A press trip is not a free vacation. A press trip or junket is a working research trip for story development about a specific event, destination, or property. There are a few services out there that offer press trip invitations for a fee, but that’s not the best way to get a personal invitation.
There will always be the discussion on whether sponsored junkets are ethical by various members of the travel industry, but that’s not what this post is about. The old days of the traditional press trip have bit the dust and there’s a new era of the press trip. Here are a few tips to help get your blog noticed by those who make the press trip invite decisions:
1. Offer Quality Content – This is a no-brainer. If you offer quality content in a consistent manner, then you’ve already won half the battle. Companies putting together media events are looking for outlets that are respected, literate, and meet with their client’s overall message.
2. Share Travel Experiences via Social Media Channels – Build up your social media presence and share images, facts, and thoughts about your current experiences. Social media sharing and interaction is a big part of the overal experience in today’s media world.
3. Promote Companies as a Consumer – Are there products or brands that you already use as a consumer? Write about the things you love and tips about places you currently frequent. You’ll also be helping readers find useful information.
4. Introduce Yourself to the Brands you Love – Once you’ve written about places and products you enjoy, reach out to the brands via social media channels. Find out what marketing companies represent the brands you love and introduce yourself.
5. Keep your Porfolio Page Up to Date – Have you recently been featured in a magazine or won an award for your writing? Be sure to toot your own horn on your porfolio page and list all the places you’ve been published in print and online. Make sure the awards you list are legitimate, respected awards. There are hundreds, if not thousands of “Best Website” awards that provide badges that link to the original site. These are just another way to gain incoming links, so it’s best to leave these off of your portfolio page. Also, be sure you have video on your site. (Note to self, update the porfolio.)
6. Provide an Easy way to be Contacted – You can’t get invited on press trips if you don’t make it easy for people to contact you. Also, be sure the email address you list is one you check frequently.
7. Create a Media Kit – If a press trip coordinator isn’t familiar with you already, then provide them with a media kit or backgrounder which summarizes all the important information a marketing company or brand needs when considering your value to them. While there isn’t one definite answer on how best to measure a blog or website, some of the top measurement tools companies use for traffic are Alexa Rank, Compete, and Quantcast. There are other measurement tools available that are more accurate, but these are the most common used.
8. Be Flexible – Many times press trips have last minute openings that need to be filled. If your schedule is flexible, let your contacts know this so that they can place you on a backup list for inclusion.
9. Be Understanding – You may not be a company’s first choice, but don’t let that offend you. Be understanding that the company has a client they have to satisfy. You may get passed over for a particular press trip offering, but complaining won’t get you invited on the next one that comes up. It is disappointing and rejection doesn’t feel good, no matter how it comes your way. By understanding and acting with grace, you’ll be first on the list when the next trip offering to that destination comes around. Usually, a number of press trips are offered to a particular destination througout the year.
10. Be Nice – This goes along with being flexible and understanding. My grandmother always told me you could catch more flies with sugar than lemons. Plus, being nice makes you feel better inside in the long run.
Now that you’ve read some of the basics on how to get invited on a press trip, I thought I might make things easy on you. I do some consulting on a project basis and since I’ve been in the travel writing industry for over a decade, I’m frequently approached by companies asking for writer recommendations or names to include for press trip consideration. I’m updating my personal writer list and want YOU to be fairly included.
If you’re interested, feel free to add your name to the list. You won’t be added to any newsletters and you won’t be spammed with press releases. And don’t worry if you think your traffic isn’t up to par, it all depends on the type of trip being planned and the topic of your content. Of course, if you have your own tips to add on getting invites on press trips, feel free to leave them in the comments. The best part? Getting on this list is FREE!