Freelance Public Relations

March 21, 2023
Freelance public relations
- Intermediate ($$) - Est. Time: More than 6 months, 10-30 hrs/week -

Background: The Cape May-Lewes Ferry (CMLF) is a car and passenger ferry that crosses the Delaware Bay between Cape May, NJ and Lewes, DE. It is operated year-round by the Delaware River & Bay Authority (DRBA), a bi-state quasi-governmental agency created by compact between New Jersey and Delaware. The Ferry is just one of several vital transportation links managed by the DRBA. The Ferry connects South Jersey to Southern Delaware, while the famed Delaware Memorial Bridge connects Southwest Jersey with Northern Delaware, and 5 airports operate in both states. In addition to transportation, the DRBA is dedicated to the positive growth and economic development in Delaware and the four southern counties of New Jersey. The Cape May-Lewes Ferry is unique within the transportation industry; considered as much a tourism attraction as a key transportation link for residents, commercial trucking and vacationers traveling the eastern seaboard. Despite continued marketing efforts, there is low awareness that the Ferry is open 365 days per year. Ferry passengers range from family vacationers to bus tour groups, day trippers, and tourists taking the ferry for a day away from the popular beach resorts in Cape May County, NJ and in Sussex County, DE. In addition, it is a key transportation hub for Coast Guard families, as Cape May is the official national training center for the U.S. Coast Guard. Current travelers come from as far as Europe and Asia. It is not uncommon to find RV’ers from Canada taking annual trips to Florida and other southern destinations during the winter months. In addition, the Ferry is popular with many snow birds and senior tour groups. However, the core market continues to be residents and vacationers between Central New Jersey and Northern Virginia. Current ferry marketing includes print advertising in the core, geographic market and digital advertising throughout the New England, New York, Philadelphia and Washington metros. Our current public relations efforts are local and focused on DRBA/CMLF business news and special events held at the Ferry. The goal of external PR efforts (and this creative brief) is to expand on the scope of our normal PR efforts to grow awareness about the Ferry as an attraction. The hope is to do so by targeting audience verticals, travel influencers/bloggers, and tourism media outside of our core market. About the Cape May-Lewes Ferry: The CMLF is one of the few ferry systems in the U.S. that carries both vehicles and passengers. The ride is approximately 1.5 hours and offers travelers food and beverages on board in a temperature-controlled, comfortable salon. During the warmer months, passengers prefer sitting outside on Adirondack deck chairs and benches to enjoy the breezes on the Delaware Bay, the second largest Bay on the Eastern Seaboard. The Ferry can carry 100 vehicles of various sizes on each passage, and up to 800 passengers. The Ferry celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, having operated since 1964. In 2016, it welcomed its 45th million passenger. The Ferry consistently rates a 4.5 or above in TripAdvisor and has earned the award of excellence for five years running. Existing vs. Desired PR Services: The DRBA has a full-time Public Information Officer (PIO) who handles traditional media outreach via press releases to local media for the Ferry. This Brief is to solicit additional PR services not currently handled by the PIO, who promotes business and economic development news almost solely through South Jersey and Delaware media outlets. Anticipated ancillary services include pitches to three key targets: 1. Outlets and services that speak to desired audience targets (e.g. RV travelers, motorcyclists, snow birds, eco-tourists, vacationing families). 2. New media outlets such as bloggers and digital media platforms providing travel information about Northeast Corridor travel alternatives. 3. Traditional news media outlets outside of the DRBA’s core area who may run travel stories or have travel writers interested in the historical, environmental, and beach tourism stories prevalent in the area. Desired PR services are estimated to target largely digital and new media over traditional print and broadcast pitches. Objectives: • Increase ticket sales by expanding audience/awareness of the ferry through digital storytelling from trusted sources (influencers, etc). • Increase the Ferry being digitally found during both early travel planning searches and in market “what to do” searches by tourists already in the area seeking alternate experiences.

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