As your blog continues to grow, you may want to start working with partner brands to promote their products, services, or experiences. This is an exciting part of being a travel blogger; I distinctly remember my first partner, and I’m pretty sure most other travel bloggers do too!
If you want to start off on the best foot possible, you have to make sure you not only land the partnerships you pitch – but you pitch the right partners! How can you do this? It sounds a little easier than it is, but here are the steps we recommend.
Step 1. Consider the Brands You Already Use
A lot of bloggers want to start off big. How great would it be to work with a global travel brand, right away?! I feel you – I have those dreams too. However, it’s better to start small, achieve success, and grow your partnerships the same way you grow your blog (hint: organically and authentically!).
To do this, consider which brands you’re already using when you travel. What company made your luggage? Which airlines do you always try to fly? What clothing do you love to wear when you travel? Which tour companies do you have the fondest memories from traveling with?
These answers will guide you on creating a short-list of companies where you are likely to have success in pitching a partnership. Since you already use the company, you can authentically say why you love their brand and want to work with them. This is a great bridge to open the door for a business conversation for working with you and your blog.
For example: I almost always travel wearing Uniqlo and H&M clothing, and I carry all my camera gear in an ONA bag. These are potentially great brands for me to reach out to about a packing list partnership.
Step 2. Consider the Brands You Plan to Use
For the next step of choosing the right partners for your travel blog, consider which brands you plan to use. Notice I didn’t say “brands you would use, if X, Y, or Z…” We all have brands we would use, if we had more money, more time, more traffic… Instead, focus on the brands you would right now consider using when you plan a trip.
Is there a tour company you’ve been eyeing for a specific destination, and you’re pretty confident you’re booking with them partnership or not? How about a piece of travel attire or photography gear you’ve had on your wishlist forever?
These are the brands that have a strong bridge for you to pitch a partnership – but not quite as strong as those brands you already use. You can sell the brand on your blog through your passion for wanting to affiliate yourself with them. Some brands will take your enthusiasm as a sign that you’re going to do a great job promoting them, even if it’s your first experience with their brand.
For example: I am planning a trip to Alaska, and will have to book a few hotels while I’m there. I’ve already researched and decided which hotels I want to stay in. Now, I can reach out to see if the hotels will be willing to partner with me, since I’m already ready to promote them.
Step 3. Consider How Your Audience Overlaps with the Brands You Want to Pitch
Imagine you want to pitch a partnership for a brand you already use (or plan to use), but their audience is way outside your current audience. Maybe they offer a family travel service and you don’t regularly mention that you travel with kids. Maybe they offer a super luxe resort experience, but you typically write about budget adventure travel. Can you spot the difficulty in having a successful partnership with a brand whose audience doesn’t naturally align with yours?
You’ll have more successful pitches – and more successful partnerships – if you try to work with brands whose audience is close to yours. This doesn’t have to mean the same audience, but there should be some organic and authentic spots where your audience will be interested in the same thing as the brand’s audience. That way, when you both promote your blog post, everyone’s audience will be interested!
For example: I’m about to take a cruise. The brand has an audience that loves fun, colorful Instagram photos, so I’m planning to propose some Instagram sharing or a takeover as part of my partnership pitch, since I share the same kinds of photos on my Instagram.
Step 4. Craft a Perfect Pitch
Once you’ve identified the brands you want to work with, the real fun (and work) begins!
As we mentioned, we have a great resource to help you start pitching partners. It takes you through a step-by-step process that many members (and non-members!) have used to land their first – or fiftieth – partnership. Check it out: How to Land Your First Blogging Sponsorship
Want to learn more about successful partnerships for your travel blog? Our Bloggers, Brands, and Tourism Boards: A Guide to Successful Partnerships course is perfect for you. Check it out in the Travel Blog Success shop!