On Thursday, Feb. 22nd 2020, The DC Chapter of the Blogger Union was honored to have two local DC Bloggers, Emily from theemilyedition.com and her sister Kate from classyandkate.com to hear all things Travel Blogging at The Furniture Department at Macy’s at Fashion Centre Pentagon City ! They covered a variety of topics to include photography and editing, drones, pitching, and planning content while traveling.
Below is a recap of what we learned:
Establishing a brand:
- Have a professional email address and website. It gives you credibility and professionalism. You don’t have to start with a paid domain, you can give a free website a trial run first. Have a nice email signature and an email address that comes directly from your website domain. Think of interviewing for a job, how do you stand out and set yourself apart?
- Be open to trying new things and finding your niche.
- Being present and consistent is important when working with brands. Having engagement from followers helps show it will be a mutually beneficial partnership.
Working with travel brands (getting started/pitching):
- Start creating content that shows what you can provide. When you travel, take photos of all of the different amenities at your hotel, tag the hotels on your posts, write blog posts etc. This helps show the brand what you have to offer.
- Get to know the brand, figure out how you can offer value, show that you really admire them and respect them, and that you’re not just trying to get a free stay.
- To find influencer friendly hotels, google the city that you’ll be staying in, followed by the term “all opinions are my own”. For example, to find hotels that work with influencers in New York, google “New York Hotel, all opinions are my own”.
- Reach out to companies to pitch when traveling as far in advance as you can. Find the right person to get in contact with (not just a general email address), and come up with a really compelling pitch. The average hotel receives 50+ email pitches per day.
- When pitching, be personal and offer value. Tell a little about yourself. Provide insights and stats, and include your IG handle and links that show your best past work. Also provide general examples of what you can offer (static IG posts, stories, blog posts, etc). When you email your pitch, treat it like your cover letter, and treat your media kit like your resume.
- It’s really necessary to have a good media kit when working with brands. Include: demographics, services offered (what types of posts you do) etc. Don’t include rates because you don’t want to sell yourself short. Canva is a great resource for an influencer media kit.
Working with travel brands (once you land the gig):
- Go above and beyond your requirements in order to open the door for future opportunities with that same brand. Take additional pictures/videos that they can use for future reference, and/or you can use to continue to tag them in future posts after the initial collaboration has ended. This shows that you really love/are invested in the brand.
- Connect with the people who you work with. Send a follow up email afterwards to let the people know how much you enjoyed working with them.
- Turn one off collaborations into continuous rolling partnerships by reaching back out to companies in the future and letting them know that you’d like to work with them again.
Tips for ensuring you get the best pictures when you travel:
- Scout locations ahead of time to see where you want to take pictures. Follow local bloggers who live in that area so you can find the good non-touristy spots. Look up relevant local hashtags to use when you travel and at home.
- Go to the popular spots as early as possible to avoid crowds. If you want to have more professional pictures than what your traveling partners can provide you with (or if you want to give them a break from taking your pictures), use memorick.com and flytographer.com to look up and link up with local photographers in the area where you’ll be staying. You can also look up the tagged photographers of local bloggers in the area.
- Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll have to get creative with finding places to change.
- Also don’t worry about people looking, and pointing, etc while you’re taking pictures. Get those shots!
- Give yourself time to post/submit content after your trip to create safety and boundaries. Don’t post your exact locations in real-time.
- Don’t forget to enjoy your time, take part in the experiences, and have some unplugged moments!
- Having a professional camera can give you added value. Recommended camera: SonyA73 with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 apt lens.
- Emily and Kate also recently bought a drone for videos during their travels. Recommended drone: DJI Spark (runs around $400, if you’re just starting out and experimenting). DJI Mavic (more expensive and advanced).
- Photo editing: Experiment with Lightroom presets. Make your own style. See what works best for you, and what your audience likes best. Have a style that isn’t too edited. Brands want content that looks and feels real.
Working with brands: Should you work for free? Yes and no.
- If you really love a product, work with the company, and it could lead to a paid partnership in the future.
- If you work with a company for free, and they continue to reach out to you, let them know that due to a high volume of collaborations, you’re looking to transition to paid partnerships, and see if they’re able to work with you. If not, tell them that you’d love to work with them if they have a budget in the future.
- Some unpaid opportunities can also be good resume/media kit builders.
How to find balance your blog life along with personal life and work life:
- Know that it’s a labor of love. Find the time for it and make it work.
- Be organized and set boundaries by designating specific days/times that you’re going to work on blogging (campaigns, tasks, emails, etc).
- Use Google docs to type out and organize your deadlines.
- Only accept the partnerships that you really want and fit your criteria, otherwise it will take over your life.
We also had Eyeobee Photo Booth provide a modern and fun photo booth experience for our influencers. All photos are courtesy of our event photographer, Arch Photography. This event was a ton of fun and a completely sold out crowd. We will see you at our next event on March 22nd.