The Professional Bloggers Sponsorship Guide - TBU Rotterdam
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateThe Professional Blogger’sSPONSORSHIPGUIDECustom press trips,comps, and evaluatingyour worthKate McCulley@adventurouskateTravel Bloggers Unite#TBUPORMay 18, 2013
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateTIMES HAVE CHANGED.In the past, simply getting a free trip was seen as the pinnacle of success.That’s not the case anymore.Income streams are disappearing.Text links have dried up.Established bloggers are feeling the pressure and quitting.Others are creating unique projects.Are unpaid trips worth your time? Think about it.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateSelf-Organized CustomTripsA well-planned custom trip reinforces your personalbrand.You can build in unique aspects to your trip that noone else will have.You won’t be held to a DMO’s wishes or budgetconstraints.You can build in much-needed downtime and worktime.Taking on a project like this enhances your credibility.You get to pick the destination!
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateVALUE YOURSELFDo not get into the mindset that vendors are doing you afavor. YOU are the one doing THEM a favor.Do not let vendors talk you into overcompensating them.Do not make it easy for vendors to offer you less -- pitch forcomplimentary products only, not discounts.Do not worry that your site isn’t good enough. Provide yourvendor with an accurate media kit and let them make theirown decision.DO NOT BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND THAT YOUARE GETTING SOMETHING FOR FREE. You areworking for it.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateTHINK THEMATICALLYGo beyond your niche.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskatetheme (n): a unifying ordominant idea, motif, etc., as ina work of art.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateThemes That WorkBacon is Magic -- A lifelong love affair with porkproducts.Man vs. Clock -- Self-improvement through personalchallenges.Neverending Footsteps -- Stepping out of anextremely narrow comfort zone.Stop Having a Boring Life -- The go-to golf and fishingguy.Vagabond3 -- A taco in every town, a theme in everycountry.Travels of Adam -- The hippest hipster on each
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateLiteral themes: Is there any activity that you have donein several countries?Personality-driven themes: Do you find yourself insimilar situations again and again? How do you act?Life themes: Do you have an interesting backgroundthat you haven’t brought into your blog yet?What are your most popular posts? Can you repeatthe magic?Find a thread. Connect it. The possibilities areendless.What are your themes?
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateGetting StartedMedia Kit -- you need this!Sketch out your complete trip -- everything fromactivities to lodging to transportation to food. Includeyour ideas for vendors.Create a social media plan and choose a hashtag.Build a page for your trip on your site. Refer allvendors to it.Start pitching!
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateTypes of Companies toPitchCity PassCompetitive ActivitiesTours, Excursions and ActivitiesRestaurantsLodgingTransportation
City PassEASYCity passes provide highvalue for a blogger: avariety of sights, plustransportation.In most cases, citypasses cost DMOsnothing. (There areexceptions.)
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateCompetitiveActivitiesEASYIf a destination is home to asignature activity with manyproviders, vendors will mostlikely be eager to increase theirprofile.Steep competition is youropportunity.
Activities and ExcursionsEASYCould be almostanything: outdoorexcursions, cookingclasses, extreme sports,tours of all kinds.Most of the time, it costsvendors little to nothingto bring an extra personor two along.
RestaurantsMORE DIFFICULT.Pitch with a firm angle --“I would like to try therestaurant” isn’t enough.Go for tasting menus,unusual or famousdishes, themes that fitwith your earlier work.
LodgingMORE DIFFICULT.Pitch with a firm angle --a hotel with a story.Much easier: workingwith a lodging providerlike HostelWorld,Wimdu, Roomorama,etc.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateBefore You Pitch, Think:Do I actually want to do this activity?Do I actually want to write about this activity?Will getting this activity comped save me a lot ofmoney?Will my readers want to read about this activity?If not, can I make this into an entertaining post?
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateDo Not Use This Crap PitchHello,I want to take surfing lessons with Welsh Waves but it’s tooexpensive for me. But if you could give me a free ordiscounted lesson, I could write a post about it on my travelblog, AmazingWorldTravels.com. I know it’s a lot to ask, butI would appreciate anything you could do.Amanda White
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateDO Use This AwesomePitchGreetings, Welsh Waves --I am interested in featuring your surfing lessons on an upcoming media trip. My name is Amanda White and I am thepublisher of Amazing World Travels (www.amazingworldtravels.com). I am currently planning the Great Welsh OutdoorsMedia Trip (www.amazingworldtravels.com/great-welsh-outdoors), in which I feature the best outdoor activities in Wales,and I would love to add surfing with Welsh Waves to my itinerary.I would like to join one of your three-hour surf classes for beginners on Wednesday, September 26, or Thursday,September 27. My research tells me that of all the surfing companies in Pembrokeshire, Welsh Waves provides some ofthe most in-depth instruction for beginners, which would be valuable to my readers.In exchange for a complimentary class, I will provide a full post detailing the experience on Amazing World Travels, as wellas mentions of Welsh Waves in pre-trip and wrap-up Great Welsh Outdoors posts and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,and Pinterest. The review will be featured prominently on the site, which receives10,000 unique visitors each month. Formore details, please see my media kit (www.amazingworldtravels.com/media-kit).Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.Best,Amanda WhiteAmazingWorldTravels.com
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateSend a thank you email to vendors within 24 hours ofyour activity. Say when the post will be going live.When writing the post, BE HONEST and fair. Disclosethat your trip was complimentary.After the post goes live, wait until it has a fewcomments on it before sending it to the vendor.Once all the posts are up, build a case study. Includesocial media and site statistics, photos, and feedbackfrom readers.Posting and Follow-Up
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateCASE STUDIESGreat Trips from the Past Six Months
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateYoung Adventuress inTurkeyLiz Carlson -- Young AdventuressLiz Carlson -- Young AdventuressTheme: Solo Female Travel in TurkeyLocation: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, PamukkaleFreebies: Accommodation, including a cave hotel; hotair balloon ride; abseiling; Turkish food tour; moretours and activitiesWhy It Worked: It was a very relatable trip: short,taking in Turkey’s most visited regions. The averagetraveler could easily replicate it.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateA Texan in LaplandKristin Repsher -- Boots and aBackpackKristin Repsher -- Boots and aBackpackTheme: Winter Adventure Travel in LaplandLocation: Far northern Norway, Sweden and FinlandFreebies: Unique accommodation including an iglooand a snow castle, dogsledding, ice floating, icecarting, many cultural activities.Why It Worked: No stone was left unturned. This wasan in-depth guide to all the regions of Lapland duringthe winter and took in a wide variety of experiences.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateIce RunNellie Huang and Alberto Molero -- WildJunketNellie Huang and Alberto Molero -- WildJunketTheme: Traveling Europe’s coldest regions by train inthe winter.Location: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark,Germany, SwitzerlandFreebies: Eurail pass, unique accommodationincluding a UFO hotel, Northern Lights viewing,dogsledding, Glacier Express train, several more toursand activities.Why It Worked: Great, short name (perfect fortweeting!) and a theme that was clear yet all-encompassing.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateFurther Income StreamsSponsorship: find a corporate sponsor to mentionthroughout the trip.Publishing: standalone ebook, guide to destination ortheme, something else?Advertising deals with companies featured as vendors.Consulting with DMOs: use this trip to parlay intofuture trips for pay.Leading tours through the destination featured in thetrip.
Kate McCulley | @adventurouskateBE SMART.Do things that make the rest of us look good.
Thanks for Coming!Any questions?Come see me. I’ll be around.Or find me online:adventurouskate.com@firstname.lastname@example.org