As I watch the snowflakes coming down outside the window of my cozy home office, I’m reminded of how my travel-blogging career is much like a snowball. You see, the more I write about trips I take, the more momentum I gain in sponsored trips (or FAM trips), social media following, and readership.
Here’s an example of how it works:
Last year I attended a major consumer travel show. I applied for a press pass. It was easy, nothing more than filling out a short online form with a little information about my blog. Not only did my husband and I get into the show at no charge—a half-hour earlier than the general public was allowed to enter—but we were also invited to come out a day early and tour the area. We ate meals at top restaurants, spent the night in an upscale hotel, and even got to experience indoor skydiving… all in exchange for writing articles on my blog.
At the show, I chatted up representatives from destinations I wanted to visit. As a result, I was invited on several press trips, including a couple of nights at a posh ski resort. My husband was invited to come along, too.
I wrote articles about the travel show and the places I visited and promoted them on social media. I also sent the article links to my hosts.
Two weeks ago I heard back from the travel show public relations folks asking if I’d interview a few exhibitors who will be at this year’s show and write a short article about it for my blog. I interviewed three exhibitors, and I’ve been invited to visit all three areas.
So my initial contact with the travel show folks resulted in seven press trips.
Of course, your destination hosts want you to have a good social media following and readership. One way of growing your following is by joining Facebook travel blogger groups. Actively participate in group online conversations. Follow other bloggers on Twitter and Instagram, and they will often follow you back. And their followers may also follow you. It won’t be long before your social media following grows exponentially—the snowball effect again.
Readership goes hand-in-hand with your social media following, so as your social media platforms grow, you’ll see a rise in your blog’s page views, increasing the likelihood of more press trip invitations.
I continue to be amazed at the travel opportunities my blog has brought me in the two-and-a-half years since I started it. My “snowball” of trip offers has grown so large that I’ve had to turn some of them down.
Here are a few tips on getting press trip invitations:
Be reliable. Write whatever articles you have agreed to—or more—and promote them on social media. Most multiple-day press trips include visits to several attractions. Write individual articles about the places you visit instead of one quick roundup.
Be consistent with your blog posts, whether you publish them weekly, several times a week or daily. Staying away from publishing for a while will make you look unprofessional.
Re-publicize articles on social media occasionally and stay in touch with your hosts, and you may be invited for return visits to your favorite destinations.
Follow the destinations you want to visit on social media, commenting on and sharing their posts before approaching them about a possible visit.