This article continues a six-part series about how to start a travel blog. You’ll find other parts of this series here:
- Part 1 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Find Your Brand
- Part 2 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Social Media
- Part 3 for How to Start a Travel Blog – The Email Newsletter
- Part 4 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Monetizing Your Blog
- Part 5 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Using Webcasts to Grow Your Audience
In our final installment of the How to Start a Travel Blog or Website series, we are going to share some pointers on creating and promoting your personal brand so you can become an expert source!
Ever read a travel magazine or article and notice a comment from a travel blogger with advice or tips and wonder “how they’d do that?”. Well, I’m going to take the mystery out of it! Simply stated, editors and writers from major publications and new outlets are always looking what they call “expert sources.” This basically translates to someone who has expertise on a particular topic.
If you ask yourself what your an expert on, you may initially start doubting yourself, but look back on your travel history and draw from that. For me personally, I draw upon the types of travel experiences I have had as well as the destinations I have visited. Here are some ideas:
Travel experiences to consider: studying abroad, volunteering abroad, teaching English abroad, working abroad, backpacking, rail journeys and taking a foreign language classes abroad. Combine in your personal travel mantra (for us, do it while you’re young!) and you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a credible source.
Also consider places you have spent extensive time. Writers and editors will look for unique tips and advice. If you have been living in Paris and can offer advice on the best boutiques that aren’t in the guidebooks or the absolute best place to get a croissant, you will definitely catch their attention.
Now that you have established what you can bring to the table, you can get in touch with writers and editors in two ways:
- Leverage sites like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to get expert source requests delivered right to your inbox
- Get in direct contact with media outlets via email, phone and networking events
Regardless of your approach, you want to formulate a good email pitch to send over that sends enough information while still leaving them wanting more. Thinking about it this way, if you give all your advice and tips in the first email, they’ll have no incentive to contact you. Instead, take this approach:
- When possible, find an actual contact to email. Do your homework and make sure they could use an expert source in your realm.
- If you got a lead from a site like HARO, cite that in your first sentence. (Example: I saw your request for expert sources on Italy on HARO and would like to introduce myself.)
- Give them a taste of what you can offer them. (Using our Italy example: I have lived in Florence for the last 8 months and have been able to discover many local gems that you won’t find in guidebooks.) And offer the “what” too without giving the details — maybe you know about a fabulous gelato shop that just opened or a local vineyard that does picnics for tourists.
- Establish your credibility with both the topic and your expertise as they will fact check. If you have a blog, include the link. If you have written for another site or have been quoted in a publication, send that too. But, keep it brief and always leverage hyperlinks instead of attachments or long web addresses.
What happens next? If the writer or editor is interested in you, they’ll contact you pretty quickly. And often times, they are under a tight deadline so don’t be surprised if they want to talk the same day. Be sure to be reachable by email and phone and consider having Skype available in case you need to do a long distance call.
An extra bonus can come if they mention your travel blog or website as well! Be sure to pepper that into your pitch and also when you are speaking with the reporter.
If you have further questions, post them here!
Written by Kristina Wegscheider, co-founder of Do It While You’re Young.