Wondering how to get paid to travel as a blogger or influencer?
The short answer to this:
Of course, it’s not always easy to land press trips — particularly paid ones — especially if you’ve never gone on one before.
Luckily, this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast can help.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- A four-step strategy for landing paid press trips (ethically)
- What you can do to get found by tourism boards and hotels
- How to successfully pitch brands for press trips
- How to get chosen for press trips even if you don’t have a huge audience
- And more!
Get Paid To Travel Through Press Trips – Podcast Episode Audio
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To help you start getting paid to travel, I’m sharing 31 of my favorite influencer networks. You can click here to grab the list or click the graphic below.
I’m an affiliate for both of these networks and have landed high-paying opportunities through each.
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A 4-Step Strategy For Landing Paid Press Trips: Episode 8 Transcript
Now, as a full-time travel blogger and a blog coach, I get asked this age-old question all the time:
How do you make money travel blogging?
The short answer is I diversify my revenue streams.
- I make money through products and services, like blogging courses and NYC photo tours.
- I run display ads on my site.
- I work with affiliate partners.
- I work with brands on paid campaigns.
- And, of course, the topic of this podcast episode, I work with tourism boards mainly and hotels and tour operators on paid press trips.
I took my first press trip in 2011. If you would’ve told me then that one day I could get paid to go on one of these, I would never have believed it.
But today, you truly can get paid to travel.
In this episode, I’m going to teach you a simple four-step framework to make this work for you.
And, really important, I’m gonna show you how to do it ethically and authentically.
One thing that many travel bloggers get wrong is that a press trip is not a free vacation. When you go on a press trip, you truly owe it to yourself, to your community, and to the trip host to not only create content that is high quality but that is authentic.What is your best tip for showing off your authentic self in your blog and social media content? #TPTBPodcast #workingwithbrands
The main problem and the reason why I wanted to infuse ethics into this episode so much is that today travel bloggers, content creators, and influencers can be really inauthentic when it comes to sponsored campaigns.
I see so many travel bloggers and Instagrammers sharing photos that really are just selling themselves and completely forgetting their audience as well as the place that they’re in.
This is not what I want for you.
Whether you are trying to land a paid press trip or you have no interest in press trips, you always want to be your authentic self.
In the long-run, this is what is going to help you grow your blogging business no matter what revenue stream you pursue.
I also want to add a quick opinion here:
I love working with brands and tourism boards — heck, I teach courses on working with brands and speak at conferences on the topic.
That being said, I would not make this your only revenue stream.
Well, because if working with brands and going on paid press trips is the only way you’re making money then you are putting 100% of your income into someone else’s hands.
You’re letting someone else dictate how much you get paid and when. And if there is a month where you don’t land a campaign you may not be able to pay your rent or you might become desperate and work with a brand that really isn’t a fit.
So, in short, working with brands — when done the right way — can be incredible and lucrative, but always diversify your revenue streams.
Okay, so back to today’s strategy.
Free List Of Influencer Networks
Before I dive into the framework, though, I want to direct your attention to the show notes for this episode where I’ve linked a list of 31 of my favorite influencer networks that will help you land paid press trips and brand campaigns more easily.
And I’ll wait for you to go grab that, as I’ll actually be talking about how to utilize these at the end of this episode.
Let’s dive in.
The Best Mindset For Working With Brands
Now, when working with brands and tourism boards, you really want to make sure that you are always in a place where you’re comfortable, saying “no” to partnerships and campaigns that are not a fit.
The other thing is, you can also re-pitch them.
Recently, I was pitched by a tourism board to go on a press trip. I’m a solo female travel blogger, so it was a solo trip to attend a music event.
The event sounded great, but I knew it wasn’t the best fit.
So, I did some homework. I looked at their blog, I checked out their social media, I tried to get a sense of what types of stories they were trying to push, and I replied back:
“The timeframe you’re looking for works, I would love to attend. This sounds great, but the story angle isn’t a great fit for my audience. But I see that you’re also pushing hiking, and I cover hiking.”Received a #brandcollaboration proposal that wasn't a fit? Here is how to repitch the brand! #TPTBPodcast
Or whatever it is for you, you can give them a better idea.
They’re going to really appreciate that you’re dedicated to sharing with your audience the stories that resonate with them.
Step #1: Grow A Community
Before you say, “Oh, Jessie, that’s such a fluff tip,” hear me out.
Community is different than traffic.
There is a great Nelson Mandela quote that I absolutely love and it goes, “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”
When you get really clear on your blog’s greater purpose, incredible things can happen.'Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.' - #NelsonMandela #TPTBPodcast
The easiest way to start doing this is to pinpoint a mission.
There’s a simple template I always love sharing and it goes, “I help [your audience] do [how you help].
Maybe it is “I help female travelers take their first solo trips with confidence.”
Once you have this mission, there is a real reason for people to jump on board and be a part of what you’re doing.
Step #2: Pinpoint Your Culture Add
Your culture add is that thing that makes you uniquely you.
Now, remember, with this, we are continuing to add value to your blog brand so that those straight numbers don’t matter as much.
Really think about your unique skills and expertise. If you have an alternative viewpoint, any hobbies or passions that can set you apart.
For example, I have a friend who is a wellness travel blogger.
She is able to set herself apart because she’s a raw vegan chef and a trained shaman.
I mean, can you imagine how tourism boards must feel when they look at her versus another wellness travel blogger?
She really stands out.Step #2 shares a great example of how you can #WorkWithBrands even if you don't have a huge audience! #TPTBPodcast
Whenever you’re trying to land a brand partnership or paid press trip, you really want to be thinking about what you can bring to the table that the brand can’t themselves.
She really had something that the brand can’t bring themselves.
Quite honestly, neither can most other wellness travel bloggers.
A Note On Copycat Content
Here is another reason to try to stand out:
Copycat content is becoming an issue for brands.
In fact, I’ve heard from a few friends in public relations that they’ve had this issue where they’ll go to the brands they work with to show them some potential influencers to collaborate with, and they’re unable to really explain to the brand what the difference between those influencers is since they’re really posting the same content.Are you guilty of copycat content as a #blogger or #influencer? #TPTBPodcast
I know that swing photo in Bali and that hot air balloon photo in Turkey makes for some beautiful imagery, but I challenge you:
Really consider what your unique blog brand is and how you can share your brand story on Instagram.
I promise you do not need to wear a maxi dress while hiking a mountain.
Step #3: Find Alignment
Once you do steps one and two, it’s going to be so much easier to find the right tourism boards to pitch for paid press trips.
It’s gonna be a lot clearer to them why you are worth them paying.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say I’m a destination, and I’m trying to promote a new yoga retreat.
There is Blogger A. She is a certified yoga instructor and her whole blog is about showcasing incredible yoga retreats around the world, but she only has a couple of thousand page views per month.
Then, there’s Blogger B. She doesn’t have such a clear mission, but she has 100,000 page views per month. I would be much smarter to work with the smaller Blogger A because even though my yoga retreat is going to get in front of fewer people, they will all be the people I’m trying to target — as in, the people who might book a yoga retreat.Love the example in Step 4 here. It really shows that numbers aren't everything when #WorkingWithBrands as a #blogger or #influencer!
That’s why this matters so much more than just straight numbers.
This step really boils down to understanding your audience, their problems, their pain points, their demographics, and what they’re interested in — as well as the needs of the tourism board, or the brands, or the hotel that you’re pitching.
A Story About Failed Pitching
Let me tell you a little story:
I have a PR friend who represents a tourism board that targets baby boomers.
To be quite honest, they’re not very active on social media. They probably post to Facebook like once a month.
She always laughs because there are so many millennial travel bloggers who pitch her to do Instagram takeovers and big Facebook live campaigns.
It makes the bloggers and influencers look foolish, so you really wanna do your homework with this.
Step #4: Join Influencer Networks
Now, I really think you’ll like step four of this framework.
I want to let you know that you don’t always have to do all the pitching.
That’s where those influencer networks come in.
Remember, I said I have a free list of 31 must-join influencer networks?
Basically, what you do is you create your profile, you connect your accounts.
Then, the network does the work for you matching you with paid opportunities that make sense, and they find that alignment for you. So, it’s really, really awesome in that way.
Make sure that you grab that list and you join as many as you possibly can. The more you join, the more opportunities that you’ll have.
Being Proactive With Pitching
And if you want to be proactive and do the pitching yourself?
Then I highly recommend choosing tourism boards, hotels, and tour operators that you align with, considering what you have to offer that could benefit them, and making it clear in your pitch.Here is how to make your pitch stand out when pitching #brands as a #blogger or #influencer!
Keep in mind that while this can be numbers like high pageviews and a solid Instagram following, it could also be skills like photography and video.
It could be knowledge such as having a sommelier certification and pitching a wine region. Or maybe it’s a really clear and specific audience, such as pitching a surf school if your audience is surfers.
A Final Tip For Working With Tourism Boards & Brands
Always be focusing on how you can build a relationship.
This gets said a lot but is rarely done.Wow! Such a great tip for #WorkingWithBrands as a #blogger or #influencer -- especially if you want to land a long-term partnership!
For instance, let’s say you want to work with a specific tourism board.
Before pitching them, you might subscribe to their newsletter to keep up with what they’re trying to promote. Or, you might follow them on social media and interact with them.
I’ve actually been chosen for press trips before because I was already interacting with a tourism board on social media, and they saw me as a long-term investment since I wouldn’t just take the money and go silent after the campaign.
Quite honestly, most things that could be looked at as transactions in your blogging business — your brand partners, your customers, your affiliate partners — will become more beneficial to you once you view them as relationships.
On that note, I hope you enjoyed this episode.
I hope you found it valuable.
Remember to grab that free list of influencer networks, it’ll really help you start becoming more visible to brands and tourism boards.
Finally, make sure you subscribe so you get notified when future episodes publish.
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