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Wouldn’t it be great to travel the world and write about your experiences without the worry of covering airfares and expenses? For some travel bloggers, the dream has become a reality – and you too could find your adventures funded (at least in part) by a brand or travel organization in exchange for sponsored content or a shout-out to your fans.

Not sure where to start? These are the basic steps you’ll need to take to open those lines of communication and sell your brand.

Get clear on what you want

Before contacting anyone, you should think about what you want to achieve by working with a tourism operator. Do you hope to:

  • Generate revenue by being paid to promote their offering with sponsored content?
  • Gain free access to tours, attractions and activities to supplement your existing travel budget?
  • Create opportunities for expenses-paid travel to their destination?

You may be flexible in what you’re willing to accept in exchange for your time and content exposure, but at the very least take some time to think about best and worst-case scenarios.

Consider what you can offer them

Tourism operators are frequently approached by bloggers and travel writers, so it’s important you think about your point of difference, or niche – or Unique Selling Proposition, in marketing speak – before you make contact.

  • Why would this particular tourism operator want to work with you over 10 other writers who have contacted them recently?
  • Who is your audience, and how are those fans relevant to the market this particular tourism operator is looking to engage?
  • What other campaigns, if any, have you successfully collaborated on with another operator, and what were the outcomes? Can you give an example of one of your posts directly resulting in an increase in traffic or bookings for someone else?

To convince any operator to work with you, you’ll need to sell them in a way that makes their needs the priority and focus, rather than your own.

Create a media kit

Nothing demonstrates professionalism quite like a slick and finely tuned media kit – and you can build your own quickly and easily with little more than a Word document, some great images, and the ability to create a PDF. A media kit should be designed to give prospective partners all the information they need to know about you – and working with you – in a snapshot, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy to do the trick. Include:

  • A brief introduction and About section
  • Information about your stats, such as website traffic and user engagement levels, social media following, and email database
  • Information about your fans and audience, including demographic and geo-locational data
  • A success story or testimonial, if you’ve worked with brands previously
  • A call to action, inviting them to contact you to discuss partnership opportunities further

Do your research

Figure out who you want to work with, then research that operator or brand to get a good understanding of how you can appeal to their needs. If you can, tailor a version of your media kit to reflect this – marking specific reference to their brand – which will illustrate that you’re interested in working with them, rather than sending out the same stock-standard email to every contact you could get your hands on.

While researching the who, try to find the best possible person within the organization to make initial contact with. You may be able to find these details via their website, though in some cases you’ll need to send a general request or give their offices a call for the correct contact details.

Reach out

Once you have the appropriate contact, reach out via email or over the phone. Introduce yourself, explain your reason for contacting them, include a link to your website and any relevant social channels, attach your media kit, and express a desire to discuss a potential partnership with them further, at their earliest convenience.

Aim to keep your tone warm and genuine, while still retaining a sense of professionalism, and don’t hesitate to follow up with a quick phone call if you haven’t received a response within a couple of weeks.