As the brains behind one of the Web’s premier resources for independent travelers, I’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of travel brands, from household names like MasterCard and Expedia, to the national tourism boards of Israel, Norway and Thailand, to local and even individual tour operators.
If you’re a brand looking to work with influencers like me, consider this a road map to follow.
Do your homework
I don’t work with “good” brands or “big” brands – I work with the right brands. If you want to get an influencer’s attention, use his own words and accomplishments to show him why he needs to work with you.
Communicate – and commit
Be direct about what you’re willing to give – and what you expect to receive in exchange – but keep your word, even if you haven’t signed a contract yet. I built my platform with transparency and integrity, and I expect the same from brands who want to leverage it.
Exchange value for value
Pay me what I think I’m worth, not what you think I’m worth. Remember, my audience wants to know what I think about your brand, not what your brand thinks about me.
Make things easy
All brands I work with want me to Facebook, Tweet and Instagram about them while I travel, but only smart ones make sure I’m always connected, even in the middle of nowhere. If you want influencers to sing your praises, give them the sheet music.
Offer solutions, not excuses
I recently worked with a safari company who barely got me to Africa alive, but it wasn’t their mistakes that relegated them to a three-word mention in my blog – it was their refusal to acknowledge and correct them.
Trust me, I’m an influencer
Feel free to ask me for questions and clarifications, but realize that I operate the way I do because it works – I didn’t get 150,000 monthly readers for no reason.
Ask me on a second date
Long-term relationships are the foundation of my success as an influencer. The longer we work together, the more I trust your brand – and the more I trust your brand, the more my audience trusts your brand.
Robert Schrader is a globetrotting writer and photographer whose blog Leave Your Daily Hell inspires, informs, entertains and empowers more than 150,000 travelers each month. When he’s not leveraging this platform to help brands reach customers, you can find him riding his bike around Austin, TX, probably on his way to yoga – and certainly much too caffeinated. Fun fact: Almost all the pictures you see of Robert on his site are selfies.