The travel blogging world can sometimes seem an overwhelming one, especially if you don’t have a huge following on social media. In such a competitive industry it is easy to think that brands won’t be interested in working with those who only have a small following. But all that is changing with the rise of the micro-influencer. It’s not necessary to be a full time blogger or have 10k+ followers on social media to make an impact in the travel blogging world. Micro-influencers are valuable to brands, their followers are loyal and relate to those with a smaller following. These powerful relationships often bring a lot more engagement and conversation compared to someone who has millions of followers, making the micro-influencer a valuable asset to brands. Read on for my top tips on how to work and collaborate with brands as a micro-influencer from pitching to completing a project and everything in between.
‘Micro-influencers are valuable to brands, their followers are loyal and relate to those with a smaller following.’
Firstly as I’ve already mentioned, it’s not necessary to be a full time blogger. There are so many successful bloggers out there who work a 9-5 at the same time as running a blog and working with brands. I work part time as a flight attendant, run a travel blog and have a two-year-old daughter. I don’t have a huge amount of followers, massive DA, or thousands of hits a day on my website but I have ongoing work with some amazing travel brands. I get regular emails from companies about press trips and sponsored posts and also have regular freelance writing work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a struggle at times to keep up the blogging side but being so busy with other commitments only makes me want to work harder to keep it going.
Be confident in yourself. If it helps, start with smaller companies. When pitching an idea include your social media stats, give examples of previous successful brand collabs and any stats that might be useful such as hits and engagement.
If you don’t have any stats or engagement numbers to share just show your worth. Let the company know how much you love their product and how you’d like to work with them. Explain why you think you are the right person for the job, your niche, and most importantly what you can do for them. Give them an awesome idea they can’t refuse. It might sound obvious but make sure the brand fits your niche. For example my travel blog is very outdoorsy, I’m into glamping, campervanning, surfing and outdoor adventures. When I’m pitching to companies I make sure they fit in with what my readers want to see. It took me a long time to decide on my niche, I actually have more than one and that’s ok. Mention your assets, if you are a trained photographer put it in your pitch, if you are a pro at filming and editing, attach examples. I work with my husband on certain projects; he is a photographer and videographer. When I pitch I mention how we work together and send examples of past brand collaborations.
‘Explain why you think you are the right person for the job, your niche, and most importantly what you can do for them. Give them an awesome idea they can’t refuse.’
Make it work for you, if you are going away to a destination contact a tour company or the tourist board. If I’ve pitched to a travel brand, for example a tour group or hotel instead of a fully comped rate I may get offered a discounted rate in exchange for social media coverage. If it’s a trip you are planning to do anyway then it could be a fantastic opportunity. Remember just because someone one has a lot of followers it doesn’t mean a campaign will be more effective.
Once you’ve bagged yourself a partnership make sure you can deliver what’s required and on time. Companies will often send out a contract listing their requirements. If you have any queries now is the time to bring it up, in my experience being transparent is the best way. It’s never good to get halfway through a project and realise you misunderstood what was required or you can’t deliver everything in time.
I always send an email once the project is completed thanking the company for the partnership and keep in contact with them, especially if I want to work with them again.
Press trips are fantastic experiences but you are not often paid for your time. Sometimes you’ll have to cover your own flights too. Again make it work for you and don’t take on something that will be too much work. That said I’ve loved all the press trips I have been on, they are great opportunities to experience new places and activities you might not normally do. They are also fantastic for meeting other bloggers and influencers. I have learnt a lot about the industry from people I’ve met during press trips. I still stay in contact with a lot of them too.
Making and maintaining relationships
Maintain contact with brands you’ve worked with, email them after the collaboration and thank them. Keep up the contact by letting them know your future travel plans and find out if there are any opportunities to work with them again. Post images from the collaboration or press trip on social media a few months afterwards, brands love ongoing coverage.
Make contacts by attending travel blogging conferences and events like Travese and WTM. They can be daunting but push yourself. Approach brands, introduce yourself and find out how they work with bloggers and influencers. I attended Traverse in 2017, from the event I was invited on a press trip to Menorca and off the back of that I have since been on another press trip with the Spanish tourist board and worked with them independently. I picked up an ongoing paid writing job from the event too.
‘Approach brands, introduce yourself and find out how they work with bloggers and influencers.’
Get in contact with others on social media who are attending events and meet up with them. It helps with your confidence in a big way knowing you are meeting up with other travel bloggers. It’s all about pushing your boundaries and getting yourself out there. You also don’t need to live in London to make it all happen. You just need to be proactive and create your own opportunities.
It’s worth mentioning that this stuff doesn’t happen over night either, it’s a constant work in progress. Post regularly on your blog, stay active on social media and make yourself look busy, even if you are not! Engage with other bloggers and brands, especially those you want to work with. I’m often guilty of not doing enough of the above, it is hard to keep up with especially if you work full time as well. I’m slowly learning not to beat myself up about not posting on my blog every week or posting on social media everyday. After all we are all only human and have busy lives. But I do understand that if you do all the above and work hard opportunities do and will come up. Sometimes it comes to you but most of the time it’s all about creating your own opportunities, from emailing companies and brands to engaging on social media and networking at events.
Go for it, you’ve got nothing to loose!
Nicola blogs about all things travel and lifestyle over at nicoladunkinson.com. She loves exploring the world 48 hours at a time in her part time job as a flight attendant. She has been blogging for six years and focuses on road trips, outdoor adventures, glamping and family travel. Nicola works with a variety of publications online and in print as well as copywriting for travel companies and brands. When she’s not in the air she can be found out on the water on a surfboard or taking her two year old daughter on adventures around the globe.