In March of 2016, we held our first webinar as a follow-up to our ebook: How to Work With Travel Bloggers. Within the webinar, which you can view below, we discussed key points of the book as well as included two interviews about successful partnerships within our industry – one with a brand and one with an influencer.
Following the webinar, we distributed a document summarizing some of the key statistics discussedr. We also engaged in a thorough question and answer session. Below is the transcript from that:
1. Do you have advice for travel bloggers who want to be sought out to work with brands/destinations?
Andrew: For starters you should follow the brands on social media. Get more active on LinkedIn and follow the right people after searching the brand. They will have a listing of relevant people that work there. Look under marketing. when reaching out to a brand do you not come off asking for too much. It should be a 50-50 relationship. Ask the brand what they need with their marketing. Provide them with a unique angle or something besides asking for money and a free trip.
Dalene: In addition, in order to be sought out, the key (before even approaching brands) is to focus on building an audience. Once you build a viable and engaged audience, then expect the opportunities to start coming.
2. Sherry mentioned she was paid for her month in residence in Alberta. Was this just her expenses covered or did she charge a day rate? If a day rate, how was that agreed upon?
[Since the webinar, we’ve gone to Sherry directly for an answer:] I was paid a day rate that we agreed upon for the work I was doing on live social media coverage, as well as future content that I would produce for other outlets that was considered native marketing.
Dalene: There was one part of the pre-recording of Sherry’s webinar that got cut (for time), but that is important and I would like to provide as additional information.
Sherry was not only paid for the extensive coverage on her own blog and social media channels, but to also access other outlets to write about her stay in Canmore. There are many, many, online outlets now that do not pay for contributions from external writers, but still have viable audiences. Without being paid, the motivation for (and benefit to) a blogger to write for these outlets is very slim. However, given that Sherry was already paid for her time via Travel Alberta, she did not hesitate to place pieces in additional outlets, and this also helped fulfill Travel Alberta’s strategies around native content marketing.
3. Is there anything specific you would recommend for Asian influencers, Japanese market ideally?
Dalene: Our apologies, as this market isn’t our specific focus (instead we work more closely in North America and Europe). If you can narrow the scope of your question though, we might be able to help! Feel free to tweet us @HeckticMedia or email any further questions to email@example.com
4. Do you recommend to do an individual press trip for the influencer or is it possible to combine and manage it for couple of them?
Dalene: I think there are benefits to both individual and group press trips. Some, depending on the angle sought after in a campaign, are more suited to having an influencer pursue a story on their own. Others, say if brought in to promote a music festival, may work better as a thoughtfully constructed group may naturally be more fun.
5. Is that 73% stat [of travellers who get their ideas from social media] global or USA only?
Dalene: That stat comes from a study by RadiumOne, and is global.
6. Do individual bloggers generally prefer to have a very specific contract (no. of posts, tweets, videos …) to avoid dissatisfaction or do you think they should be free in deciding how things should be done. As a destination we saw both and were wondering what is best.
Andrew: It really all depends on each blogger. The way I work is that I prefer to have a flexible agreement that make both sides happy. I am not a fan of dictating how many times a day a blogger tweets or updates on Facebook. If they are professionals they will over deliver. Be flexible with influencer and work together on a plan as opposed to telling them heres what you do, when you do it and where you do it. You hire them because they are creative. Trust their judgment. They know what their audience likes.
Dalene: I just want to add that with each project we do, we ask our bloggers to provide their usual minimum output so that we can communicate it with the brand. While we do let the bloggers set it (based on their judgement of what their audience likes to see), we think it’s important for the brands to understand what they will be getting in return.
7. Thank you very much for the great webinar. As a blogger I would like to know how to get in contact with companies that like to market their products using influencers. Is there a dedicated platform that both can use to find one another?
Dalene: There are many, probably dozens, of such platforms out there set to match up influencers with brands looking to promote products. Our recommendation, however is to carefully scrutinize available brands to make sure that it is a perfect fit for your audience. Reaching out to those brands personally will also probably provide for a better relationship long term. We recently came across this article about such networks, which is worth a read: http://www.theluxuryspot.com/why-blogging-networks-are-bad-for-bloggers-and-brands/
8. What is a standard rate for hiring a blogger as brand ambassador? Do bloggers charge per day / per campaign / per blog post
Dalene: This can vary greatly as each blogger has a different structure. We, as bloggers at HeckticTravels.com, have never charged a day rate, but instead usually bundle together a campaign package. But many bloggers we know do charge day rates. It all depends on the objectives of the campaign, what is being provided, and the individual bloggers preferences themselves.
9. As a brand, we do not have budget for paid PR, we partner with influencers that too believe in the power of the relationship and connection/experience we create together. I feel we’re coming to a day where bloggers aren’t even bloggers, they don’t write – they are digital media platforms. What are the thoughts on paid posts/IG photos?
Dalene: You are right, in a way. Although many bloggers still write, they also have growing presences on other platforms that are pulling some of their attention.
We have already been issuing payments for Instagram photos and I am sure that will continue. As these audiences get larger, they are viable marketing outlets, and thus the influencer is seeking payment for such. While I understand that many brands are not doing paid PR, a this point, it really becomes marketing.
10. Do you have a suggested ROI – calculation to determine reach, on each post etc. to measure engagement – is there a software program dedicated to that (yet.) outside of trad. news scanning?
Dalene: There are many platforms out there that offer a variety of measuring tools, but we have found none that fit our purposes specifically. We instead do all of our analysis in-house for our clients (often asking our influencers for raw data dumps of their platform stats), and analyzing them ourselves. As for ROI, there have been many attempts to calculate social media ROI, but given the amazing array of variables, including the non-spontaneous nature of travel purchases, we believe it to be a nearly impossible task. Here is one example of an ROI calculation proposed by Tourism Ireland: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85406652/A-new-simple-way-to-measure-social-media-Return-on-Investment-Social-Equivalent-Advertising-Value#scribd
11. Can you please repeat the information about the Philippines?
[The audio cut out for just a couple of seconds in the webinar, so I will repeat the point here.]
Dalene: There is something known inside the travel community as the “Philippines bump”. Residents of the Philippines are known widely for being very active on social media, especially with regards to articles written about their own country. They are quick to promote it via shares or retweets, which can offer a very significant bump in traffic for bloggers. Knowing this, some bloggers have specifically traveled to and written about the Philippines in order to get this “bump” to their traffic, or some even write about the country without having been there to achieve the same effect.
This was brought up as an example for why travel brands need to be keenly aware of where a blogger’s traffic is coming from. If a blogger has large page views, but most are from the Philippines and that is not the brand’s target audience, then this is likely not a good brand-blogger fit.