How to Get Invited on Press Trips

how to get invited on press trips
29 November 2010 Post Author:
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Hi there, I’m Anthony from TheTravelTart.com,…

….and I’m going to write about my experiences on how to land the odd travel press trip here and there – starting from scratch.

I’ve managed to score three press trips so far in 2010 – to Fiji, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, and with all of these, I was flown from the geographic ‘ass end of the world’ – Australia!

Considering I only started TheTravelTart.com in 2009 with completely nothing and sod all knowledge of how the internet worked, that’s not too bad!

This is what I’ve learned so far:

Don’t Be Afraid To Market Yourself

Many people tend to sell themselves short. When I mean market yourself, I don’t mean baffle everyone with BS. Get out there and promote what you can do for a company or tourist commission, and back it up with evidence!

For example, if you notice there is a travel exhibition on in your town, go along to it and promote yourself. Many travel and tourist exhibitions will almost certainly have tourism commission stands there. Go up and start chatting to someone at the stand, as they’re usually a public relations employee. Provide them a list of benefits of why they should take you on a press trip (I go into this in more detail later). If you focus on the benefits that you can deliver for them first, this will serve you well for later. This is how I scored one of my press trips.

Also, get yourself some business cards and hand them out! They’re relatively cheap, and I’ve found they’re a great icebreaker.

Start treating your travel blog like a business

Get friendly with people on Twitter. The people behind the Twitter accounts of travel related companies or tourist commissions are either the public relations (PR) employee of that company, or a PR firm representative. If they notice you, engage with them (or vice versa!). I’ve managed to score some free accommodation in exchange for a blog post just by saying hello!

Promote the Benefits of Being a New Media Type, Not Features.

It’s really important to distinguish between these two!
A feature of yourself may be that you use writing, photographs and video for your website. The benefits of this are the following:

  • Speed! Traditional media folk have to write the story, submit it to an editor, then it has to be approved, and then published. This can take months. If you really wanted to, you could post something about your experience that day, and start attracting traffic within hours.
  • If you use video, you can ‘show’ the experience, instead of ‘telling’ it! Newspapers or magazines cannot do this!
  • Value For Money – I normally do a ‘blogging campaign’. The number of posts per trip depends on how long you go for and what you experience, but as an indication I’ve done 15-20 posts for a press trip when I was away for 2 weeks. I schedule these out over a number of weeks. They don’t all have to be War and Peace either!
  • The biggest benefit and selling point of all is ‘targeted, long term internet traffic that has an indefinite shelf life’. For example, if someone is Googling ‘Adventure Travel in the United States’, someone is specifically looking for information on that topic. Also, because people are specifically searching keywords via search engines, this means this traffic is targeted to people interested in these topics, and hence, are more likely to take notice of the information.

The internet is a medium in its own right that works differently to the traditional print media, which has a limited shelf life in terms of exposure. The internet can be used to promote long term traffic to a site that is targeted to search keywords.

Traditional media has a “scattergun” approach. Sure, a newspaper or magazine that has a readership of thousands sounds great, but how many people is your travel article relevant for? It’s hard to tell.

I’ve been on press trips where I’ve been the only new media person. A one man band new media person can be a writer, photographer and video production person all at the same time!

Follow Up – Write a Report!

I’ve even been a big nerd, and have followed up these press trips with a report that details the internet traffic gained, video views, and Google Keyword positions. Some of the information I include are:

  • Previous Relevant Experience. If you done it before, show the results! Include screen dumps from Google Analytics, and how many pageviews you scored
  • Outline your traffic strategies – such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon etc)
  • Traffic statistics over a defined period.
  • Keywords targeted, their search volume (I use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for this – and your website’s Google position for these keywords.

For example, this is a table I insert in every report:
Related Post and Targeted Keyword Average Global Searches per Month on Google for Keyword (as of [date]) TheTravelTart.com
Google position for this keyword (as of [date])
Post:
Date Posted:
Keyword Targeted:

An example Table of Contents is shown and explained below:

  1. INTRODUCTION
    A brief description of what the trip was about. For example, an adventure travel press trip to a region.
  2. PREVIOUS RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
    Demonstrate your track record – and include some traffic statistics here.
  3. SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
    Demystify the internet, and tell them how you did your stuff! For example, how many blog posts you did, how you targeted keywords, SEO, how many videos you produced.
  4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
    Include the traffic stats for the trip, how many video views you had, and social media activities. I include a post example where you can show how multiple keywords are generating traffic, and that’s easy to do via Google Analytics.
  5. CONCLUSION
    A quick summary of the report.

Think of it this way – writing a report showing your results makes their job easy and provides further justification to send travel bloggers on future trips.

Other tips

Video Distribution:
If you use video, don’t just post to YouTube. Post to every video sharing site you can lay your hands on. This is easily done with an awesome site called Tubemogul. What you need to do is set up the logins for each video sharing site once. Then you upload your video to Tubemogul, and then press a button for Tubemogul to send the video to around 15 video sharing sites. Easy! Tubemogul even keeps video viewing stats in once place so you can also include this for reporting. Tubemogul is free for video uploads up to 100MB.

Use of Social Media:
A good tool to promote your Twitter Reach, use TweetReach. Type in your Twitter username, and see how many people your last 50 tweets reached!

Syndication:
I’m part of the Lonely Planet BlogSherpa program, where my content is syndicated on the Lonely Planet site. Plug these syndication sites as much as possible.

SEO:
Try and do some SEO for yourself so people can find you. For example, I rank high for the term ‘Australian Travel Blogger’. Try and do something like this for your travel niche. HINT: create a post that starts with these keywords you want to target. I’ve been approached for press trips via people coming across my website, so it’s good to have this base covered!

What’s the Bottom Line?

Being a new media person gives you a number of huge advantages. The internet is quantifiable, so use this to your benefit. You can provide traffic statistics, where traffic comes from, and even how long visitors stay on your site.

I’ve found the first press trip to be invited on is the hardest. However, if you can show that you are attracting targeted internet traffic, your chances of scoring that first one will be much higher. Once you have a track record and demonstrate evidence of producing long term internet traffic, this means people know you can get the job done – and you’ll be invited on more press trips!

If (and I think it’s a matter of when) travel bloggers on press trips become mainstream, we all win!

~ Anthony

What are YOUR tips for getting press trips? Share your advice!

26 Responses to “How to Get Invited on Press Trips”

  1. It’s like you were reading mind! I’ve been a obsessive traveler and researcher for years now–and I have just recently put my knowledge and education to good work. I would love to go on a press trip, and I am really happy to see you post this article and give such great advice. Thanks again!
    .-= Nicole Henderson´s last blog post: 5 Unique Beaches of the World =-.

  2. Very detail post, Anthony! Thank you for spelling it out. I love that you have included the report. It’s something I have never done before.
    .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog post: Passport with Purpose- Win 2-Weekend Night Stay at ANY Omni Hotels &amp Resorts =-.

  3. Natalie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great article Anthony. Especially liked the bit about reporting at the end. Canny that I should come across this post as well because yesterday I read about a tourism fair going off in my area. I had looked and then it would not be worth my time to go. I have changed my mind now. Booking my ticket definitely.
    .-= Natalie ´s last blog post: Walking The Ilhara Valley =-.

  4. Sandra McKenna
    Twitter:
    says:

    How exciting! Looking forward to following along on your adventure!!!!
    .-= Sandra McKenna´s last blog post: Turkey Sous Vide =-.

  5. ayngelina
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks so much for this, I was interested in how it’s done but had no idea where to start but you’ve shared a really nice framework.
    .-= ayngelina´s last blog post: Have you met Rogelio =-.

  6. Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    These are great tips. I hadn’t really considered all of the advantages that bloggers and new media in general offer to the travel industry. Time to start selling myself and my blog more!
    .-= Alison´s last blog post: Brussels Christmas Market – Plaisirs d’Hiver =-.

  7. Great article! I have found the social media is an important tool. I use Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and Whirl at various stops along press trips. It gives my hosts extra press and PR people thinking about hosting me in the future can see I am go the extra mile.

    It also really helps if you can offer additional outlets to your blog.

    Marcia

  8. Leslie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great post! I just discovered this and devoured your tips. I like the idea of a report to show value. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Leslie´s last blog post: The world’s most creative Christmas trees =-.

  9. Dave and Deb
    Twitter:
    says:

    Excellent tips Anthony. You have done amazingly well and we can all learn from your savvy business sense.
    We too use tweetreach. It is a valuable tool. One thing we do is take a snapshot of a twiiter account or hashtag before the press trip and then snapshots while on the Press Trip and throughout. That way you have something to show the client how many people they were reaching before you started tweeting their name, and how many people you reached once you started the campaign. The numbers can be very impressive and give you something to use to promote yourself for your next trip.
    Thanks for telling us about tubemogul. I am going to sign up today, what an amazing idea.
    This is a post for all of us to bookmark. Your tips are not only excellent for media trips, but also for collecting data to find potential sponsors.

  10. flip
    Twitter:
    says:

    excelletn post. thanks for sharing. i was surprised to get an invite once, a good presence in FB and Twitter helps too since pr people lurks the social media platforms. i’ll try to do your tips :-)
    .-= flip´s last blog post: Explore London the Right Way with a Few Handy Hints =-.

  11. Great tips, Anthony. As a newly serious travel blogger, I will take them to heart and work on trying to get some success in this area…soon, I hope ;)
    .-= Michael Hodson´s last blog post: Middlin’ to Average Moments in 2010 =-.

  12. Thanks for the tips! We just got back yesterday from our first press trip, so this information will come in handy when I send over the report to the Ministry of Tourism. It was very exciting to get our first yes after only 4 months of blogging! I look forward to more. :)
    .-= Ordinary Traveler´s last blog post: Photo of the Week- Quiet Reflection After a Good Surf =-.

  13. David
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks Anthony, these are some great tips to keep in my pocket! To go along with your suggestion to just say hi on Twitter, I’d also say that reaching out to hotel GMs and PR folk out of the blue has been pretty successful.

  14. Jools Stone
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great tips Anthony, thanks. I really like the one about optimising yourself. Rather chuffed that I seem to be No.1 result for train travel blogger at the moment! (Not that there’s much competition TBH!)
    .-= Jools Stone´s last blog post: Comment on Trains- Art and Eateries at London’s St Pancras Station by Ayngelina =-.

  15. pam
    Twitter:
    says:

    In general, I’d say this is solid advice. But I also think there’s a critical piece of information missing here: clarifying WHY you want to go on that press trip.

    This makes it clear why the press trip host wants you, but not what your goals are as a participant. I’m sort of suspicious of “getting on a press trip” as a goal in and of itself. Are you an expert or crazy enthusiast for the destination? That’s a good reason to want in. Do you have a specific story in mind? That’s a good reason to want in. Are you genuinely curious about the destination?

    “I can do all this awesome stuff for you!” is a great reason for the PR folks to want you on their trip, but then, you’re kind of selling yourself to them at the possible expense of your readers and/or integrity.

    I’m not saying it HAS to be that way, no siree, I’m a fan of the well run press trip and of a mutually beneficial end result where possible. I just think your motivation to participate should reach beyond “I want to go on a press trip.” WHY do you want to go on a press trip? Shouldn’t you have a really good answer to that, first?

  16. Anonymous
    Twitter:
    says:

    That’s incredibly useful. I am in the middle of trying to land a press trip in the UK and it’s my first time doing it, so obviously your article is a big help.

    Thanks!

  17. Sebastian
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks a lot Anthony. I’m already blogging for about 5 years but only recently started to do it more professional with own website, SEO management etc and trying to score a press trip to Scandinavia at the moment. Your post helped me a lot! Thank you very much!

  18. Thanks for the tips, considering that my background was travel, previous job was cabin crew. Now, no longer and I missed travelling desperately. I am a food blogger and a wannabe Anthony Bourdain. I never thought of these tips to get famil trips. I am still on blogspot and have only 11 friend connect and I think that is why no one wants to sponsor me. It is very depressing. I hate the Google Friend Connect thing.

  19. Kate
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice tips – treating yourself seriously and recognizing the value you can provide is important imo.

Trackbacks & Tweetbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Keith Jenkins, Dave&Deb Travel Duo, Aaron Christe, MidlifeRoadTrip, Richard Barrow and others. Richard Barrow said: How to Get Invited on Press Trips by @travelwriting http://ow.ly/1ad71G /via @sabai_sabai [...]

  2. [...] join the press trip to Thailand purely by luck (i.e. no action from my side), I found an article, How to Get Invited on Press Trips offering good advice for those [...]

  3. […] to other countries neighbouring civil disorder and violence. Once I have got more advice on getting invited on press trips I’ll shoot off an email to France and […]

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