Free travel is the big aspiration for most of you travel bloggers. Even if you don’t admit it, the thought of jetsetting around the world, representing brands, properties, tours, cities or even provinces for free is pretty darn awesome. Imagine that – getting paid to travel. Now that’s the dream right?
Getting there is a whole other story.
Getting over the fear
Earlier on in my blogging career, I think a lot of what was holding me back was fear. There was fear of rejection. There was fear of not being good enough. There was fear of not knowing what to do.
I was producing good content but hearing about how folks in PR wanted big numbers and big influence turned me away. Another thing that held me at bay from pitching was that I didn’t really know how it worked. For some reason in my head it seemed to involve something elaborate like courting a prince or princess to marry you. What am I supposed to write? How long does it need to be? How professional does it need to look? Oh the questions!
With my own personal story of success and samples below, I hope to put your fear to bed.
Started from a simple direct message on Twitter
For me, my first successful pitch really started with a DM on Twitter. No joke. Pitching via e-mail seemed like such a big deal that I thought I’d start easy.
Just like how you’d say “Hey, what’s up” on a messaging app, I basically did the same thing to a hotel brand I recently started following. The exact words of it were “Hi, just curious, do you guys work with bloggers?” In retrospect that was pretty blunt but I figured there was nothing to lose. And hey, getting rejected for 160 characters is a lot less painful too right?
To my surprise, the lady managing the hotel brand’s Twitter account said that they do and after a few more messages back and forth, she passed along an e-mail address to me. That e-mail address then led to further conversations which eventually led to a comped trip in exchange for a review and some social media content creation.
It totally wasn’t planned and I myself was surprised at how everything turned out.
So the lesson really is: just pitch.
My philosophy is that if you don’t go out and create opportunities for yourself, there sure as hell won’t come knocking on your door. I soon realized that the worst that can happen to you is that someone will say “No not interested”. If that happens, just move on. Eventually your message will resonate with someone and you’ll get your first “Yes”.
Get your pitch e-mail ready
But of course, pitching is a little more than just a quick DM. It works but eventually you’re going to get to a stage where you’re going to need to have a legit e-mail put together that
Here’s a sample e-mail pitch that I tweaked with the help of Mapping Megan so a huge shoutout has to go to her.
Now don’t go copying what I have as it’ll look a bit fishy when people start getting the same looking emails. My recommendations is to use it as a template to extract out the basic structure of it and fill it out with your own flavor and character. That’s why I’m including a skeleton pitch below for you to use which breaks down what you talk about.
Am I ready?
A lot of people like myself hesitate because we all know that PR, sponsors and brands care about stats and numbers. So what is considered to be “good enough”?
This a topic that’s hotly debated by bloggers these days and there’s one camp which says that you should wait to build your influence and credentials before pitching and there’s another camp that says to just do it even if you don’t have the numbers to back you.
I’m of the opinion of just going for it when you feel ready (especially after reading this post right *nudge nudge*).
The mindset shift you have to make is that, a lot of times as bloggers, we know a lot more than these brands that we approach. These guys are hungry for new content and fresh audiences. As long as you come off as professional, knowledgable and able to offer those two things that every marketer is dying for, then you have a good chance of picking up a gig.
To add to that, there will be companies that you reach out to that have only worked with a few bloggers in the past and so they’re also trying to figure out how it works. These guys are less worried about stats and care more about the coverage and buzz that they could only dream about through paid advertising. Again, bring value, professionalism and integrity to the table and 9 times out of 10, they’ll be willing to take a chance on you.
3 tips to get you going
- Start easy. I’ve found hotels to be a lot easier to work with than say tourism boards or big brands. Or better yet, what about a local activity like tree top trekking place if that is your thing.
- Get your media kit in order. They’re going to want to know some numbers and a media kit is a great exercise to get it all in one place.
- Just remember it doesn’t matter how big or small you are. Even David conquered Golliath right?
That’s about everything I wanted to cover for this. Hopefully this gives you that extra push to start pitching. It’s a lot less scary than I thought it was. It’s not even like you need to make cold calls so what’s really holding you back?
If you want specific samples from me just leave a comment below, subscribe and I’ll shoot something over via e-mail!
- Did you know that Twitter Analytics is now available for everyone?
- Learn from other travel bloggers by joining Facebook groups.
- Check out my fellow blogger Parm of Planet Blue Adventure talk about The Art of Pitching CVBs, Tourism Boards and PR firms.