Earned media value tops $450,000

Eureka – The San Francisco Chronicle, the largest circulation daily newspaper in Northern California, devoted its entire travel section to Humboldt County on Sunday, July 8, an editorial milestone in large part due to assistance from the Eureka-Humboldt Visitors Bureau.

The eight-page spread, which includes a trek to a hidden grove of giant redwoods, a tour of oyster farms in Humboldt Bay, a stay at the Carter House Inns, camping in state parks and a ride on the Madaket, generated the equivalent of more than $455,000 in advertising value, according to NationwideAdvertising.com.

Most of the stories and images were the direct result of work by the bureau. The anchor story about Hyperion, a tree of record height at 379 feet, came about from editorial pitch years ago made to the writer, an L.A.-based freelancer who publishes in many national media outlets.

“The genesis goes way back to a conversation with the bureau during my National Geographic Adventure days. PR is a long game,” Robert Earl Howells said.

With assistance from Fly Humboldt and United Airlines, the bureau arranged for Howells to visit Humboldt and ensured that he could see Hyperion, whose exact location remains a closely guarded secret in Redwood National Park.

Moreover, the bureau arranged for one of the best outdoor photographers in the area, Drew Hyland, to accompany him, ensuring that the Chronicle had striking imagery to go along with the story, titled “The Government Doesn’t Want You To See This Tree.”

Howells pitched the story to Chronicle travel editor Greg Thomas, who contacted the bureau for more background. After a series of conversations, the piece evolved into an entire section that included many features of Humboldt travel. “[The section] is gorgeous. Thanks again for all the intel!” Thomas said.

In fact, Thomas liked a second Humboldt pitch so much that he agreed to have Richard Stenger, the bureau media & marketing director, a sometimes travel freelancer, write the story “Everything you need to know about the oyster capital of California.”

To round out the section, the Chronicle included a lodging review of the Carter House Inns, the top ten campsites on the Redwood Coast, and an insider’s look at Humboldt Bay spotlighting Captain Zippo of the Madaket, another piece by Howells.

Favorable mentions of many businesses in Eureka and environs were sprinkled throughout the entire Sunday section of the Chronicle, which in print and online has a readership of an estimated one million.

Moreover, the overall readership should expand greatly in the months ahead, as other news outlets reprint the content. Already, the New York Times's California Today posted to the main story.

“That’s what we want to help our local economy,” said Tony Smithers, executive director of the bureau. “No matter what people do here, they need places to stay, eat and shop. We are pleased so many businesses were highlighted, and so many people will read about them.”

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The Eureka-Humboldt Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization for Humboldt County, works to promote and expand a tourism economy worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Its 200-plus member organizations include lodging properties, attractions, retail shops, restaurants, governments, chambers of commerce and visitor centers. To find out more, call 707-443-5097 or visit www.VisitRedwoods.com.

To see the entire special Humboldt travel section, visit: http://bit.ly/ehvbchronicle