One debate that still exists in the world of travel editorial is the value of bloggers vs print media. While both are useful depending on the needs of the client and the desires of the reader, there are still some people out there who don’t realize the true power and reach of travel blogging. Luckily, Smarter Commerce gives bloggers a way to prove just how valuable they are in getting stories and information out into the world.
A Technological World
Travel writer, editor, novelist and creator of Europe for Visitors Durant Imboden believes the real competition isn’t between print media and bloggers, but between blogs that cater to travelers and blogs that cater to people who like to read about travel, as well as between sites with reasonable circulation and low-circulation personal travel blogs, and blogs that have an “editorial media” focus and those that provide content for social media activity.
“The travel-media landscape is far more fragmented and “nichified” than it was even five or 10 years ago,” Imboden explains. “Whether a given type of publication, Web site, or blog is a good match for a marketing or PR campaign depends on what audience the the marketers or PR people are trying to reach and on the goals of the campaign.”
While I personally still believe there is competition between print media and online bloggers, I do agree with Mr. Imboden that a lot of it has to do with a client’s needs. That being said, many clients are just only starting to realize the potential technologically-savy bloggers have to reach a wide audience. Many travelers are now using blogs and social media to plan their trips, as well as relying on some of their favorite bloggers to give them vacation planning advice.
It’s up to us as online media journalists to take the opportunities we’re given, whether it be a press trip, article write-up, campaign or partnership, and apply Smarter Commerce to the way carry out the transaction. If you put the focus on the customer, or reader, and think about what would be beneficial for them to get out of the experience, you’ll have a much easier time sharing wisely, not to mention you will have more success as a blogger.
How Bloggers Give Themselves As Edge With Smarter Commerce
In my personal opinion, bloggers need to prove to the people they are working with, whether it be editors, public relations representatives, travel clients or your readers, that you’re a professional travel expert with important skills. One edge that bloggers have over traditional print media is their ability to harness the powers of Smarter Commerce. As bloggers, we don’t just type up stories and send them to an editor. For the most part, we’re one-person companies acting as writers, editors, social media experts, photographers, partnership coordinators, website designers and company managers.
Yes, we can do it all. The trick is, doing it well. Share only when something is relevant and interesting. Put the social back into social media and make your followers feel appreciated and heard. Tell stories that others will find informative, worthwhile and entertaining. And use all your available resources and channels to get the word out.
One particular way press trip coordinators are harnessing bloggers’ Smart Commerce powers are by adding a tweet-up element to trips. Press trips are assigned hash tags, for example, #WeVisitMexico or #VisitJordan, so that readers can follow the trip of the blogger on Twitter and Instagram in real time as well as continue sharing even after the trip has ended. That being said, it’s up the blogger to not only share, but also share in an interesting manner.
Here are what other travel bloggers and industry professionals had to say:
“I was working on a story about the best kids events in NYC and had a tough time getting more info via the contacts on a film festival’s site. I only made my deadline after tweeting at them and receiving a different email address to reach out to from their social media person. I’ve also used Twitter to expedite the process of getting connected to the right person at big organizations (versus waiting for someone to see my email in a general info@ inbox)”
“Bloggers can standout by doing a few things. 1) Look professional. Make sure you have (myblog).com, with email addresses (myname)@(myblog).com and a personal press kit. 2) Everything is about nichification: being a generalist barely helps anyone, unless you can have a voice that’s immediately identifiably as different. While you’re potentially limiting yourself to a smaller segment of the market, you are also able to better stand out as a leader in what you do. 3) Know and craft an identifiable brand. One way to easily do that is via a logo. Many a time, I have given someone my card with Cartoon Roni on it and they say “Ohhh! I know you from Twitter!”
-Roni Weiss, Owner & Founder at RW Social
“In a world that has fostered instant gratification, bloggers can use social media tools like Twitter or Instagram can give tourism boards and companies an edge for showing the “now.”
-Erica Kuschel, blogger at Over Yonderlust
What Are Your Thoughts?
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#spon: I have been invited by IBM to share my honest thoughts and experiences around Smarter Commerce, and as part of this collaboration, IBM may provide me with product, access, content or other forms of remuneration. All opinions are expressly my own.