Public relations consultant: The more people see us, the more they know us

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, November 21, 2017


NATCHEZ —Few people in Natchez know Randy Yagi.

Thanks to the west coast travel writer, now millions of people may know more about Natchez.

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Yagi’s article reporting from his three-day trip to Natchez is being seen in San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and 20 other CBS outlets across the country.

The exposure is just what Natchez needs, public relations expert Lou Hammond told the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council Monday.

“One man, three days, 23 outlets with a reach of 489 million people,” Hammond said. “That is the power of syndication.”

“The more people we can get to come see us, the more people will know about us,” Hammond said.

Hammond provided an update of the state of public relations for the city and a vision for what is to come in 2018. Hammond also spent most of the day meeting with the Natchez CVB staff, members of the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission and local tourism stakeholders.

As a result of Hammond’s efforts to inform national and regional media outlets about Natchez, the city has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers across the country.

Examples include articles in Southern Living, Reader’s Digest, the Los Angeles Times and a video on Zagat’s You Tube channel, Hammond told the group.

For the past two years, Hammond’s office has been providing public relation services for the NCPC. The commission currently pays the Hammond Group $7,000 a month for public relation services.

NCPC chairman Lance Harris said Hammond Group has resources that are invaluable.

“They have the conections to get us in certain editorials, that we wouldn’t necessarily have the connections to be able to make,” Harris said.

Natchez tourism director Jennifer Ogden combs agreed.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get (syndicated radio show host) Peter Greenberg if it hadn’t been for Hammond’s connections,” she said.

“We don’t have a staff person that does PR and we haven’t for a long time,” Combs said.

Hammond said she has begun to look at new opportunities for 2018.

In the coming year, Hammond said her group will focus on markets in Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Texas, Nashville, Tenn., and New Orleans.

One possible focus will be on the American Queen Steamboat Company and its two river boats  that travel up and down the Mississippi River.

“We want to focus on stronger ties with the company,” Hammond said. “An average cabin is $1,000. That is money pretty much coming right down the river to us.”

Hammond also said her group will also look at helping the CVB create stronger ties with tour operators and additional broadcast opportunities.

“They see a potential in us that we may not see because we are in the middle of it all,” Combs said. “She has some really good ideas. Some of them will work and some of them might not. But what they are doing is exciting.”