Are you a travel blogger/ influencer? Do you want to know how to get sponsored posts and find brands and companies to partner with? These days everyone seems to be trying to sell the dream of traveling the world for free staying in luxury hotels. While it is totally possible it isn’t easy. If you are a blogger struggling to secure your first sponsored post don’t worry I was exactly where you were. I remember how disheartening it was to be constantly rejected or ignored after spending hours emailing people.
How to get sponsored posts as a travel blogger
It’s not easy starting out as a blogger and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. So if you are looking to make quick bucks or bag yourself a few free nights in posh hotels this probably isn’t for you. There are far quicker and probably easier ways to make money than this! If you are in it for the long haul and ready to put the work in now to reap the rewards later then read on for my guide to getting sponsored posts.
Here are some things to think about before you can secure sponsored posts
Is your blog good enough?
I want you to take a look at your blog and all of your social media channels. And answer this question honestly. Is my blog good enough to secure sponsored posts?
If you aren’t sure or you think you can do better then do the following:
- Ask some friends to take a look and give you some feedback
- Run your website through https://nibbler.silktide.com/ it will give you a report scoring your website out of 10 on different aspects.
- If you think your site could be a little slow then do a free Website Speed Test. Don’t forget that the website’s speed depends on your hosting provider. In that case, low-Speed Test results may be a signal that you need better web hosting.
- Get a free 5-minute video of a real person using your website and giving you feedback. Be prepared to hear some hard truths. It’s not always easy to learn what people really think about your website but how can you improve if you don’t know the truth.
If after all of that you realize you need to do some work on your blog go and do it. If you know your blog needs a complete overhaul then do a course to help walk you through and keep you on track.
Are your social media profiles strong, well branded and showcase what you do?
Things to look for are:
- Consistency- Are your profile and cover pictures all the same? How about your description? Is it consistent and packed full of keywords?
- Do you post regularly on all of your live channels? If you have abandoned Twitter then close it. There is nothing worse than an abandoned account, it makes brands mistrustful of you. It’s better to not have an account than having an abandoned one.
Do you have a good social following?
This is a measure of your social influence and what potential partners are going to look for. Yes, you may have lots of followers on Instagram. Are that following engaged? This is possibly more important than your number of followers if you have 40k followers on Instagram but you never get more than 100 likes and no comments this is a red flag to brands.
If your social media profiles aren’t up to scratch then before going any further spend some time making sure they are.
If you are happy with your blog and social media channels then you need to look at your content…
Can you prove what you can do?
When reaching out to brands it’s better to have examples to be able to send them to prove your work. For example, if you are pitching a hotel review then ideally you want to be able to send them a hotel review you have already done. Same goes for a product review, a tour review etc.
These first reviews may need to be done at your own expense. But having good quality reviews with strong images and a decent engagement to be able to send with your pitch is essential to help build trust and demonstrate the quality of your work.
Ok, so you should now have a strong blog, excellent social media channels with great engagement and some strong examples of your work.
Do you really know your audience?
Understanding Google Analytics
I religiously keep a weekly count of all of my data stars from all of my social media channels and google analytics. As well as monitoring my views and users I record the gender, age, and countries of my users. To be able to pitch to brands and companies you need to know who your audience is.
And even more importantly you need to know that your audience is their potential customers and be able to prove it!
Having worked on both sides of this, both as a travel influence and being in charge of marketing for a tour company, I can’t even begin to tell you how many travel bloggers I have rejected for a sponsored tour because of this.
If you are a budget traveler specializing in backpacking and thrifty travel, with a demographic made up of 18-25-year-old men you are wasting your time pitching to luxury resorts and spas.
Know who your audience is, be realistic and only approach companies that will suit your brand and appeal to your audience.
Do you have a media kit?
Why create a media kit? And what to put in it?
As a marketing manager for a tour company I always asked for this from any blogger who contacted me. If I didn’t get one, that told me they weren’t professional and it would be a big red flag. It also made my life so much easier when making a decision if we wanted to work with someone.
Your media kit needs to sell you:
- Who are you?
- What is your mission?
- Who are your audience?
- What is your reach?
It doesn’t need to be fancy and you need to be able to edit it quickly as your social reach changes. But this is your calling card and the key to making you look professional. Make sure it’s a PDF and that it’s not a huge file if you have images in it.
Once you have got your media kit you need to go through and find the companies and brands you want to work with. I like to keep them all on a spreadsheet with as much detail as I can.
I then create a template.
I NEVER send out blanket emails. I always personalize it to each company making sure I drop in some information about the company I have found on their site.
People know when you are just trying your luck and sending emails on mass. Personalizing each email may take a little more time but it will make a difference and you are much more likely to get positive responses. I always follow up 3-4 days later to just bump up your email and remind them of your offer.
Don’t ever write the word free in your email
This is the most important thing I can share with you. For real, don’t ask for a FREE tour or a FREE night at their hotel. It isn’t free if you are working for it. Change your mindset. You are not asking for something for free, you are offering an exchange of services. By talking about free things you are actually undervaluing not only yourself but all of us travel influencers out there trying to earn a living doing this.
I see myself as a travel professional. In my email subject headline, I put “potential partnership opportunity with Claire’s Itchy Feet”. Because that is exactly what I am offering. My marketing and influence skills in exchange for the service they are offering. I am clear about my value and what I can offer them. That is why I am so successful at securing partnerships. Because I understand my value and I am professional in my approach.
- Make sure your blog is as good as it can be
- Check all of your social media platforms to make sure they are consistent and you have good engagement and regular updates.
- Make sure you have strong examples of your work to send out
- Know your audience
- Only pitch to companies that fit with your audience and brand
- Create yourself a media pack or outsource to a professional
- Create a spreadsheet with details of all of the brands and companies you want to approach
- Have a template pitch but make sure you personalize each individual email
- Never ask for anything for ‘free’ you are a professional. This is an exchange of professional services.
- If you haven’t heard back in 3-4 days send a follow-up email
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This post was proofread by Grammarly