Entries in ‘Conferences and courses’ Journal

Pitching Media and Bloggers in Five Steps

Tuesday October 30, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 3 Comments

"Ryan Vogelsong"

San Francisco Giants Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong shows us how to pitch.

We all know that we should be pitching the media, both print and online, our unique story angles. Yet finding travel bloggers and reaching out to them is often intimidating. 

I’ve put together an outline of five simple steps to contacting the media and bloggers.

I put this presentation together as a speaker for the CA Downtown Association Conference taking place in Sacramento, California. 
If you attended this session, I hope you will heed my call to action by introducing yourself in the comments section below.

5 steps to blogger outreach

Five simple steps to blogger outreach:

  1. Research
  2. Social Media
  3. Unique Selling Point
  4. Bloggers Are Different Than Print
  5. Think Outside The Block
1. Research
The most important thing to remember is to target your media. Take the time to read the blog before you send a pitch letter or introduce yourself; it shows us that you have done your homework.
2. Social Media
Connect with bloggers where we live; online. The easiest way to find bloggers is via social media outlets such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to establish relationships with the media.
3. Unique Selling Point
Ask yourself  “What’s different about my destination?” and “Why should a blogger care?”
We receive plenty of e-mails asking us to write about your destination. Look at our blog and how we position ourselves. As a blogger, do we specialize in luxury travel, boomer travel, equestrian travel, accessible travel; what is our niche? Next, dial in and fine tune your pitch to the travel blogger.
4. Bloggers Are Different Than Print Journalists
Bloggers need different tools at their disposal than do traditional print media writers. To keep bloggers happy and productive during FAM or press trips, please schedule some down time into the itinerary for us to write at night.
If you would like us to tweet, use Facebook or post pictures to Pinterest and Instagram during the trip, you’ll need to provide us with free WiFi at the hotel. Ideally, provide a list of your client’s destinations, restaurants and shops on Twitter. We might start talking about your destination before we step out of the car or off the airplane.
"apple iPhone case"

Travel Bloggers need different tools than print journalists.

5. Think Outside The Block

Still not sure how to reach out to travel bloggers? Ask if you can guest post on a blog. Or if that doesn’t sound like something you want to do, just leave a comment on a blog. Try re-tweeting posts by bloggers so they can see that you’re interested in what they have to say. You can also promote useful or interesting blog posts on social media.
These are all easy and inexpensive steps for you to improve the travel blogger’s experience, which, in turn, should create better media coverage for you and/or your client.
What am I forgetting? Please share your insider tips on how to work with media and travel bloggers.
Related Post:
Ryan Vogelsong photo courtesy David Watson. Steps photo courtesy Flickr Carson Ting.

Mohonk Mountain House, upstate New York: Luxury and Victorian loveliness

Monday June 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 1 Comment

"Mohonk Mountain House"

The Mohonk Mountain House, perched above a brilliant blue lake in the Shawangunk Mountains about 90 miles north of New York City, has continued to thrive for more than a century. Named the No. 2 resort spa in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler, the hotel was built in 1869 to cater to the wealthy crowd escaping the bustle of Manhattan or looking for respite in the midst of natural beauty. These days Mohonk combines what made it successful during the Victorian era with modern day amenities. The result is luxury, relaxation and fun that evokes memories of your grandparents’ childhood.

Grab a favorite book and read

There are nooks for curling up with a good book, parlor tables for board games and enough to do to keep any age busy.  Each month there are different activities and events. For example, June has a photographer’s week followed by a music week.

Along with making its name as a conference center retreat, Mohonk is where people living in the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York head for a special occasion. A meal or spa reservation or a grounds pass allows you to enjoy much of what the resort offers.

Playing tennis, taking in a carriage ride, or golfing are activities that cost money, but hiking is free. Trails run from easy to difficult. If you hike around the lake, stop at one of the historic gazebos to enjoy the property’s ambiance.  There are guided nature and bird walks for those who want company or help in identifying Mohonk’s wildlife.

Day and meal guests may also swim in the lake and rent a canoe or kayak.

If you do go, take time for the Barn Museum, one of the oldest and largest barns in northeastern United States. The museum has displays that chronicle aspects of American history dating back to 1880. The museum’s collection of 19th century horse-drawn vehicles includes: a water wagon, doctor buggies, and surreys. Hotel room at Mohonk Mountain House"Mohonk Mountain House"

Although the hotel isn’t open to day guests, feel free to visit the gift shop near the lobby. Those who are guests for meals can enjoy Mohonk’s sitting rooms, parlors and entertainment. The last time we were here, we went to a comedy act after dinner before heading home. Another time, we took advantage of the hiking trails and a dip in the lake.

A gazebo perch

Mohonk offers specials year round, so check the website before booking. In June, for example, there is a day spa and meal package.

Rooms range from standard ($340- $670 for single occupancy) to the Mountain View Suite ($2500-up to four guests). Room prices include all meals and most resort activities.  Each day tea and cookies are served in the afternoon.

Insider Tip: If you do go, make sure to read the displays about the history of Mohonk near the reception desk. One of the reasons why this part of New York is so pristine is because of the vision of the Smiley family who founded the resort. There are also displays about flora and fauna on the first floor. The hotel is truly a museum of sorts.

Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

Reservations: 800.772.6646
Spa Information: 877.877.2664
General Information: 845.255.1000

Photos (except for photo of standard room) courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Standard room photo, courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House.


Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Conference in Chicago, Illinois

Sunday August 2, 2009 at 7:07 AM | 6 Comments

Posted by Nancy D. Brown

Chicago photo by Nancy D. BrownI'm back from Chicago, Illinois after speaking about travel writing at BlogHer and attending the Travel Blog Exchange conference. TBEX '09 was organized by Debbie Dubrow, Kim Mance, Maren Hogan and a slew of behind the scenes volunteers and sponsors.

Jessie Voights at Wandering Educators put together this comprehensive recap.

The program kicked off with speed dating, followed with four informative and educational panels.

Creating a Lively and Successful Travel Blog
Sean Keener – BootsnAll Travel Network
Heather Poole - Gadling
Matt Kepnes – Nomadic Matt
Michael Yessis – WorldHum

This panel provided a behind-the-scenes look at some of the top travel sites and the motivation behind their travel blog. Tips for content were offered, as well as touching on what keeps them bloggging and how to work with blogger burnout.


Jamie Pearson and Pam MandelWorking with Public Relations
Leanne Jakubowski – Social Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort
Kristin Unger – Chicago Tourism Office
Angela Berardino - Turner PR
Pam Mandel – Nerd's Eye View
Jamie Pearson – Travel Savvy Mom

As an accredited PR professional myself, this panel held great interest to me. As a travel writer, I look to social media savvy PR pros for trip planning and press trips. This was a well balanced session including PR folks and travel bloggers who work with PR agencies. The PR people are looking for well connected travel writers. Surprisingly, it wasn't about site traffic, as much as it was about quality content in a niche market.  

On the flip side, the travel writers on the panel talked about the ethics of accepting travel products for review and press trips. They talked about etiquette for engaging PR offices, what PR agencies can and can't do for travel writers, and the importance of both an accurate summary of your site visitors and social media for determining your influence in the market.

Christopher Elliott and Wendy Perrin at TBEX ChicagoTravel Journalism vs. Blogging – is it all just writing?
Wendy Perrin – Conde Nast Traveler Magazine
Jen Leo – LA Times Daily Deal Blog
Chris Elliott – Nat'l Geographic Traveler's ombudsman and columnist for MSNBC.com
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates – Far-Sighted Fly Girl

As a print journalist and travel blogger, I'm often asked how the two writing techniques differ. While it is true that blogging has become more recognized as a legitimate journalistic outlet, it is not the same as having a Journalism degree. Wendy Perrin noted that her CN Traveler column had a three month lead time, while her Perrin Post blog is timely and up to the minute with deals, news, and tips. All of the panelists agreed that blogging is the new frontier in the travel industry and that we are learning as we go.

Podcasting and Video
Chris Christensen – Amateur Traveler
Mark Peacock – Travel Commons.com
Chris Elliott – Elliott.org
(moderated by Kim Mance of Galavanting.tv)

The web is maturing and multimedia is becoming a significant part of how people use the internet. We learned that 30-second to 1-minute videos are optimal. The different types of equipment used for podcasting were touched on, as well as syndicating your podcasts. Finally, we discussed quality video vs. quick video. Here's my YouTube video on Lost Luggage Tips from this Chicago trip.

TBEX 2010
Understandably, the organizers were happiliy exhausted with the results of the conference. When I asked for next years dates, I was told that BlogHer's dates were August 5-7, 2010 and their conference would be taking place in New York. Perhaps TBEX will again follow behind BlogHer? Check back for more details.

In speaking with fellow travel writers and bloggers, a session on traffic and monetization would prove popular. It was wonderful meeting so many fellow travel writers and bloggers in real life.