PTBA Blog

Fostering Long-Term Relationships with PR and Industry

We talk a lot about how to get started working with public relations professionals as bloggers and how PR can find the “right” kind of bloggers to work with. But what about long term relationships? While it may make sense to only reach out to a firm that represents one company you’re interested in working with, also consider long term relationships. There’s value to be had here, no matter what kind of level of industry you’re dealing with.

Be Easy to Work With

We’ve talked about the importance of being a good guest on a press trip, but it’s usually much more than that. It starts well before you go on a trip or start working together. Answer emails in a timely manner and discuss expectations beforehand. Talk about the potential of a long term relationship so you can start thinking of additional ways to work together. Have your information in an accessible place, especially your media kit or press page. Tell the person who you’ve worked with in the past and how you worked together. Be professional on trips and in your interactions.

Show Your Worth

I’ve answered many questions from people wanting to know how they should contact PR and industry and how to get spots on trips. While I often provide tips like “start small and locally,” it’s also important to show your worth. Why should this person work with you? We are not owed anything as bloggers so don’t expect to have emails flood in unless you’ve shown what you can do. Be prepared to share examples and ideas.

Keep in Touch

After your trip or after your initial campaign, follow up with links to the posts you’ve written, social media and any additional statistics. Don’t make them harass you about it. There’s nothing more frustrating for them than someone who goes on a press trip and then never writes about it. Update your contact later about what you’re doing and working on. Send a thank you note or email, which is always appreciated. Ask what’s new with their brand or company to see if there’s potential for additional work.

You can also ask about other contacts. In the case of a destination, they probably know other tourism boards nearby that you might be visiting. And likewise, you can recommend fellow bloggers for them to work with. Also be honest about updates, whether or not you want constant press releases.

Why It’s Important for Both Sides

While many people go for the “one and done” policy with PR groups and companies, especially if you’re traveling through a destination, long term relationships can be beneficial to both sides. You might contact a company or firm with one specific pitch in mind, but here are a few ways you can develop a long term relationship.

Public Relations and Marketing Firms

Many have clients focused to one niche of travel and tourism so they usually have additional clients that you might want to work with, whether it’s a region, hotels and other properties, restaurants or anything else. The client list is also constantly changing so follow up every few months by checking their website or emailing. Some firms even list trips they’re putting together for the calendar year.

Example: Diamond PR manages a number of resorts in Florida and the Caribbean. They’ve done a number of blogger-focused campaigns and many of the people end up going on multiple trips with them.

Destinations

Most of us may only work with a destination once and when we’ve written about it we delete their future emails. But there are ways to come back time and time again while still finding value. You can go back when new attractions open and also for events.

Example: The Blogville campaign is one of my favorite examples as it brought people to a region in Italy every year. Most of these bloggers visited annually but were still able to come up with creative and unique content, some focused on adventure activities and others on food.

Tour companies

Working with tour companies can be great because they usually have multiple tours you can write about, some even in multiple destinations. Look for value in these tours well beyond your standard review. It’s fairly easy to set these up and many are willing to provide you with a complimentary tour for a post, but in more of a brand ambassador role, you can create unique content and media for them while representing their tours and destinations.

Example: A number of tour companies follow this model but one example is Intrepid Travel’s partnership with Amanda Williams of A Dangerous Business. She worked with them for a few years and has written about tours she has gone on with them in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Travel products

If you’ve ever reviewed or written about a travel product, you might have done a giveaway or post about the different features. There are so many great companies to work with, whether it’s luggage, tech gear or clothing. Stay in touch to find out about updated or new products they’re launching. You can also do a follow up post about how well the item has lasted throughout your travels or even do a giveaway for your readers.

Example: There are lots of great examples but the first ones that came to mind are ambassador programs for clothing companies like PrAna and ExOfficio, which have sent multiple clothing items to bloggers to wear and feature on their travels. LifeProof has done similar work with Matthew Karsten of Expert Vagabond, who has written about their phone cases, fitness bands and accessories.

 

Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer and travel blogger at Caroline in the City and This Is My South. She is a chapter leader for Travel Massive in Atlanta and the secretary of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

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