Welcome to another installment of Ask The Editor!
This month a travel blogger I know personally called and asked me why he/she (I won’t say which, I’m trying to keep this anonymous since it involves some constructive criticism) has been declined by several PR companies and destinations for press trips.
It was frustrating just being ignored by the decision-makers, but when they started proactively asking to be included on press trips, getting declined was enough to make him/her consult me.
Q. I’ve been a travel blogger for a couple of years and still can’t seem to get invited on press trips – what gives?
A. Oh dear. I’ll be as gentle as I can be, because I really enjoy reading your blog, but with even a quick glance it’s easy to see why you’re not getting the free trip invites.
How can I put this…..your blog is…umm…vulgar? Yes, vulgar. You sprinkle your posts with curse-words like they were jimmies on an ice-cream cone. You use them as verbs, adjectives, adverbs, perjoratives, and sometimes as punctuation.
That tends to be a huge turn-off to potential press trip sponsors (tourism boards, CVBs, hotel and resort chains), professional PR companies, and potential advertisers. Really huge.
Most destinations don’t want the F-word anywhere near a mention of their property.
Most professionals in the business of promoting Travel find it offensive and will run away – fast – from connecting their clients with your blog, worried NOT that you’d write a negative review (honest reviews accompanied by the opportunity for a property manager to respond are always respected) BUT that you’ll write an expletive filled rant about how “effing horrible” a place was because they wouldn’t give you unlimited free booze.
Oh yes, the booze-filled rants. There’s that too. Did you realize that most of your blog posts are about your wild escapades and partying habits? Sure, they’re about a place that you visited, and yes that makes you a travel blogger, but they’re about the crazy-alchohol-induced-fun time you had with your friends, not about what other visitors to that place might be interested in.
Yeah, I know – your friends love it and think you’re a hoot! I do too, really….I laugh at every one of your posts! But this isn’t about adoring you, it’s about answering your question honestly.
And I know you said you’re just “keeping it real”, and no doubt it is real for you. But what’s ‘real’ for you isn’t necessarily ‘real’ for the majority of the traveling public. And it’s also why you don’t get invited on press trips.
SO you just need to decide what your goal is.
Do you want your family, friends, and a small circle of other travel bloggers to love your wild tales of your free-spirited adventures?
If so, just re-label yourself as a humor blogger and carry on. You may not get press trips, but there are loads of highly successful humor blogs out there that use language that would make even YOU blush – a great example is The Bloggess (whom I also adore) – embrace the style and go with it!
Or do you want to be take seriously as someone who promotes travel, who will be appealing to travel industry PR firms, advertisers, and trip sponsors?
If that’s what you want, clean up your writing a bit (including your spelling and grammar!) and focus on blogging about travel, not blogging about you.
Either way I’ll still read (and love) your blog, honestly.
How do you feel about expletive-laced posts? Share your opinion!