Targeting the Spanish PR Market
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
When working with Spanish media it is important to account for cultural differences. While Spanish media may have similar processes and functions, there are subtle differences to keep in mind around habits, response time, and regional traditions.
As you prepare to enter the Spanish market, we can guide your efforts and ensure you remain culturally sensitive, helping you navigate unfamiliar nuances that may otherwise initially frustrate you.
How to work with Spanish media: a starting point
PR efforts are made to enhance your corporate image, reputation, positioning, and awareness. As part of a company's marketing mix, building a reputation in a new country, such as Spain, is something that takes time and should be seen as a long-term investment. A well-founded PR strategy not only effectively consolidates a good brand reputation with the media but with the target audience, as well.
In Spain, being proactive is greatly appreciated. Before you start shaping your press lists, research specific journalists and what they write about. There are tools to help you monitor topics on the Internet, and you can also check their social media.
If their content and publications don’t match your story, do not bother them and look for someone else. In short, find out what the specific journalist often talks about, what they publish, their likes, and their most recurring topics. With this information, you will have an idea of the approach you should give to your content so it catches their eye.
Once you have shaped the story you want to communicate, you should kick off personalised media introductions, pitch content, and look for media opportunities to start securing coverage.
You should have enough information to talk to editors, and, if possible, make some reference to a recent story they have written in order to create a bond between their previous work and your content.
Culture and Spanish PR working habits - what to be aware of
Culture includes more than language usage, dialects, and expressions. It is important to take into account simple things – like Spain’s bank holidays and their well-known bridge bank holidays, high and low seasons, extended holidays after a national holiday, extended lunch breaks, along with their typical siesta. An explanation of each of these items is contained below:
> Bank holidays and bridge bank holidays. There are 12 national bank holidays in Spain, and 3 bridge bank holidays, where a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, and workers then take the Monday or Friday as a bridge or puente day off. In addition, there are regional public holidays depending on the city.
> High season runs mid-January to June, with the exception of two weeks in Easter, and September to November. Low season usually falls in holiday periods, from December to mid-January, as well as July and August because most Spanish head off on extended holiday periods. For example, the major day at Christmas is 6th January, so do not expect many media around until the second week of the month.
> Most lunch breaks are less than 2 hours, but some may extend to a full two hours, usually from 2pm to 4pm and practised by a small percentage of traditional companies. The same applies to the siesta. This mid-day break, while especially uncommon among younger generations and modern corporations, still occurs infrequently in some areas of the peninsula, such as the Balearic Islands, Extremadura, Castilla y León, and Andalucía.
> Another interesting practice is the Jornada intensiva, (Intensive workday). During summer months - usually between June and the beginning of September - people start work earlier than usual and finish at lunchtime. The duration and timetable will depend on each company, but companies that utilise the jornada intensiva normally do not take lunch breaks, so they can finish working early.
Emails or phone calls outside of working hours will probably not be answered so knowing the schedule of the team you are working with is important.
You may be thinking how do they get work done with all the holidays? Spaniards are experts in making the most of their working time!
Although the day usually starts between 8am and 9am and generally ends at around 6pm, that is not always the case. Depending on the day and workload, people could be working until late into the evening.
Another factor to consider is response time since, as we mentioned above, depending on the time of day and season, you will need to be patient and give the editors time to go over the information you provided.
How to approach publications: types of content to be shared and specialisation
As we all know in the PR world, in order to use your time more efficiently it is crucial to differentiate between publication topics, and focus on sharing content with the ones that match your subject matter.
Even if your brand is internationally well-known, when you send a press release or a case study to a publication that does not cover your topic in question, don’t expect to receive a response, other than one with a commercial interest.
There is a growing trend of publications, especially in trade media, pitching commercial opportunities such as branded content, partnerships and events in exchange for publishing your content. Sometimes these actions might fit your budget and commercial plans, but in order to focus on securing coverage in the best publications for your brand, try to target those that include articles related to your subject matter. .
Localisation and interesting content in Spain
When approaching a new market such as Spain - and in order to provide the type of news and articles the country wants - brands should produce content for the primary market and adapt it for each new market.
Translating content is not as simple as running it through an online tool - localising content should be done by a native or high-level speaker to ensure nuances in tone and terminology are captured. This is the best way to provide media with culturally relevant content, making sense with the country’s framework.
Hospitality, travel and tourism is a huge industry in Spain - pre-Covid it generated 12.3% of Spain’s GDP and was responsible for 12.7% of its employment. Just as the product offering reflects the diverse landscapes and cultures within the country, the topics of interest to the media are also wide-reaching. Sample themes include:
Increased demand for domestic travel
A trend towards long-term stays
Flexibility in reservations is more valued due to uncertainty
Tech and innovation: the digitisation of processes and interactions due to the fact that travellers expect a more digital experience during their stay
A renewed emphasis on sustainability, with eco-friendly proposals that adapt to the current way of thinking and sustainable practices
The rise of luxury tourism - and forthcoming openings of the large, luxury hotel chains
Security, of both guests and employees, and of the systems that support hotel operations (cybersecurity)
Alternative accommodations shift, such as RV’s, glampings, safari tents, yurts
Communication during periods of rapid change
For the past few years, the world has faced a new paradigm with many media channels forced to change the way they reach and engage with their audience. Distributing a press release to a never-ending list of contacts is no longer enough to secure meaningful coverage.
Attracting the attention of journalists has become an increasingly difficult task. That is why now more than ever is the right time for creativity, and leveraging opportunities like customised events, podcasts, paid-media activities and partnerships to grab the journalists’ attention.
Additionally, the idea of building a community where brands can genuinely engage with both customers and media, can position companies as innovative leaders. It could represent a major contribution to new ideas, creates a sense of excitement, and fulfils the need to belong. Once a journalist can see people are engaging and following your brand, they are more motivated to participate and engage.
In a nutshell, it’s necessary to commit to innovative strategies that adapt to the changing environment in which we live. PR changes so fast, you need to try different angles and be bold in your approach.
Don’t stick to emailing journalists - use Twitter, Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp to connect with journalists. If they open themselves to be pitched to, have a go.
Do not use translated content - always localise the information and content you’re providing.
Market relevance - Use numbers from the Spanish market, reference Spanish customers and partners, and be sensitive to the key issues being addressed - they are not the same globally.
A successful way of reaching out to the press is to ensure a deep knowledge of your subject area and how this is relevant to who you are connecting with.
If one thing has become clear, it is that the Spanish market is very welcoming and open to new ideas and practices. No matter how new you are in the PR industry, you can get the ball rolling with a little planning and preparation.
Everything from your introduction, distribution to the press, media follow up and engagement is important to your success. Developing a full communication strategy will reward you with positive results in the Spanish market.