Caroline Eubanks loves to write about the places she knows best. As a native Atlantan, Georgia is her specialty.
Alongside her blog, Caroline in the City, and her freelance work for publications like Afar, National Geographic Traveler, and BBC Travel, Caroline is also the editor of This Is My South: The travel guide to the Southern USA. Through her expertise and passion for Georgia and surrounding southern states, Caroline has partnered with Explore Georgia for a variety of partnerships and work opportunities.
As our latest member of the month, Caroline is talking about her local focus. While many bloggers are traveling far and exploring new places, Caroline has discovered that some of the best opportunities are right outside your door.
How did you first connect with Explore Georgia?
I first connected with them when I moved back to my home state after living elsewhere for a few years. They invited me on a press trip in 2012 and have become a great resource for me.
How long had you been blogging when you first started working with Explore Georgia?
I’d been blogging for three years before I started working with Explore Georgia, but it was around that time I started taking my blog seriously. I finally moved my site to self hosted WordPress and they found me through it.
How has your working relationship evolved since then?
My working relationship has changed with them over the years. It started in 2013 as just press trips and media marketplaces. In 2014 and 2015, I got to know their team personally and they became a partner with the chapter of Travel Massive that I run. And since my reputation as a writer and blogger has grown, they recommended me for this most recent project. One project tends to lead to another as well. For example, after speaking at the Georgia Governor’s Conference, I spoke at one in Mississippi on a similar topic.
What type of work are you doing for Explore Georgia now?
I’m working on content for a website for the state’s tourism initiative for 2017. It involves writing itineraries on different themes, sourcing photos, and working with their partners from around the state. I’ve also been asked to write blog posts for them.
How have you found ways to incorporate your home state into your travel blog?
I made a decision to set myself apart as an expert on the American South and Georgia specifically. I found that there are a lot of misconceptions about the region, which I frequently heard when I was living overseas, so I wanted to showcase the highlights of the area. I write about Georgia on Caroline in the City, on my second site This Is My South, and in my freelance writing.
Do you ever feel limited with local content, or do you find more opportunities in the places you know best?
Sometimes I do feel like I get asked mostly on press trips in the region, but that’s where most of my work is. There aren’t many people writing about Atlanta and Georgia, so I tend to be one of the first choices for content creation.
What do you think attracted Georgia’s tourism board to hire you on for a bigger project?
I’m lucky to have come to know many of the people who work for the tourism board on a personal level as well as a professional one. I think they knew that my reach was targeted for the region, so readers can actually take these trips I write about, and they’d read my previous work.
How does the work you’re doing for them now differ from the work you do on your blog?
The work I do for them is very targeted, so it’s set to a theme. But I try to showcase the stories of the entire region on my blog, including the people, food, and culture that make it so unique.
Can you provide any tips for bloggers who have not yet connected with their local tourism board but hope to do so?
Before I say anything else, I will note that not all tourism boards want to work with local bloggers. One of my local tourism boards on a city level does not work with me or any local bloggers, despite my best efforts.
But I do think it’s important to reach out to your local representatives. It’s especially beneficial for beginners who may be able to start with a trial day long press trip to show what they can do. And it’s nice to work together towards the same goal of promoting your area.
What type of experience do you have outside of blogging that has helped in this new project you’re taking on?
I started my blogging career around the same time as my freelance writing career, so it’s the two that have gone hand in hand that have prepared me best for this project. My existing contacts through blogging have also helped, as I was easily able to reach out to a contact for info or photos. And research experience is helpful too!
What other types of opportunities have you seen as a result of your local content?
Because of my emphasis on local and regional content, I’ve been featured by Southern Living and have found a number of writing projects because of my specialized expertise.
You recently spoke at the Georgia Governor’s Conference on Tourism about working with the media. Can you share with us a few of the takeaways from your talk that might apply to bloggers?
I was on a panel with another blogger and a magazine editor. As content creators in general, we all receive pitches that don’t suit our needs, so we spoke to CVBs and brands about how best to serve each others needs. We talked about focusing your pitches on specific bloggers rather than blanket pitches to everyone in your Rolodex.
And on the other side, we should be focused on how we pitch brands and destinations. We need to offer something very specific to them that will appeal to their customers.
What does success in travel blogging mean to you?
To me, success isn’t about money. Not everyone needs to make money from travel blogging. It might be the means to finding work, whether that’s as a writer, photographer, or even tour guide. Your blog is a platform that can lead to other things.
You can follow Caroline’s adventures on Caroline in the City and Twitter.