Interesting topic? Check.
Knowledgeable speakers? Check.
Great meetup venue? Check again.
We kicked off 2019 with all of the elements of a perfect meetup as we talked about travel blogging at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina. What made it even more valuable was that our panel of speakers included both marketers and a blogger for a 360° perspective.
Danielle Faust of OkDani blog, Melissa Michaane of Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, and Luz Castillo of Finn Partners PR shared their knowledge and a lot of great advice on how to work with travel brands. Here are some of their top tips…
Be True to Yourself (and Your Blog)
All three speakers stressed how important is to be true to yourself and to know your audience. Try to work with brands that would be interested in your specific audience and tell them why you’re a good fit.
If you’re not blogging about luxury travel, for example, don’t go after Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Find a good brand match for you and your readers.
When approaching brands, be open to collaborating in different ways. All too often, marketers get emails with requests like: “I’m going to Cancun and would love a free stay for x nights in return for a post,” etc. It’s a turn-off if it seems like you’re only after a free stay and it’s even worse if it’s a copy/paste email you’re sending to many hotels in the area. (Some of them might have the same PR agency.)
You’ll get better results if you customize your pitch for each brand and keep it open to any type of partnership. Melissa gave the example of a blogger who wrote, “I’d love to see how we can work together.” That blogger was open to working with their local hotels and restaurants. She did such a great job she was invited to work with several Ritz-Carlton properties in the Caribbean.
Danielle has found success emailing with the line, “Would you mind if I send over a few ideas?” She then sends a few topic ideas that work for her blog and their audience.
As much as you’d love to get a free stay, it isn’t always possible. It often depends on the brand’s marketing budget and what they’re trying to promote.
Also, realize that you will have to pay your own way at times, especially when you’re starting out. Hotels can’t always offer free stays, especially during high season.
They may offer a discounted media rate or no special rate at all, but if you decide to go and pay your own way, let them know. They might offer a few amenities to sweeten your stay.
As Melissa noted, it has gotten more competitive for bloggers and influencers, but she feels influencer marketing is here to stay. The others agreed, with Danielle adding that the bar is set higher now and bloggers need to be more creative to stand out.
We thank all of our speakers for spending the time to offer their advice. Thank you to our sponsor as well. Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina was a terrific meeting spot and the view from Pelican Landing restaurant was the perfect backdrop for drinks and networking.
Until next time bloggers!