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From free meals, fun-filled activities, and complimentary hotel rooms… to all-expenses-paid press trips. These are the perks that entice travel lovers to become travel writers. 

In 2015, I enjoyed delicious five-course meals in Spain, swam next to 40-foot whale sharks in Mexico, stayed in a contemporary suite overlooking the fjord in Norway, and cruised around the stunning Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia.  

So how do I get these incredible, expense-paid perks? Why, I make myself irresistible to the tourism council, hotel manager, tour operator, or whoever I’m targeting for the perk.  

As we talked about yesterday, one of the ways to be irresistible is to show you are professional. First, you join a reputable membership organization like the ITWPA. Second, you work on getting more by-lines.  

Today, I’d like to introduce a third tool—one you may not have heard of. It’s called a “media kit” or “press kit.”

Having a well-presented media kit will instantly make you look more professional. I created my own to match my website, but there are a lot of great-looking free templates online, too. Alternatively, you could hire someone to prepare your media kit (you may find inexpensive help at Fiverr and Freelancer).

A couple of months ago, I became aware of a potential bucket-list trip – an adventure cruise in Alaska. I’d never worked with the PR agency before and relied almost exclusively on my media kit to sell me. It did. I’m going next summer, as one of just two journalists on that trip that would have cost me $5,500 not including flights.  

So, what do you put in your media kit? In short, the things that make you look good (this is different for everybody). You want to best highlight your own expertise – the things that will make you stand out. Here are some options…

• A well-written opening bio describing you and your niche

• A list of your membership organizations

• A link to your writer’s website or travel blog

• By-lines from impressive publications

• Good blog analytics

• Your influence, if applicable, i.e. stats from social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. List only the ones that make you sparkle

• Quotes from editors and tourism boards expressing their satisfaction in working with you

• A professional head-shot

• Contact information

Whether you’re just starting out or have already established yourself and want to move up to better press trips, having a professional media kit will help move you along toward accomplishing your goals.

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