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For many travel bloggers, partnerships are the reason we start blogging. The idea of receiving reduced-price or even free tours, travel, and accommodation is a siren call that many of us are extremely motivated by. It’s exciting to start a blog, work hard, and reap the rewards of these partnerships.
Before you even land a partnership with a travel brand or destination, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it “right.” If you set up the wrong kinds of partnerships or choose the wrong partners for your brand, it can hurt you instead of helping your blog. When it comes to setting up travel blog partnerships, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do: Consider Your Readers
Part of the reason many bloggers pitch partnerships is because it means you can be choosy and seek out companies to work with that align with you and your blog.
When you’re researching brands or destinations to reach out to, it’s important to ask yourself one major question: Will this appeal to my readers?
Your job as a blogger (especially when you are working with a destination or brand) is to take your reader along with you and convince them that, someday, they should book the same tour or stay in the same hotel or visit the same place you did.
This means that knowing your audience and keeping them in mind is ridiculously important. When you’re considering who/what to pitch, ask yourself first if that tour or hotel or destination would be something your readers would legitimately consider for their own travel plans.
Press trips and freebies are very tempting. I know they are, especially when you’re trying to travel as much as possible. But don’t alienate your readers just because somebody offers you something cool.
Your audience should always come first.
Don’t: Think Of It As “Collecting Freebies”
Yes, you may be getting a hotel room or day tour free of charge. But just remember that these sorts of partnerships require work on your end, too.
When you set up the partnerships, you will have to agree on the coverage you will offer in return for that free room or tour.
Will you be writing a review?
Producing a certain number of posts on social media?
Promoting the company in your newsletter?
All of this requires your time, energy, and attention. So, it’s not actually as “free” as people think. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your trips and pitches.
Also, remember that you have to actually deliver on the things you’ve promised a brand or tourism board in a timely fashion. The more freebies you take on, the more work you owe to different parties. It’s your responsibility to manage that and provide value for your readers and partners at the same time.
Do: Consider What Sets You Apart
As the travel blogging market becomes increasingly saturated, it’s essential for bloggers to find a way to stand out if they want to work with brands and destinations.
When you’re getting ready to starting pitching, you need to think about your “unique selling point:” What sets you apart from every other travel blogger out there? What do you offer that other bloggers don’t?
This doesn’t necessarily have to be huge traffic numbers — it could be a really specific niche or a unique point of view or a very targeted audience that makes you different.
If you’re not really sure what it is that makes you stand out, ask some of your readers. Consider sending out a survey and asking what it is about your blog that makes your readers come back.
Don’t: Get Too Big for Your Britches
It’s easy to feel giddy and excited when those press trip invites, review offers, and positive responses to pitches start rolling into your inbox.
Don’t let the “freebies” go to your head. Yes, the offers are nice. And yes, one positive response to a pitch might make you want to send out 10 more. But don’t lose sight of why you travel or why you blog. Remember to stay true to who you are; stay true to your brand.
You don’t have to accept every free trip that comes your way; you don’t have to pitch to every hotel and tour company in every city you visit — in fact, when you become a blogger who will only travel if the trip is free, your audience WILL notice.
Do: Be Gracious and Grateful
A little humility and gratefulness really can go a long way. You might be surprised how few fellow travel bloggers think to say ‘thank you for working with me’ in their conversations with partners.
Being grateful for the opportunity to work with amazing companies is one of those things that may not reap “business” benefits for your blog, but can go a long way to helping you succeed. Happy partners mean good referrals and testimonials, which can in turn help you land more successful partnerships in the future. And, of course, being grateful makes you feel good inside.
Ready to Master the Art of Partnerships?
Created in partnership with Amanda from A Dangerous Business, our Bloggers, Brands, and Tourism Boards course is a great guide to creating successful partnerships. In the course, you’ll learn everything from how to pitch partnerships to successfully completing press trip requirements.