5 Tips for Pitching Sponsored Travel Posts

After almost two entire years of blogging as a hobby, I decided it was time to swallow my pride and start pitching to companies. With an upcoming trip to Sri Lanka and extremely tight budget for it, I thought it would be at least worth sending out some feelers to see if my blog possessed the necessary stats to be approved for any type of collaboration.

  1. Be realistic: The goal of most travel bloggers is to eventually travel for free, or even better to get paid for doing so. I think a common misconception about blogging is that it’s fun and easy, when in fact it takes hours and hours of networking, growing social media platforms, trying to get your blog a readership and a whole lot of writing and taking photographs. It’s time consuming, and undoubtedly the more time you put into your blog, the more you get in return. I didn’t take my blog seriously for the first year and a half or so of having it, but in the last few months I’ve really tried to grow it both in terms of statistics but more importantly, for me, in terms of quality. I’ve rebranded all of my social media, redesigned my website and have begun writing more about various aspects of travel such as airlines, hotels and ways to save while travelling. I know I’m a long way away from free travel, but the hard work I’ve put in now has certainly helped me in acquiring partnerships.
  2. Stay on topic: I began the redesign of my website so that when the time came for me to begin doing sponsored or collaborative posts, they would be in tune with the existing content on my page. Now, if I pitch to a restaurant, all they need to do is search ‘restaurants’ and read some previous reviews. If my pitch is successful and I do write a review or post about them, my existing readers won’t find it odd that I’ve started reviewing restaurants. Consistency is important, and it makes sponsored posts seem a lot more authentic.
  3. Know what you want: It’s important when you’re pitching to a company to know exactly what you’re looking for. Companies might be put off if your pitching email or letter is too vague, so be sure to be explicit in what you hope to gain from the collaboration or sponsorship and what you wish to give in return. Companies can always come back with a counter-offer, so be sure you know exactly how much or how little you’re willing to work, pay or write for a collaboration before enquiring about one.
  4. Don’t offer too much: Blogs can take a long time to write, especially if you want to write them well. Editing and planning photographs to accompany them, gathering information and redrafting them all add up, so be sure not to stretch yourself too thin when organising a collaboration with a company. Some hotels, for example, ask for credit card details from beginner bloggers in case your end of the bargain isn’t held up, so make sure you don’t go to the trouble of writing several substandard pieces to be charged anyway.
  5. Just ask: The way I see it is if a company doesn’t respond or responds with a no to any of my pitches, I’m only in the same position I was in to begin with. If you have a trip planned already and are already intending on paying for a hotel, then all that happens if you can’t find one to collaborate with then you still need to pay. Successful pitches are a bonus, not a given, and you need to put yourself out there to companies in order for them to come about.

I now have 5 of mine and Paul’s 13 nights in Sri Lanka completely free, and another 4 at half the cost advertised online, saving me over $350 so far. I will continue to send out these emails to hotels for the remainder of my stay and have begun contacting excursion and transfer companies to see if there’s any possibility of saving even further.

 My WordPress follower count and weekly views are still pretty minimal in comparison with so many other established bloggers, and my Instagram following is too. I never thought I would even receive reply emails, never mind actually be offered discounts and free accommodation at three, four and five star hotels. In return, all I have to do is post a specified number of Instagram and blog posts about each of the hotels and they’re happy to supply a bed.
Having travelled for two months at a time for the past two summers, I wished I’d got over being scared of having companies say no to me and just asked. There’s absolutely no harm in asking, and there are plenty of forums and websites to assist you in pitching to a specific genre of companies. It’s easy enough to make up one template email and alter it according to who you’re pitching to.
The hard work is actually building up the courage to send the first email, but once I got over the initial fear and began to receive responses the fear dissipated entirely. This now means that we can either travel in a little more luxury, or at the same cost for even longer, which will benefit not only us personally but will bring new ideas, posts and places to the blog, which is what it’s all about.

69 thoughts on “5 Tips for Pitching Sponsored Travel Posts

  1. Thanks for the encouragement. Think I need to find my confidence too to make a few requests… if not trips then at least day ship visits etc, anything that gives me more material for my blog 🙂

  2. This is encouraging. I’m just starting out with my travel blog, but I have been blogging (elsewhere) as a hobby for years. I’m trying to build momentum– building up to pitching a few hotels before my 30th birthday later this fall. Kind of a resolution of sorts!

  3. Very inspiring and so true! There’s no harm in asking, it often just comes down to our pride. Many of us are very shy and it takes time to get confident in what we’re writing and the potential value in it. I know that it will take me a bit of time to build up the courage – but I’m sure your words will be at the back of my mind when I do! 🙂 Have an amazing trip and I look forward to reading all about it! Charlie x

  4. As a reader, the problem comes when you start to distrust the reviewer. Would you really give a poor review to an organisation that had sponsored you? Even when you genuinely felt you had received great service would the reader really believe it, especially if the sponsor knew you were a reviewer at the time? Would the average punter get the same service? You get an upgrade and immediately the experience is different to most people’s. I suppose it comes down to what is the most important factor in your blogging, money or independence. I genuinely wish you the best of luck, Caitlin, you deserve to do well.

    1. I’m always honest with my reviews. If it meant that the company wouldn’t want to work with me again then that’s fine, but I’m just not that way inclined. However I totally understand what you’re saying! Thank you 🙂

    1. Try anyway! I actually feel like smaller companies are more inclined to give freebies because they don’t have the exposure of larger ones. I’ve not been able to have any luck with Scottish companies because it too doesn’t have many opportunities for bloggers thus far, but abroad I have had a lot 🙂

  5. Really great post. I’ve always wondered how to go about doing this. As I am fairly new to the bloggersphere I feel I am not able to have opportunities like this just yet. When do you think is the right time?

    1. I wanted to make sure I had a pretty decent weekly view count before asking, because I think that’s really what companies are interested in. I waited until I had 2500 per week but I’m sure I could have pitched with half of that! X

  6. Hey Caitlin,
    You have a very impressive blog. Congratulations.
    I am an aspiring travel blogger and its just been 2 months since I started. Right now I am not writing solely on travel as I haven’t been anywhere lately, but I am hoping to. Also like you have written, I would like to pitch in to companies when I have enough number of followers. Do you have any advise for me?

    1. Hi there!
      Thank you so much, it’s still very much a work in progress. Just keep producing quality content, then the follow and readership will come with time. Make sure you ask for specifics, if a company isn’t sure what you’re asking for chances are they won’t respond! All the best with your blog. X

  7. Hi Caitlin! Thanks for liking my write-up on Milano. I also found your latest post very interesting. I started blogging as a hobby one year ago, and I think I will keep it like that …

  8. That’s great to hear! It’s something I never would have thought of doing, but your post is inspiring and maybe I’ll give it a go in the future.

  9. Awesome post and timely! I’ve been gear reviewing for years and just posted my first travel advice post on ski touring in Iceland yesterday! Where is your subscribe/follow button located? I’m not seeing it….

  10. Wow! This is so inspiring, especially for new bloggers like me! I had personally paid for all my previous travels, and hope I can get paid to travel someday. haha Would you mind if I ask for a sample template of one your pitches? Please let me know. Thanks! 🙂

  11. Hey there!

    I’m K&L, the CEO from the Millionaire’s Digest who runs the 500+ Millionaire’s Digest team, and I recently received your application to join our team. Anyway, this is a letter to let you know that I have completely looked over it and have officially approved you to become a part of our team, so I’ve sent you an invitation to your email!

    I hope you are as excited as I am to have you on my team, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for thousands of our readers every day!

    The Millionaire’s Digest Author, Publisher & CEO

      1. Caitlin! finally I´ve bought the tickets to Sri Lanka and will be there in less than two weeks time. I can´t wait! 🙂 just thought that I had to share it with you 🙂

  12. Hey Caitlin.. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.. I have just started blogging about random things that catch my attention. Could you please tell me how do you get in touch with these hotels?

  13. Very interesting blog! I feel I am not there yet, but who knows, maybe one day i will find the courage to send those emails myself! You wouldn’t happen to share your template pitch anywhere? Dare to ask step 1….

  14. Love this – have been travel writing and blogging for almost three years, the last two for myself. When I am planning a trip, I usually mention in an initial email that I am a travel writer, if the hotel/B&B/AirBnb doesn’t offer a discount or great amenities (which they most often do) I’ll ask them about promotion and typically that will lead to more.

    My blog readership is not that high either, however, my son (a college kid) has told me “Mom, you only want authentic followers, anyway.” So I concentrate on quality, not quantity and hope the information I’m sharing will lead to more ~ so far my travel discounts far out-way my paid gigs but I think that will change in time.

    Best wishes and GREAT Post!!

    1. Thanks Wendy! Couldn’t agree more, it has taken me two years to gain my following and I’m glad I know everyone who follows me is genuinely interested.

  15. Thank you for liking my post, ‘Four Fashion Statements worn by Asian Men.’ I really like this post-now following, so, keep up this labor of love.
    Also, I see you are located in Glasgow, I was in Scotland a year ago, but I only got to spend a day in Glasgow-I will definitely be back to explore!! I loved Scotland the most of the places I’ve been so far, mostly for the experience I had with the people-so funny and easy going.

  16. Good for you. Two things when you are pitching: the companies and hotels you cover need you as much as you need them. Links are gold on the Internet. Second, if I am planning a trip or even just going out to dinner I look for reviews and I look for people who blog who have been there. A good recommendation and I am much more inclined to take the plunge.

    My lovely wife, who blogs at http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/ is just beginning to develop contacts in the beauty and fashion business. But they are delighted to have a place to pitch their products. Good fun and a chance to try stuff she’d probably never even hear of.

  17. Another great way is to write for companies such as Thought Catalog or Elite Daily! This gives the companies you pitch to proof that you have access to editorial mentions on big name websites. I’ve gotten a sponsored trip to Hawaii (everything included even flights), a Carnival cruise, and a trip to the Bahamas, just so I could “name drop” the hotels and activities into travel articles. Thanks for the tips! I agree that all it takes is simply asking!!!

  18. Very interesting & well written article! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I’ve only just started myself, and realise all too well how much time, research, networking etc. it takes to get it going. My main motivation is the love for writing and sharing stories about the awesomeness of nature. But you never know where it might lead you – like the lure of meandering mountain paths that lead to unexpected views. It’s about the journey itself, not so much the destination 😉 Good luck!

  19. Thanks for liking my Day 2 girltravelsglobe blog post! I appreciate your insight in the above post since I am brand new to the blogosphere. Building that readership is tough and I hope to incorporate more social media than Facebook in the near future. This a learning experience for sure!

  20. Hoping to do this next year with pitching. I will be mostly doing service apartments and don’t know how they will do on the pitch. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  21. As they say, “No guts, no glory!” Well done, Caitlin, I’m just embarking on this blogging adventure (6 months in) and appreciate your sage insights and all your likes on my recent Thailand adventures. (Just getting home now and playing catch-up.) While I was in Thailand, I had the great fortune of being offered a special 50% off media rate at an awesome sports resort in Phuket with just a inquiry. That experience and your post has motivated me to write my formal pitch email template. Recently leaned into a 19 year old friend to get started on Instagram and I’m sure glad I did. What a giant cross marketing opportunity for bloggers! I’m finding the uptake much quicker than the blog itself. I don’t “do” facebook – and have heard mixed reviews – still considering that one… Cheers to all who have the courage, tenacity and ingenuity to live their dreams.

  22. This is extremely helpful and could not have come at a better time. I am also trying to get my blog off the ground and have been inconsistent for a little over a year, so thank you for the helpful tips + for not making it look easy…because it’s NOT! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment! Things have been much better in the last few months, so I definitely feel like the more time and energy I’m spending on it the more I’m getting out of it. All the best with your blog!

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