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])
An example Table of Contents is shown and explained below:
A brief description of what the trip was about. For example, an adventure travel press trip to a region.
- PREVIOUS RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Demonstrate your track record – and include some traffic statistics here.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
What are YOUR tips for getting press trips? Share your advice!