Alas, this is the last post of Blarch. I’m glad you stuck with me and my shenanigans! I wanted to extend my virtual pat on the back and congratulations that you didn’t die from boredom. You made it through these massive posts, cleaned your act better than Christina Aguilera after her Dirty single, and you’re ready to tackle the media kit and pitching to sponsors. Sound like the epic conclusion to this party? I most certainly think so!
March 3: Why Travel Blogs Suck
March 17: How to take Badass Travel Photography
The Media Kit How To
What is a media kit, what does it do and why is it so important to have one? Basically, it’s a document highlighting your successes, stats, and brand to help companies decide if they want to work with you or not. This is the holy bible of travel blogging so sit tight and pay attention.
Before we get into details make sure you have a really awesome photo of your face. Abstain from the selfie because that makes it look unprofessional. You want a photo showcasing your brand’s persona. For example, if you’re a food/travel blogger, you’ll want to have a picture with an awesome plate of food in Paris. Maybe food isn’t your thing and you’re more of an America adventure travel blogger. You could opt for a rock climbing picture in the Rockies.
Length: Your media kit should be a PDF file ranging 1-3 pages. Avoid giant descriptions with heavy text. Keep it short, sweet and simple. Time is of the essence, my friends.
Blog Description: This demonstrates what you brand stands for and how you are a good fit for the company you’re potentially going to work with. Include your niche and an introduction.
Name & Contact Info: This is just duh, but it’s easy to forget. Make sure it’s visible and easy to see. Professional email accounts include Gmail and your actual blog email account.
Social Media Accounts: All of your accounts should be stated somewhere on the media kit with appropriate links.
Stats: Where do you find these? Well, whatever you do, don’t use Jetpack for WordPress as it can be inaccurate and isn’t really counted for stats. Use Google Analytics and include the following:
- Audience Demographics
- Unique Visitors
- Monthly Visitors
- Page Views
- Time Per Session
- Social Media Following
Testimonials: Make sure you include statements from people who really loved your work and include other brands you’ve worked with.
Services: By working with you, what can you do for the brand/company. Companies invest in bloggers because of what the blogger can offer them and what they can gain.
In essence, keep everything real. Be honest and don’t make shit up. You gain nothing but distrust and a bad reputation if you do so. Sponsors can and will request your Google Analytics so make sure you don’t get caught in a lie. You don’t have to include every single stat in your kit. Pick and choose the best ones.
My media kit is sacred and its
fucking horrifying intimidating to put it out into the world for everyone to judge and see, but here it is. Remember, your media kit is what showcases the best aspects of your blog and brand. You’re the product and you’re trying to showcase your services and how it will fit well with the brand you’re trying to work with.
Building Your Media Kit
I feel a bit naked now that I’ve bared my media kit soul, but let’s talk about how you can build your very own! My favorite resource is Canva for Work where you can organize your brand’s colors, fonts and photos so you spend less time dwaddling and more time producing. It’s a paid subscription but totally worth it because they just added 200,000 more free stock photos and images for subscribers. If you’re not ready to fork over the monies, Canva has a free version.
What to do About Low Numbers
My numbers aren’t all that and a bag of chips, but I’m working really hard to remedy it. If I can work with hotels and brands, then you can too! The biggest question out there is, if you don’t have the numbers, can you pitch to sponsors? The answer is yes. Pitch if they’re a fit for your brand and sell what you can do for them. You may not get a free hotel stay, but a discounted one is better than paying full price. You’ll get the credibility and use the opportunity to go above and beyond for a testimonial you can utilize later.
Always focus on the positives. You’re only raking in 5,000 views a month? Part of the reason we went to Math and English class was to do business. Instead of just stating your views you can phrase it, “Young travel blog, started in January 2017 growing at a rate of 67% per month.” That sounds much more attractive than the measly views you’re getting.
Let’s tackle social media issue so grab your tissue. (Sorry not sorry about for terrible puns.) What about your social media following? Take all of your social media followings on every platform you have and add it up. On my media kit, I could easily rephrase it to, “Combined social following of 17k.” Sweet marketing 101 is music to my ears. If your numbers aren’t impressive on social media at least let your work and your Instagram photos show how professional you are.
Pitching to Sponsors
Now that you’ve got your spiffy media kit, you’re ready to put yourself out there for rejection or success come hell or high water! Let me make one thing clear. Nothing in life is free and no one owes you anything just because you’re a blogger. The one thing I hate on all blogger forums are people that are just looking to get free shit just because they’re bloggers. It’s bloggers acting like buffoons that give us all a bad reputation. It’s all about werk, betch.
1. What to include in an email
In an email you should always include your media kit and make sure your email is thought out and researched. Make sure you mention what you can do for them and how it would benefit them to work with you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. People tend to remember those with a spark. I usually always include how I can provide them with 1-2 blog posts, and 5-7 social media posts as well. It’s not about the free stuff you’ll get but the services you can provide.
2. Find businesses that fit your niche
If you blog about luxury travel, then find hotels that fit this description. If you’re about budget travel, try to find nice hotels in that category your readers will truly love. If you’re about eco or responsible travel, find elephant sanctuaries, companies that use recycled materials in their products, or sunscreen that doesn’t damage the environment. You catch my drift. It’s all about your readers, gaining a relationship and growing your business.
3. Find businesses that have worked with bloggers in the past
Networking is super important and if you can’t get recommendations off friends, then Google search the living daylights out of the hotels you want to work with to see if they’ve worked with any bloggers. Just type in said hotel with blog after it and if anything was written about it, the article should come up immediately. Look at the websites of the business and search for press pages to see if they’ve worked with bloggers in the past.
4. Address Business Owner Directly
Sometimes the manager isn’t directly listed so you will have to use the dreaded “To Whom It May Concern” or “To the Manager of X Hotel”. Look at the press pages, contact pages or anything that will help you find the head honcho.
5. Research the company
When I was trying to get sponsored stays in Laos, I went on each and every website, looked at the rooms, services, and amenities offered. I made it a point to mention one thing I liked about each hotel and why I would be a good fit to work with. Sometimes hotels don’t want to work with bloggers and that’s okay.
You also need to be aware sponsored travel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You will work FUCKING HARD to earn your keep. You want to jump into the comfy bed? Nice try compadre, because you need to take photos of the room looking pristine before you even bother. Believe me, it was super hard when I stayed at the amazing five star Seamarq Hotel with Linda Goes East. You need all sorts of photos and shots before you even begin to enjoy yourself. Does that mean it isn’t fun? Hell yeah, it’s a lot of fun. You get tours, perks and and the ability to see what no one else has seen. I call that #winning.
Alas, there you have it my friends. Your complete guide to Media Kits and Sponsored Travel. I hope you enjoyed the Blarch Series and you gained some invaluable knowledge from my mistakes and trials over the past few years of travel blogging. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.