Article by Nancy D. Brown
Often times I’m asked to speak with hotels, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and brands about how to work with travel bloggers and travel writers. Most recently, I’m speaking on this topic with the Dude Ranchers’ Association at their annual convention. I thought I’d put together a blog post about the topic.
What is a blogger? How do I find a travel blogger? What type of blogger do I want to work with? These are a few of the questions you might be asking yourself when it comes to working with travel bloggers to promote your destination, dude ranch, hotel, luxury resort or brand.
Introduction to blogging
A blog is an online journal that may be found on the web. Ideally, a blog will focus on a particular topic with the blogger positioning herself as an expert in that field. Within the competitive travel blog sector, it is important for travel bloggers to focus on a particular niche. Here at Nancy D. Brown, we focus on insider travel tips, things to see and do for the first time visitor, as well as luxury hotel, resort and travel gear reviews.
Writing Horseback blog
My equine blog, Writing Horseback,offers a guide to horseback riding vacations, ranch and lodging reviews. Writing Horseback is an example of a niche blog, as it specializes in horses and equestrian lodging reviews. To my knowledge, I’m one of the few writers to focus on equine travel.
What do bloggers do?
Anyone can create a blog and call themselves a blogger. In fact, you may already have a blog featured on your website. A blog may be written by you, your employees, or a freelance writer.
Speaking as both a travel blogger and a professional freelance writer for print publications, I’d say there are a few differences between a blogger and a journalist. This observation is not meant to create a rift between bloggers and journalists. Rather, I’m offering my personal opinion as someone who works both sides of the media fence.
First person perspective – most blogs are written from the bloggers’ point of view and include personal opinions.
Fact-checking and the use of quotes. While some blogs do employ fact checking editors, typically newspapers and magazines tend to fact check quotes and verify sources.
How to work with travel bloggers
I wrote a post in 2010 about how to work with travel bloggers. While a lot of the information is still relevant, I have a few new suggestions to add.
Please treat us as professionals. I don’t consider a press trip or visit to review your property as a vacation. Travel writing and blogging is how I make my living. I love what I do and have benefited greatly from my journalism degree, but travel blogging and freelance writing is not the road to riches.
Don’t offer press trip invitations as a contest. You wouldn’t ask your dentist to “like” your Facebook page or expect his friends to vote for him in order to win the right to work on your teeth would you? Please don’t ask me to compete for a space on your press trip – do your research, find a select group of bloggers that match your criteria and invite them to your ranch, resort or destination.
Let’s work together. Your job is to run a successful ranch, resort or brand campaign, yet you are expected to be a marketer, social media expert and blogger.
My job is to write about travel experiences to compel readers to explore this resort, ranch or destination for themselves. I am a visual storyteller and content creator. Remember the Jerry Maguire movie quote, “help me, help you.”
What tips do you have for finding and working with bloggers? Share your insider tips and comments below.