the Planet, contributing a portion of their sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

  1. GRAYL-purified water actually tastes good.

Unlike a lot of water purifiers that produce safe drinking water, GRAYL adds filtration into the process, helping to get rid of some of the unnecessary (and frankly, gross) flavors that may be present in the water. GRAYL makes it possible to drink out of a garbage-infested stream without your water tasting like actual garbage.

At Parsons, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with such a forward-thinking client and continue to spread the word about the environmental impact of plastic! Hit us up to learn more about the work we’re doing with GRAYL or about how you can reduce your plastic footprint when you travel.



Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is home to an abundance of natural beauty, whether it’s the rugged mountain peaks, Ohme Gardens or the Columbia River Known for its distinctive landscape and adventurous spirit, the Valley incites the interest of explorers with its variety of unique activities that promote a connection with nature, provide invigorating experiences and forge lasting memories. Here are a few of our favorites:

Stand-Up-Paddleboard Yoga and Tours:

Paddleboard Yoga

A yoga class testing their skills on the water. (Photo credit: ILA Yoga)

Stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) Yoga? Yup, you heard us right.

Conducted by ILA Yoga studio in Wenatchee, SUP Yoga classes are taught on a paddleboard instead of a yoga mat, making them much more dynamic. The classes challenge your core strength and help build your balance – all while enjoying a peaceful setting. The connection to nature is just another way to help you take your practice to new heights!

ILA Yoga also provides paddleboard tours, a great way to explore Wenatchee’s local waterways. Practice your balance and paddling while immersing yourself in the wildlife and natural wonders the estuary has to offer. You might even catch a glimpse of rare birds, otters and deer. Worried about falling in? Nothing feels better than soaking in the Columbia River on a hot summer day.

Art on the Avenues Sculpture Walk:

The Perennial Heart by Sabah Al Dharer

The Perennial Heart by Sabah Al-Dharer. (Photo Credit: Art on the Avenues)

Spread along the Loop Trail and throughout Wenatchee, the sculptures of Art on the Avenues provide a way for visitors to immerse themselves in the works of nationally and internationally renowned artists.

Art on the Avenues (AOTA) began in 1994 with only 24 sculptures. Today, the nonprofit exhibits 88 pieces. A majority are permanent and owned by the city or AOTA while the rest are either privately owned or for sale. The visiting collection rotates approximately every two years, providing tourists and locals with a whole new collection of art to admire.

Looking for a fun activity to do in November? AOTA’s teaching program, called “Beauty of the Bronze,” helps spread artistic awareness to future generations.

A resident artist provides instruction combined with art tours, sketching and sculpting. Over 600 students will be in the program and their pieces will be on display in the Wenatchee Museum for two weeks in November.

Rocky Reach Dam:

Rocky Reach Dam

The fish ladder at Rocky Reach Dam. (Photo credit: Gord McKenna)

For a more relaxing summer afternoon, head to the Rocky Reach Dam Museum and Visitor Center on the west side of the dam. Complete with a quaint café and panoramic views of the dam and grounds, the visitor center has a lot to offer locals and tourists alike.

Tour the museum exhibits or explore the 30 acres of manicured lawns and gardens, which are perfect for an afternoon picnic. If you’d prefer to stay indoors, the visitor center has a 90-seat theater that shows films throughout the day and upon request.

Rocky Reach Dam also boasts a fish ladder viewing room that allows visitors to observe salmon and steelhead as they make their migration upstream. Between the fish bypass system, Columbia River and Lake Entiat reservoir, there is plenty to interest outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife gurus alike.



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