In the final installment of the 3-part Bloggers & Brands series, I am going to discuss how to form a brand partnership. For those just tuning in, I recently had the honor of being a speaker at the New York Travel Festival along esteemed travel writers & bloggers as we discussed how brand and bloggers work together.
Following our panel discussion, the audience rushed up to us as they asked questions about how we managed to work with travel companies. In an effort to answer some of the lingering questions, I created the Bloggers & Brands series. In case you missed it, check out:
In this final part, I will take a look at how I approach brands to work with and have managed to work with travel companies in exchange for free travel or paid opportunities.
How I Select a Brand to Approach
The Pin the Map Project is a travel website with a focus on destination guides and solo travel, so when selecting a brand to work with or pitch a potential partnership to, it is imperative that the brand makes sense for my website. I have worked with cruise ships, tour guides, hotels, wine brands and other advertisers that I felt made sense from a travel perspective or food & drink angle. When selecting a brand to work with, make sure it is one that you feel passionate about and are not ashamed to align your website with. Your loyalty ultimately rests with your readers and it does both you and your readers a disservice to write a sponsored post for or partner with an advertiser you don’t believe in.
Pitching a Brand Partnership or Proposal
As a young travel site, more often than not I am the one approaching travel brands to work with. As I mentioned earlier, I only approach those brands that I admire and feel would be a great fit for The Pin the Map Project. In approaching a brand, I will usually craft my e-mail like this:
I am reaching out in hopes of exploring blogger/brand partnerships with XX, a search engine I tout frequently as a must-use when it comes to travel planning and hacking.
As you can see, the e-mail starts with expressing my interest in the brand I am pitching, followed by outlining my credentials and then closing with my desire to explore ways to partner together. I often use this e-mail template when approaching brands both for specific partnerships, general inquiries or press opportunities to review their hotels, tours, etc. What this e-mail does is ultimately shows the brand what I can offer them in terms of my blog and travel writing in exchange for travel, hotels or blogger partnerships.
Landing the Brand Partnership
I am more than happy to say I have recently signed two contracts with two separate travel companies that will be flying me to Morocco and Vietnam in exchange for editorial coverage of their trips. Both contracts I received clearly outline what is expected of me and what the brand will provide (i.e a free round-trip flight, accommodations, meals, etc.). When forming a brand partnership it is important to be realistic with what you can and cannot provide. For example, I can guarantee coverage on The Pin the Map Project but can only pitch and hope to publish a story on another publication such as The Huffington Post or VICE. Likewise, some brands may expect social media coverage, interviews and other additional elements–so make sure to deliver on what’s expected, be transparent with your readers about the brand partnership (it is something to be excited about!) and be honest about what you can provide the brand with.
I hope you enjoyed the 3-part Blogger & Brands series! If you have any additional questions on how bloggers work with brands, share them below!