TBEX North America 2015: Fort Lauderdale Katie Hammel
Brand and Blogger Relationships:
How to Be the Blogger
Everyone Wants to Work With
Senior Travel Editor, Viator.
Manages Viator’s blog network, special content
projects, and blogger ambassador program. Works
with bloggers to produce content about Viator tours
for use on the blogs and on Viator.com.
Who this session will benefit:
Bloggers who want to build successful campaigns with travel brands and
What I’ll tell you:
How to find brands to partner with, how to pitch, how to build and
execute a campaign, what numbers matter, how to follow up and how to
ensure a partnership that will grow.
Things to consider before your first or next pitch:
• What are your personal goals from brand collaborations?
• What do you have to offer?
• What types of collaborations are more suited to you and the brand?
What are your personal goals from brand
• What are your goals from brand collaborations?
• Content you own?
• Exposure/links/traffic to your blog?
• Increase in social followers or newsletter signups?
• Sales/revenue/lead generation?
• Discounted or complimentary products and services?
• Monetary compensation?
• Choose partnerships that best help you achieve your goals.
What do you have to offer?
• It’s not about the biggest numbers (but numbers matter). What audience
numbers do you have?
• Do you represent the customers the brand wants?
• How much influence do you have?
• Are you an expert in a smaller niche (big fish, small pond)?
• Do you have syndication opportunities on bigger sites?
• Can you offer other content services (writing, photo, video) or consulting?
Types of partnerships:
• Blog/media coverage of product service (review)
• Content production or photo/video production for brand sites
• Social media campaign or Instagram takeover
• Affiliate programs
• Brand ambassadorships/sponsorships
• Advertising/advertorial/sponsored posts
• Contest/giveaway/promo code
Choose your partners wisely.
• Do you work with any of the brand’s main competitors? Is there any
conflict with brands you have previously aligned with
• Does your audience fit the product?
• Do you enjoy the brand and its mission, services or product?
• How do you feel about the brand? Trust your 6th sense!
• TBEX and other travel conferences (ATTA, Traverse, IBT, WTM)
• Blogger Bridge
• Travel Bloggers Facebook/community groups
• Social media
• Personal connections and networking
• Cold calling/pitching
Where to find opportunities:
• Your pitch should cover three things:
• Who you are
• What you can offer
• What you want – specifically
How to craft the perfect pitch:
• Consumption metrics: monthly visitors/views per post
• Engagement: real likes and comments (not just comments from friends
and other bloggers)
• Social media engagement: likes, comments, RTs, shares
• Readers and demographic
• Successful referrals from past campaigns
• Audience growth
What numbers matter:
• Syndication of content on other sites
• Comments from readers showing direct action was taken
• Metrics from other brands showing direct action taken on their sites
• Testimonials from brands showing non-qualitative results
Other “wow” metrics:
<Short but detailed introduction>
Who you are, your offer, your stats
<Show what you can offer>
It’s not only about the numbers
<Specific request and offer>
Show why this is a great fit
Attachments / All contact details / Urls
Example of a Good Pitch
<Short but detailed introduction> I'm a travel blogger who publishes <X blog> and I am interested in working with
<company>. My blog receives <number> monthly visitors with an average of <number> views per post. I have
<number and social media platform> followers (repeat for your top platforms among the most popular).
<Show what you can offer beyond the above numbers>
<I have contributed to/my blog has been featured on/I syndicate content to/my photos have been featured on> <list
other sites or publications>.
Though my blog is only a year old, it was ranked by <reputable, well-known site> as one of the best new travel blogs
for <my niche>.
A recent campaign with <other company> generated more than <number> or referrals to that company’s website,
which is 75% more than previous bloggers they have worked with.
<Specific request and offer>. I’m traveling to <city> from <date range 3-4 weeks in future> and would love to do the
<name of tour, with link>. <give reason why this tours is a great fit - you write about food and it’s a food tour, or you’d
like to write about seeing a city through this particular angle>.
Relevant <blog/writing/photo/video> samples are linked below. Please let me know if you need any additional
Complete name / Blog url / Social media links / All contact details
Hi <generic title>,
< Intro with lots of big claims
but no proof >
< Vague offers or
no real request >
<Asking for too much the first
time> Over-promising on the results
<Closing with no details>
Things to Avoid in Your Pitch:
I love your sight! I am the editor-in-chief of mytravelblog.com, an extremely popular blog, and I would
love to work with you sometime! My blog has been ranked in the top 100 travel blogs by
thatotherblogger.com and I know my readers would LOVE to learn more about your tours!
I have a HUGE following!
I’ve been traveling full-time since 2011 so I can write about almost any destination and I’m always on
the move so I’m sure we can find a place where I can review some tours. I’m going to France soon. Let
me know if you need anything!
My readers love to travel and I know they would love to hear about your company.
I’d love to write about the Super Deluxe Ultimate 7-Day VIP Exclusive Experience. Can we set this up for
three days from now? I’m traveling with my “photographer” and four “assistants” (ages 3-9) so I’ll need
tours comped for all of us.
In exchange for this two-hour tour I can guarantee seventeen blog posts and 40 social media mentions.
First name only, never says the name of the blog or attaches media kit or mentions stats
• Your research - see what others in your industry are paying, learn as much as
you can about the company you are targeting
• Be realistic
• Expect to negotiate
• and .. be prepared to not get what you want...
• Take it personally
• Be afraid to walk away if it’s not right
Contracts and deliverables:
• List exactly what you will receive:
• tour/trip dates or product delivery
• payment, payment schedule and method
• special offers to your readers (discount code)
• requested AID/pub code, linking instructions, and social handles
• List exactly what you will provide:
• number of blog posts, social media posts, photos or videos
• any content you will create for the brand’s site
• deadlines for delivery
• post-campaign wrap-up
•If you messed up, notify the rep ASAP, apologize sincerely, and offer
ways to make it right
•If it’s a brand issue, notify a rep ASAP, give them a chance to apologize,
correct it, and make it right, or escalate communication to someone with
the authority to resolve the issue
•Pause before you vent. Always be honest with your readers, but allow a
cooling-off period before you post.
What to do when things do wrong:
• Always send a post-campaign report with:
• links to published work and stats of readers, comments, likes, shares
• links to social media posts and number of likes, shares, comments, RTs
• What else might wow me?
• Don’t be afraid to ask for metrics from the brand, or a testimonial or reference about how you
• How many people came to the brand’s site through yours or listed you as a referrer?
• How many people used a discount code?
• How much revenue was generated?
• How many social followers were gained?
• They may not be able to give specifics.
• Do what you promised, and over-deliver when you can
• Be an unofficial ambassador/evangelist
• Stay true to yourself and your readers
• Make your collaborator’s life easier!
• Always be ethical and professional
• Follow up! Highlight success and come up with solutions to improve
• Be proactive to expand the partnership
How to be the blogger brands look forward to