How to Plan a Successful Press Trip (Before and After)
In my article, How to Score and Execute a Press Trip, I shared tips on planning and executing a successful press trip. In this follow-up article I’d like to dish out a bit more advice, which I’m confident will be useful for bloggers and hosts alike.
Before any big trip, I try to connect with the local tourism board or tour operators. Since we are both in the same industry, it’s likely we can agree on a plan of action that is mutually beneficial. I have, however, sometimes heard tourism entities complain, “We haven’t gotten results from bloggers in the past. That’s why we are hesitating to say yes this time.” There have been a few cases where I had to convince business owners that I could, in fact, deliver positive and calculable results. Luckily for me, I was persuasive enough to strike up a working business relationship! However, this is not always an easy, or straightforward process.
To help you on your own professional journey, I’ve distilled the various bits of wisdom I’ve accrued in the last two years of travel and professional blogging into three simple steps:
Make a Clear Plan of Action
Bloggers: contact your host beforehand to make a guideline for the trip and your duties. Get a clear idea of their needs and expectations. Do they want short-term publicity, evergreen content, or sustained social media chatter? Before the trip, make a clear plan of action highlighting what you’re going to provide for them. If it’s necessary, hammer out exact deadlines for each stage of the project.
Hosts: know exactly what your clients or your company need from the bloggers. Why did you agree to invite these bloggers? There are a number of exposure strategies that you can request from bloggers. To avoid unwanted surprises or disappointment, it’s important to be on the same page.
Bloggers and Hosts: Be clear. Be communicative.
Bloggers: don’t forget to thank your hosts and let them know about your experience. A simple email will do it. We all know the real work starts after the trip. Tell them your opinion of the trip, and give them a rough publishing schedule. Don’t be afraid to be honest.
Hosts: check in to see how everything went. Send any additional information (press kit, brochure, photos…) you think will help bloggers highlight areas you deem critical. Check in with your blogger(s) and confirm the publishing schedule you agreed on. If you don’t hear from them in a while, write a short reminder.
This is the most important, and possibly the most nerve-racking side of a press trip. I’ve worked with a number of travel related organizations through out America, Europe and Asia and only a handful of companies were keen on interaction. For any real discernable result, sharing contents through various modes of social media is critical.
Bloggers: find out your host’s social media channels and include them in your updates. Make sure to include the contact information for your host in any upcoming articles. After publishing and sharing whatever content you outlined before the trip, write a wrap up email and send it to your host.
Hosts: don’t you want to get the best result from the project? Remember the ‘synergy effect’. Once you get updates from your guest blogger, it’s important to share these contents. Utilize Facebook, Twitter, G+ or a newletter; to let the world know about your recent projects with the new media. Results are as much a product of your effects as they are of the bloggers. Keep the chatter going by sharing these contents.