I’ve massively avoided writing anything about blogging until now. Sure I’m a travel blogger but I don’t feel like I’m in the expert leagues to be able to advise other bloggers. I’m pretty much just making it up as I go along, which you know sums up my life really. But when I was invited on my first ever press trip I had absolutely no idea what to expect. And after searching through other articles online about press trips, there were only blog posts from the experts who go on a different press trip every month. They were talking about press trips like they were a dime a dozen and didn’t really help me out to be honest, I felt like I was going in blind. So this post is for the bloggers like me out there, about to embark on their very first press trip and want to know what to expect. I hope this helps, guys.
What is a press trip?
Press trips are normally run by tourist boards or general travel companies, to show journalists or bloggers why the country or city they represent is awesome. This is all in the hope that they will write about their experiences to give the destination more exposure and coverage so that other people want to visit.
How do I get invited onto press trips?
It’s pretty much the main question travel bloggers have after they’ve picked up the pace a bit on their blogs. How do you get to the next level? How do you get the fabulous free holidays? I’ve found three things that really work. Like I say, I’m no expert, but here’s my advice.
Firstly, go to travel blogger events and meetings. They’re pretty terrifying during your first few, I won’t lie, but there are normally brands there looking to work with bloggers and find some to go on their press trips. Just get chatting. Secondly, get in touch wth the tourist boards directly, express your interest and send them your media kit. Don’t expect to be invited onto trips right away but at least they know who you are. Lastly, find out which PR companies represent which tourist boards and get in touch with them too. They normally have a pool of bloggers in their repertoire that get invited onto trips, so again it just puts you in their sights.
I got in touch with all of the right people but I’m still not being invited on trips? What am I doing wrong?
This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot. You see these big-time bloggers travelling the world and getting paid to do it at that, but you’re working your arse off and can’t get a weekend away for free? A question I think you need to ask yourself is what am I offering them? Press trips are a two way street. They offer you a great trip full of travel experiences and lots of content for your blog but you’ve got to think about what you’re offering them. Things they will be looking at is the amount of hits you get on your blog, the social following you have, the levels of engagement you get both on your blog and your social platforms and who your followers actually are. Different companies will look at these in a different order of priority. Some hold stock in your social media following, not really caring how many hits you get, and some vice versa. If you’re not having much luck, try to work on improving these numbers if you can. For example I’ve worked hard to get a great Instagram following and now more brands want to work with me. Even though my blog hits are exactly the same. Go figure.
But what I think is really important is your blog demographic. My blog, for example,is all about backpacking and female travel. I’m not going to be invited on press trips to the Maldives or on any kind of luxury travel trip. You need to make sure that the companies and tourist boards you are targeting are aligned with your audience. Otherwise the company gets nothing out of it and you’re writing content that your followers don’t want to read.
What am I expected to deliver in exchange for press trips?
This will differ depending on the company, but make sure you ask this before you actually go on the press trip. Nail down exactly what they want you to do and don’t promise more than you can deliver. If anything promise less so that you over achieve and they’ll want to work with you again. Also, don’t offer them the world. More experienced bloggers with bigger followings actually charge to go on press trips. If you do everything for free, no-one’s ever going to pay you. This is something I only recently realised, the struggle is real. In my opinion, an average amount to offer them is a blog post and casual social media coverage.
What will I be expected to pay for on the trip?
Nothing. No seriously, nothing. The point is to wine and dine you so that you want to write about the destination and your experiences, so from the second you step on the plane you’re fully paid for. I know, it’s pretty cool. I felt like a total newbie on my first press trip wondering if I was expected to pay for anything out there whereas more experienced bloggers were asking the host for extra things! It’s strange at first but definitely an experience I could get used to! On my press trip to Spain I spent exactly ten pounds. And that was on a souvenir t-shirt for my boyfriend. Ahhhh I need to go on more press trips…
Who else will be on the press trip?
This differs on every press trip. Some are a mixture of bloggers and journalists and some are just blog trips. And the guest list is normally tailored to the trip. So in Spain I was cycling through Catalonia which meant half the bloggers were travel and half were all about cycling. I like that though, I like learning about other areas of blogging and how different it is.
Will there be time to blog whilst I’m on the trip?
Press trips are jam-packed. Fact. They want to show you as much as they possibly can so that there’s more for you to write about, so expect early starts, late nights and lots of time in a mini-bus travelling between locations. This means there’s not a whole lot of time to actually write anything whilst you’re on the trip. And the journeys are usually silent whilst everyone has they’re heads down trying to get content out. The host will normally hook you up with WiFi as much as possible and some bloggers bring their laptops with them, but if it’s less than a week-long trip I don’t really bother to be honest. I do all social media from my phone and schedule a blog post to go live whilst I’m away. Then write up the posts when I’m back. I’d rather just enjoy the trip.
Will I have an itinerary before I go?
Yes, the tourist board or company normally provides you with a list of what you’ll be doing on each day and where you’ll be staying. But it’s normally just a brief document. You kind of feel a bit like a sheep on the trip, being herded to the next location so prepare to just go with it.
Will the other people on my trip be bitchy or my new BFFs?
Luck of the draw, dude. It’s just like anything in life, it depends on the people you’re with. I think most travel bloggers are chill though, we all just want to explore the world and are open to meeting new people, which makes it a lot nicer. I can’t say the same for other areas of blogging, I’ve met some fashion and beauty bloggers that think they’re the tits and it’s not such an enjoyable experience. Like I said, luck of the draw.
What happens once I get back?
Make sure you email the host thanking them for inviting you on the trip and email them links to the blogs you’ve written once they go live. You want to make sure that they can see the value you’ve provided so you get invited on any trips they do in the future! I also like to tweet any of the hotels or restaurants I’ve featured so that they can also see the value. After all, they would’ve offered the meal or the accommodation to the tourist board so they need to know what they get out of it too! That’s just me though, it’s not compulsory, but you know it normally means more hits on your post. I’m just saying.
Okay, they’re my thoughts on going on your first press trip. I hope it helped a little! Like I said I’m no expert in this field, I just felt that there needed to be an opinion out there from someone just starting out on press trips. But if you have any questions I haven’t answered, please just ask and I will update the post! Happy travels, all.
What are your experiences of going on press trips? I’m keen to know so let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!