What Makes You Worth Working With
Lesson 3: What Makes You Worth Working With. Recommended time: read and reflect over the next few days.
What makes you worth working with? Why are you the perfect person to represent my brand, my company, my tour, and my destination?
A Tourism Board director was enthusiastically telling me about a conference she has attended, where one of the keynotes was about selecting the right bloggers and influencers to represent a destination or event.
This one of her favourite pieces of advice, and it's one that you - the blogger - need to remember for yourself.
These are just some of the domains you could focus on and yes, you do need to pick a main theme or feel for your blog.
And it has to be consistent with the outsiders perspective.
Here's what I mean. When you speak to a sponsor and say "I'm an adventure travel blogger!" they're going to set up a very different activity, and expect a very different angle from you, than if you say "I'm a fashion travel blogger!"
Through consulting, I've come to realize that one of the most common issues a blogger faces is a disconnect between branding and content.
"I'm an adventure blogger!" says the chic young woman posting photos of herself in adorable outfits up against a hot pink wall in LA. "I'm an adventure blogger because I feel that going to new cities without a plan is an adventure. I like to wing it, and be adventurous!"
That's great! But that's not adventure travel blogging in the eyes of the internet.
Climbing mountains, scaling glaciers, and deep sea diving is what readers, and sponsors, expect when they see the words "adventure travel blog" and it's important to keep this in mind.
Did you ever get this advice - don't care what anyone thinks of you?
If your best friend's sister's boyfriend brother's girlfriend says "Ferris passed out at 31 Flavours last night..." er, I mean "you can never be a successful blogger!' then definitely don't listen, don't care, and let that one go.
When it's how your business will be perceived though.... What other people think is very important.
We've all seen the travel blogger, IG influencer hate posts floating around Facebook. Instagram lies about birds in photo, why you should boycott travel bloggers, travel bloggers who are actually interesting that you should follow.
How do you avoid being one of many, and make yourself distinct enough that, even with so many bloggers to choose from, sponsors will choose you?
It's the title of a really good book, by Simon Sinek. Worth reading, but for the sake of this lesson I'm going to summarize the core take away.
Here's his Ted talk, if you're interested:
Sinek talks about a concept called the Golden Circle. On the inside, Why. On the middle circle, How, and on the outer circle, What.
Everyone knows what they do, but very few people know why they do it.
Here's what you do: you travel blog. Simple. Give yourself a check mark.
Here's how you do it: travel, take great pictures, write great blog posts, hit Publish. Fantastic, another checkmark.
Answer this one, big, overwhelming question and you will forever have your answer to "does this content/ photo/ caption/ partnership work with my brand?"
I'll give you my answer: I believe that everyone can lead an adventurous life, without giving up their career or education ambitions.
(Answers the questions "Why should they work with you?" too!)
I truly believe this, and I write about it. I've written about taking short trips, having adventures nearby, and half of my Instagram photos are 'local travel.'
Can you answer the same question about why you travel?
Truth be told, I'm a geek. I love to learn. I was in Ireland over the summer and on my second day, I was cooped up in my Airbnb flipping through tabs of scientific journal articles about the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Ireland. Next night, I was reading up on the Great Irish famine, and the night after that I spent an hour reading about the monks who illuminated the Book of Kells.
Go ahead and take me to a beautiful French Polynesian, bikini destination. You will find me on my stomach on the beach watching sea turtles and recalling something from Planet Earth about their mating patterns.
It's who I am.
Put in all together... and you have a Why Statement
WHY: I believe that you can travel while pursuing an education and career that you are a passionate about, HOW: by taking short, adventure packed trips, and making the most of the world around you. WHAT: I love writing about history, how things work, and take every opportunity to learn new things.
And I tell sponsors this, every time.
We're going to start telling your readers, and potential business partners that come calling. You'll need these answers for future activities, too!
- What are my favourite things to do while travelling?
- What type of experiences do I consistently look for?
- Going back over my photos, what was most important to me?
- What is my message? (Yes, you have one!)
- What topics do I get excited to write about?
- How do I want people to feel when they visit my blog, Instagram account, or Facebook page
- What do I want people to think about when they read my blog?
Can anyone guess what I'm going to tell you to do next?
Yes! You're so clever.
Delete your life story. If you have multiple paragraphs about your life story and what inspired you to travel, your first trip abroad, leaving the love of your life to travel, then you already know that all of that needs to go.
Your About Me page is not about you. It's about how you are unique, and how you can serve your readers and your partners. Here's what you should include:
- Your Why Statement
- Your travel philosophy
- What you love to write about and share
- Links to favourite blog posts that really represent you and your blog.
Sponsors absolutely do read these pages. I know, because I've had multiple sponsors and partners comment on things they read on my page. This is your first impression. Make it good!
- a variation of your Why Statement at the very top.
- any previous experience that makes you worth working with.
- a list of the services you offer.
- a contact form.