Working with Brands & Pitching Tips – The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10]

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester
Have you always wondered how you can turn your blog into a business? Then this series is for you!

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In the past 5 years, I’ve visited over 30 (travel) blogging conferences and workshops. That is hours and hours of inspirational and practical advice that helped me turn blogging from a hobby into a full-time business. In this series, I finally open up my notebook to the world and share the insights that I personally found most valuable with you, so you can use them to hopefully make your own blog bigger and better. 

Today, we’re diving into the topic of working with brands and how to write and send a successful pitch. Enjoy!

 

WORKING WITH BRANDS & PITCHING TIPS

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

WHO TO WORK WITH? DOING YOUR RESEARCH

 

We have this great privilege as bloggers to pass on knowledge in a personal way. We have all these insights that we can share with our readers and here lies a true opportunity for PR people.

– Panel with Carol Driver, Amy Skelding, Gemma Seager, Laurina Kennedy (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Looking at different metrics, such as views, engagement, most comments, most clicks on certain links, shares, etc. we can approach PR companies and tourism boards and form a (long-term) relationship that is mutually beneficial.

– Panel with Carol Driver, Amy Skelding, Gemma Seager, Laurina Kennedy (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Know your niche. Research companies that fit that niche (and do they have a blog yet?). Are there cross-overs with companies you already work(ed) with? Engage with those companies online or in person before you pitch.

– Jane Meighan (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Action Point: Write down for yourself: What are your skills? What is your market? Then Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Who is your competition? Where are opportunities? Look at what you do different and what your USP are (Unique Selling Points)

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Write down 5-8 words that resemble your business and 5-8 words of business that you’re aiming for.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Stalk other bloggers to see what companies they already work with. Also check the Facebook Blogger groups for opportunities.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

When travelling, look at all components of your trip (from suitcase to airport lounge to hotel, etc.), then ask yourself: “How can I monetize this?”

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Leverage what you’ve already done. Do you have France content? Pitch to a train company there.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Menorca – May ’17)

 

Look beyond travel brands to form collaborations with.

– Sarah Lee (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

PR Outreach: list brands you align with, research their PR/Marketing reps, create spreadsheet of contact information, send press releases on major milestones, update your list regularly

– Brett & Mary Love (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Is this a brand you like? Does it fit you? Does this brand already work with bloggers? Is there any conflict with brands you’ve previously aligned yourself with? How do you feel about this brand?

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Start working with small companies like local activities. Keep a spreadsheet, ask for testimonials, build relationships and build your client list from there.

– Laurel Robbins (WTM London – Nov ’13)

 

 

WHAT COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR

 

Many marketers have no idea how to spend the marketing money. If bloggers pitch great campaigns they can get some of this budget.

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

As a company, we want to know what info bloggers need from us and what we’ll get back in return.

– Bernice Windley (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

How to appeal to companies: consider the voice of the company you’re working for, target a company’s needs, help a company overcome their challenges, research the company and see what they’re producing already

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Think about your assets and what you own that can truly benefit a partnership. Create a partnership that is only possible through your unique synergies – something you couldn’t have achieved on your own.

– Jackie Fast (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

Do you represent the customers the brand wants? What numbers can you offer? How much influence do you have? Are you an expert in a smaller niche? Do you have syndication opportunities on bigger sites? Do you offer other content services?

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Monthly visitors and page views are only part of the story – Also look at consumption metrics, audience growth, sharing metrics, social media engagement, demographics, successful referrals from past campaigns. Make sure to get screenshots of metrics and testimonials to explain story behind numbers.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

PRs and Clients are interested in: Sales, Brand awareness for new products, Content marketing, SEO, Specialists, New and Creative Ideas.

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Have the right audience to drive traffic/bookings to your clients. Conversion is what brands are looking for.

– Terry Lee (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

We’re looking for ‘real human beings’ interacting, not just bloggers among themselves.

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

Good PR’s and brands are looking for long term relationship, not one night stands.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

CREATE A SOLID PITCHING STRATEGY

 

A good partnership will only occur if you have clear what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll need a solid content strategy.

– Ross Borden (WTM London – Nov ’13)

 

Devise a strategy: who are you communicating with? why are you communicating with them? what do you need to say? when should you communicate with them? where should you communicate with them? how should you achieve your objectives?

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Do not pitch for discounts, only for complimentary products. Value Yourself! Do not get into the mindset that vendors are doing you a favour. You are not getting something for free, you are working for it.

– Kate McCulley (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

How to tap into PR budgets: build relationships, find companies or products that might need your help, do your research (what is running already, what are marketing/business objectives, etc.), ask the right questions.

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Build relationships: pick up the phone, meet and have a conversation with PR’s, etc.

– Sarah Lee (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

Realize that it’s all about the client, not about you. When talking to PR’s, make sure to ask them ‘what are you doing now and what are your aims for the next year(s)?’, then let them know how you can help them achieve their goals.

– Terry Lee (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

 

Meeting your clients’ needs will bring success.

– Terry Lee (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

2-3 Weeks ahead to pitch is good, not 6 months!

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

MEDIA KITS

 

Put a media kit on your website (or provide a contact address for people to get one).

– Terry Lee (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

DMO’s will look at your content, audience, numbers, engagement and authority. So get a media kit with these numbers and demographics. Add case studies and testimonials.

– Jaume Marin (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

The more stats you give us, the better. Give us case studies. Unlike traditional media, you can track it all!

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

It’s good to have a media kit because it makes you and your blog looks credible.

– Kash Bhattacharya (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Do not worry that your site isn’t good enough. Provide your vendor with your accurate media kit and let them make their own decision.

– Kate McCulley (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

It doesn’t matter if you have little visitor numbers, especially when you’re in a niche.

– Oliver Gradwell (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Be clear on what your value is. What can you deliver? Who is your audience? Have that all in your media kit, with case studies.

– Helen Coop (WTM London – Nov ’13)

 

Have a good media pack, advertiser pack and a good about page. Use screenshots of testimonials you’ve received.

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Keep a ROI folder on your desktop with screenshots from testimonials/reader feedback/bookings etc.

– Janice Waugh and Keith Jenkins (STS Kitzbuehel – Sep ’17)

 

Look at destinations you’ve been covering over multiple years and add those numbers to your media kit. Also add affiliate income on products mentioned in this coverage! + time people stayed on your article.

– Janice Waugh and Keith Jenkins (STS Kitzbuehel – Sep ’17)

 

A media kit should include: who you are and what you stand for, name, URL, social handles, key metrics (unique users per month, demographics, page views per month, engagement, etc.), typical audience and their interests, social metrics (follows, reach, engagement), case studies (including examples and media coverage), things you will/can do, indicative fees.

– Closing Panel (Traverse London – Apr ’17)

 

Media Kit: information on you/your niche, overview of numbers and products, references/testimonials, previous experience, demographics, case studies, pricing (could also make them available on request), links, contacts, collaborative networks, good design (reflective of your blog), photo of yourself, quote from readers.

– Sarah Lee (NBE Finland – Jan ’16)

 

Don’t put too much in your Media Kit (1-2 pages is perfect): a little bit about yourself and your brand (most important: what can you offer the companies you’re going to work with?), your DA/PA and show what engagement your blogs has (testimonials by readers or other brands you’ve worked with).

– Tea Che (Meet the Blogger Amsterdam – Oct ’15)

 

Media Kits:
* put it on your website, don’t bury it
* simplistic design with facts and figures, no life story
* introduction: the blog and your position
* statistics: you and your audience
* case studies: successful examples
* services: other services you can offer
* rate cards: examples and considerations
* what next: terms and contacts

– Rep from Bell Pottinger (STS Hamburg – Nov ’15)

 

Make life easy for the PR or brand, they often receive hundreds media kits a week, so it’s easy for them to just chuck one or two if it’s too much work to find your information!

– Tea Che (Meet the Blogger Amsterdam – Oct ’15)

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

PITCHING – CONTACTING BRANDS

 

The worst pitch is the pitch I don’t receive!

– Jaume Marin (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Don’t get too creative in your pitch email headline, just include ‘pitch/blogname’ (not ‘inquiry’ as it might go unnoticed)

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Don’t just tell people what your proposal is – tell them what it does for them: how it will make their life easier, better or more rewarding. People want to rationalize their decisions, so provide plenty of objective reasons why your proposal works for them – BUT people buy on emotional grounds first.

– Abigail King (Traverse London – Apr ’17)

 

Sell Yourself: explain with facts who you are and what you can offer, what you want in return, start small and build a relationship, be honest, be authentic to yourself and your blog, be open to negotiation.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Custom Campaign Set-up:

1. Create your media kit
2. Sketch out complete trip (activities, lodging, transport, food, all ideas)
3. Write social media plan and create a hashtag
4. Set up landing page on your site to point vendors to
5. Start pitching!

– Kate McCulley (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

How to Pitch:
1. Find the right contact
2. Keep correspondence short
3. Point out benefits for them (not you)
4. End in a question
5. Follow up

– Jane Meighan (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

How to present a compelling case:
1. Presentation (why you?)
2. Preparation (firm business reasons)
3. Panache (case studies, how you’re reporting)
4. POW (That little extra)

– Sara Whines (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Blueprint for an email pitch:
1. introduction with clear statement of intent (1st paragraph)
2. the meat of the proposal: what are you asking for and how will it benefit them? (2nd paragraph)
3. relevant context or background / link to more information (3rd paragraph)
4. next step required (4th paragraph)

– Abigail King (Traverse London – Apr ’17)

 

The Creative Brief:
* campaign and its objectives
* key messages
* audience
* budget
* outputs
* dates
* other: offline activity, giveaways, brand social support, other partnerships, ROI metrics

– Rep from Bell Pottinger (STS Hamburg – Nov ’15)

 

In your pitch, explain who you are and who you’ve written for before, include a working title for your story, give a short (up to about 150 words) outline of the story, explain why it’s of interest, explain why YOU should write it, offer more (multimedia)

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Have a mock-up ready when you’re pitching an eBook to let possible sponsors know that the product will look like. Don’t underestimate the importance of good design. Hire someone to do this!

– Kash Bhattacharya (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

You must be able to condense your pitch into one sentence.

– Kash Bhattacharya (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

The difference between someone that charges 50$ and someone that charges 500$ is confidence.

– Renee Lo Iacono (TBU Nantes – Aug ’14)

 

After the pitch, 2-3 weeks is a good time frame for a follow up.

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Always follow up with new ideas, keep pitching new stories and campaign ideas.

– Ian Cleary (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

RATE CARDS & CONTRACTS

 

Rate Cards
* use case studies as examples
* be flexible to tailor (standard posts, multimedia content, social engagement, experiences, personal profile-raising)
* don’t say yet to everything
* maintain editorial integrity
* focus on long-lasting relationships

– Rep from Bell Pottinger (STS Hamburg – Nov ’15)

 

Contracts:
* basic information (parties, contact details)
* scope of work
* payment terms
* conditions (primary contract, indemnity, termination)
* the specific tasks (length, format, quantity, size, colour)
* timings (beginning, milestones, end)
* roles and responsibilities (special dependencies)
* location (client’s premises and equipment?)
* completions (amends and required standard)
* fees (break down all elements)
* expenses (handling charge, advance)
* payment terms (project thresholds, 100%/50%/etc., days)
* late payment

– Rep from Bell Pottinger (STS Hamburg – Nov ’15)

 

In your Contract:
1. Who are you dealing with? (who is the contract with?)
2. Correct name of the company (or address) + business number, phone (not just email)
3. Email exchange can and WILL be your agreement
4. Summarize all details at end of email chains (unless you’re talking about upcoming contract)
5. Always be clear when you expect to get paid (and open conversation on that)
6. Late payments? chase them!
7. Do you have a contract for sponsored posts? Why not?

– Karen Beddow (Traverse London – April ’17)

 

Working with Brands & Pitching Tips - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [4/10] || The Travel Tester

 

The Travel Tester - Bookmark Time for Action
I hope you read something interesting that you can turn into an action step for your own blogging business. Let me know what your favourite insight was!

 

 

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