blogging Blogging 101

Is it Time to Reach Out to Companies for Complimentary Experiences and Products?

August 15, 2017

If you’ve been blogging for a while you may be thinking about connecting with other travel-related businesses.  Doing so can be a great way to further grow your content whilst saving yourself some money in the process.

Just how does one go about securing complimentary services and products in exchange for reviews though?

That’s what we’re here to help with!

Do I Have Enough Followers/Hits to Start Reaching Out?

It’s easy to look around at other bloggers and think that your social following isn’t high enough or that you’re not getting enough hits to your blog.

Try to ignore that if you can.  What you can offer is potentially of great value so don’t let those doubts get to you!

A limited number of views to a well-targeted, engaged audience is worth more than a great number of views made by an unengaged, un-targeted audience.  The rise of the micro-influencer is real!

Think about those times you’ve seen a friend post a review on their Facebook wall and you’ve thought ‘awesome, I’ll have to check that out for myself’.

The content you create works in the same way for your followers, regardless of how many there are.

What matters more than your stats is what exactly you can offer.  For any deal to make sense it has to work for both parties, but don’t worry, chances are you bring a lot more to the table than you even know.  Sometimes quality does matter more than quantity.

Be Genuine – Keep your niche in mind

First of all, it’s important that the companies you reach out to are ones that you would want to promote in the first place.  If you weren’t receiving a complimentary product or service would you still be interested in them?  If there wasn’t a trade off, would you still want to write a feature on your blog?

As a travel blog looking at bucket-list adventures, it wouldn’t make sense, for example, for us to partner with a fitness supplement.  We’re not an authority in that space and it’s not an area that either of us have a particular interest in (though for our own health, we probably should be!)  By comparison though, we love connecting with brands that offer adventure activities, city exploration, memorable accommodation, tech gear and adventure clothing brands.

Seriously, look at some of the amazing companies we’ve had the pleasure of working with and places we’ve been.  We love them through and through and that’s what it’s all about.

If the brand you’re thinking of approaching spins your wheels then you’re off to a great start.

It’s Not Always About the Numbers

Ignoring your statistics first of all, what is it that you’re good at?

Do you write highly engaging narrative style blog posts?  Is quality research second nature to you?  Can you write an informative city guide with the best of them?

Maybe you have a keen eye for photography or a knack for being in front of the video?  Are you personable beyond compare, with the ability to build genuine relationships with people from any background?

If you take your audience out of the equation, you’ll be able to focus on finding your point of difference without the self-doubt that may have plagued you earlier.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that your audience doesn’t matter but let’s pretend for a second that you don’t have anyone reading your blog (though clearly that isn’t the case!)… if you create amazing content which is then shared on by the company that you’ve worked alongside, that content still has value, right?

Likewise, if you create an amazing post now that lives permanently on your site which over time grows in popularity, that post continues to reach your growing audience.

Let’s Put the Numbers Back in the Equation – Look on the bright side

Every business has a strength.

Take us for example – though we started with the blog, it was Instagram that really grew initially for us so when we first started reaching out to potential collaborative partners, we made sure to explain our key strength – social media.

We use our media kit to share the information that potential collaborative partners might need to see to make their decision but focus on what we do best in regards to statistics.

We intentionally share our key blog demographs (specifically age, gender and location) as that information can really help a business decide if our audience fits within their target market.

You’ll notice we also provide testimonials from previous collaborations and links to some of the posts we’ve written so people can see we’re the real deal.  Unfortunately we’ve heard of some bloggers (though fortunately we don’t know any ourselves that fall into this category) who have a bad habit of over-promising and under-delivering – for this exact reason, we share details of some of our previous successful campaigns.

Whatever you do though, be honest in the information that you share.  It’s one thing to celebrate your strengths and focus on what you do well – it’s another thing to inflate what you’re able to offer.

So, Is It Time?

Quite possibly, yes.

Regardless of where you’re at on your journey, consider what you can bring to the table.  Can you offer something to a business that will potentially bring them genuine new leads?  Are you able to write a review so amazing that you’ll convince people to support them (only if they deserve it of course!)?

Try not to get caught up on what you’re currently developing and instead celebrate what you can offer.

Above all, any exchange should be a fair one.  Bloggers who are able to offer a lot generally require an additional payment for the services, whereas newer bloggers may still be required to make a partial payment on a high-value product or service.  When you consider what your time and offering is worth it will give you an idea as to what the trade-off might be.

Businesses are out there and as long as you’re honest in the information you share and put your best foot forward, at the very least you’ll provide businesses with the information they need to make an informed decision.


Would you like our opinion?  If you’d like to leave a link to your site in the comments below we’d be more than happy to share our thoughts as to whether you’re ready to start pitching.  Need help working out what you point of difference is?  We’d be happy to work with you to figure that out too!

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16 Comments

  • Reply Dorothy August 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the great advice. I need to start giving myself more credit and seeing what I can bring to the table. Would love your input on how I can better my blog 🙂 https://dotsdestinations.com

    • Reply Sarah - Exploring Kiwis August 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Hey Dorothy – I love your blog! It looks like there’s lots of really specific content in there which would be a great help to readers about to embark on trips to the same destinations. As far as next steps for you, these are the things I’d do if it were my blog (keeping in mind that we all live different things and I’m still on this journey myself)…

      *I would give your ‘about me’ box its own page so you can really expand on it. Why did you start your blog in the first place? Who are you looking to help? It’s awesome to see your family in the mix – I’d love to know more about you all.
      * I would keep a more summarised version of your ‘about me’ box on your homepage but I’d bring it up to the top so people see it right away. I would go into details here about the ages of your boys etc but instead use it as a brief way to intro yourself and most importantly what people might expect to get out of your blog. This will help make your niche clear when you reach out to potential partners. If you’re after an idea, you’ll see ours as the top comment on the right-hand tool bar.
      *I’d consider matching your social media account names to your blog name – it’ll make everything look more streamlined and professional.
      *and finally, I’d consider adding in a structure to your site so that people can find posts easily. I know you have the search bar but sometimes I get ideas when I look at places/activities but I won’t always think to search for them. Eg. when you go into ‘destinations’ at the top of my menu, you might see Middle East and then Oman and have a nosey without planning to. I think this is especially important if you’re going to reach out to people as they’ll want to know that the content you make can be easily found by future readers.

      I hope that helps a little? Remember, those are just my thoughts – there’s no right or wrong x

  • Reply Vicki August 15, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Sarah, I’d love to get your advice on my blog and what I can do to improve it. I am still trying to grow my social media accounts to feel comfortable enough to start reaching out to companies, any advice there would be great also!
    http://www.lovetravelwilleat.com

    • Reply Sarah - Exploring Kiwis August 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Hey Vicki – lovely to have you along with us 🙂

      As far as growing your following, this is what we did to get to 36,000 Instagram followers -https://exploringkiwis.com/instagram-intensive-build-authentic-following-fast/ – it’s a bit of a process but you’ll get there. Facebook is the hardest to grow in my opinion but I find creating videos can help as does sharing viral content (that fits your niche of course) as you can then invite anyone that liked that post to like your page (and if it becomes really popular it’ll get shown to friends of friends that aren’t linked to your page).

      I’ll take a look at your site now and will get back to you x

      • Reply Sarah - Exploring Kiwis August 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Awesome, here we go 🙂 Love the pastel colours and the way you’ve formed your niche. Words like ‘adorable’ and your afternoon tea/panna cotta posts along with the colour scheme feel very feminine (I hope that’s your target market anyway as that’s what it says to me).

        As far as next steps go, I think you have a few in line with Dot so please forgive a little copy and pasting:

        *I would give your ‘about me’ box its own page so you can really expand on it. Why did you start your blog in the first place? Who are you looking to help? What do you do outside of the blog? For work?
        * I love the summarised blog intro on the right but just a couple of things. ‘Hi There’ doesn’t need a capital T, I wonder if it’s possible to make your picture bigger and centre it above the text (see my example) and can you add paragraph spaces to make it a little easier to read?
        *There is a fair bit of repetition with the way some of your posts display on the homepage too. eg. the panna cotta post was displayed 4 times – I wonder if it would be more useful to display all of your current posts (maybe with a focus on the most recently published, as we do and then focus on my next step so people can easily find what suits them…
        *in reference to the last point, I’d consider adding in a structure to your site so that people can find posts easily. I know you have the search bar but sometimes I get ideas when I look at places/activities but I won’t always think to search for them. Eg. when you go into ‘destinations’ at the top of my menu, you might see Middle East and then Oman and have a nosey without planning to. I think this is especially important if you’re going to reach out to people as they’ll want to know that the content you make can be easily found by future readers.

        Would love to hear your thoughts. I’m no expert but those are the things I’d consider if it were my blog <3

  • Reply alifeofhappenstance August 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Great post Sarah! I’d love if you could look at my blog and give me some pointers!
    http://www.alifeofhappenstance.com

    • Reply Sarah - Exploring Kiwis August 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Jennifer, lovely to hear from you. I’m not sure I’m qualified to give any pointers but I’m happy to share my initial (unqualified) thoughts 🙂

      *I love that you’ve got a menu set up so people can navigate around your blog – it seems to be hiding under those three lines up in the right corner though (which won’t be obvious to everyone). Is it possible you’re using a mobile design for your web-based readers? It also says to follow on social media but when I click that it actually opens up your menu – some might find that confusing too – personally I’d just stick to the social media buttons as anyone that may follow you there will know what the buttons are.
      *Your ‘about me’ page is awesome – really personal and much better than ours! I’d look to add a little box introducing yourself on your homepage though along with a summary of what your blog’s about… I had to go looking for your ‘about’ page to find your name and ideally I’d have liked to have connected with you a little more personally before that.
      *A small thing, but I’d give your tagline (sharing recipes that are free of gluten, grain & refined sugar!) a capital letter and would probably use a normal ‘and’. It might also be worth adding one of the benefits there… as someone who’s not particularly health conscious I must admit I look at that tagline and it doesn’t appeal haha. If you made it along the lines of “Healthy food that’s incredibly delicious – you won’t believe it’s all free of gluten, grain and refined sugar!” it’d be more likely to capture my attention (kind of like focusing on the good rather than what some people would perceive as being a limitation).
      *Re the posts themselves, I wonder if it’s possible to display the most recent post with most if not all of your text? New readers to your site won’t always be invested enough to click ‘read more’ so I think you want to make it easy on them 🙂 You’ll see on our homepage how we have the most recent post displayed in full for that very reason.
      * Lastly, I think it’d really serve you if you ran your photos through an editor to bring out the colour and texture in them. I can make up a little post outlining what I do to mine if that would be of help? I generally just use the Instagram options (I particularly love ‘lux’) as I find they work well and are nice and easy.

      Anyway, some things to think about 🙂 You’ve got a lot of great stuff on there and it’s obviously very, very closely matched to your niche so I don’t doubt the followers you pull in will be very invested in what you’re writing!

      • Reply alifeofhappenstance August 17, 2017 at 7:04 am

        Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to look at my blog and give me feedback! I didn’t even realize that my social media icons were taking visitors to my main menu!

        Thank you for the compliment on the about me page. I never intended to share such personal info but in the end decided it was important to be genuine about why I started the blog and hopefully it will help someone else enjoy yummy food that’s healthier!

        Great idea to change my tag line and to have my latest post in full on the homepage. If you have the time to write a post about editing photos you’ll certainly have one reader at least😀

  • Reply Courtney August 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    This post is so helpful! I’m also blogging about travel as well as some lifestyle and photography tips. I’d love some feedback. I’ll be following you for sure. Glad to have come across your blog!

  • Reply Courtney August 15, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Oops. Had to fill in my info so I thought it would show up in the comment.
    https://peaksandwaves.com

  • Reply argeymum August 15, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Absolutely fantastic advice! Could you please look at our blog and see what you think?! I’m having trouble giving myself enough credit for sponsorship!

    Our points of difference are:
    1) One of the few family travel blogs that allows their kids to give their thoughts on long term travel through their own (short and often clumsily written) articles.
    2) Acknowledges that a family trip with young kids can be stressful and even fills some people with fear and dread. 😜
    3) We made the decision to travel (out of the blue, with only 3 hours of discussion) and 5 weeks later we were on a plane. That was 18 months ago!! So we know all about getting things organised quickly, and getting on the road quickly.

    https://lotsofplanetshaveanorth.com

    Thanks so much again! A brilliant article!!!

  • Reply Trish Boyte August 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Hi Sarah, thank you for sharing this with the group it is just what I needed as I feel we may be just about at the point of reaching out even though our following is small. I would love any advice you have for us regarding our content and neiche – thanks so much, regards, Trish
    https://campmothers.com

  • Reply Shelanda August 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Sarah, I happened to find your blog through Dorothy’s question. I would really appreciate if you would take a look at my blog http://www.onlygirlinthehouse.com. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Reply Katie Elizabeth Lind August 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I followed this article and advice to a T and was majorly hooked up with a company in Guatemala for an upcoming trip – I am small time people! You’re my new hero 🙂

    http://www.instagram.com/viva.explorer is about all I got going for me but your advice was amazing.

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