The digital marketing landscape is dramatically different today to how it was even 18 months ago. Influencer marketing is one of the buzz words that has come of age in the last year and a half. While it is still a relatively new discipline, there is a growing amount of research which shows that it can pay dividends for hoteliers who embrace the practise and approach it with a strategic vision and abundance of creativity.
In essence, influencer marketing or blogger outreach calls on popular, authoritative bloggers, vloggers and voices on the internet to ‘pull’ in consumers, rather than using advertisement to ‘push’ bookings your way. In order to form relationships with these influencers, you must conduct influencer and blogger outreach. These relationships are valuable and a well-placed mention in a blog or shout out from a social media channel can result in an upsurge in traffic and more credible messaging than branded content alone.
If you’re ready to do blogger outreach right and build your own network of influencers for your hotel, follow our best practise guide here.
What is blogger outreach?
Blogger outreach is the act of contacting bloggers in order to form relationships with them. The goal is to introduce your hotel, highlighting why the blogger but more importantly, their readers, will want to learn more about it and suggesting avenues for collaboration. If successful, this contact can lead to the blogger publishing a post about your product or service for all of their followers to see, like this one from Nomadic Matt sharing his favourite Australian hostels.
Why is blogger outreach a great strategy for travel brands and hoteliers?
Consumers are becoming smarter and are more wary of traditional media outlets such as magazines and newspapers than ever before. Increasingly, this incudes becoming numb to advertisements and overtly promotional content shared via online magazines and online newspapers. Compared to these conventional platforms, bloggers offer an authentic opinion on everything they write about, meaning that their readers trust and are influenced by recommendations and reviews to a greater extent than traditional platforms.
For travel brands, this is invaluable. In the same way that many travellers are guided by customer reviews, the right kind of mention by an influential blogger can win over a whole community of interested new customers. Travellers want to know that they are spending their hard earned money and valuable time off in a place that will give them the experience they desire. If your company doesn’t have any kind of authentic reviews online, they will head to another destination that can guarantee satisfaction.
What’s more, bloggers are visual creatures, adding many original photographs to their posts to share their experience with readers. Top bloggers will often accompany their words with a stream of beautiful Instagram images, as seen on @traveljunkiediary, the account for Dubai native Michelle Karam’s travel blog. For luxury travel brands, this is the chance to showcase your hotel or resort in a way that will be hard to resist.
Blogger outreach doesn’t just have to rely on reviews though and offering bloggers a free stay in order to get their thoughts on your amenities. There are other ways to collaborate, which is where a more creative mind set can result in truly inspiration campaigns capable of delivering a strong ROI.
How to do it right
- Research your bloggers
Bloggers receive hundreds of emails every day. In order to ensure that they open your email rather than moving it straight to the junk folder, personalise your message and approach each blogger individually. Small things such as starting off your email using the blogger’s proper name will get things off on the right foot.
After that, use your research to inform the rest of the email. If they have recently written about a hotel or destination that is in your area for example, compliment them on their piece and ask them if they have any plans to return.
- Have something to offer them
Although they are attractive to marketers as their opinion is authentic, influencers blog for a living. It’s very rare to find a blogger willing to write about something when getting nothing in return. Offering a free night’s stay is an easy starting point but there is lots of potential to go beyond this standard approach. Consider other amenities, initiatives and the blogger’s own lifestyle to find an authentic fit and don’t be afraid to solicit the blogger’s own suggestions and visions for collaboration.
- Clearly define your expectations
Just as bloggers want something from you, it is also important to clarify what you would like in return. Treat any collaboration as a professional agreement to ensure that both parties are clear about what’s expected. To start, add a sentence in your initial pitch letter describing what you can offer the blogger, and what you expect in return (e.g. 1000 word blog post + original images + a link to your website). Once agreed, putting a written contract in place can avoid any future misunderstandings.
If you follow these tips, you’re well on your way to tapping into the many benefits of influencer marketing.