We live in a world where even my grandma knows how to check online for a review of the new vitamins she wants to buy. Tell me honestly, when was the last time you have stayed in a hotel without checking out the review of the place before you even made a reservation? Online reviews matter, there is no doubt. According to Forbes’ recent surveys, 93% of consumers say product reviews influence their purchasing decisions and 88% of consumers now trust product reviews as much as advice from friends and family. [Source and source]
I am busy planning my next trip, reading other travellers’ travel blogs about my next destinations and yes, contacting hotels and touristic places for collaboration. I have started writing about my travels approximately half a year ago so it is no wonder that brands do not come to me themselves (at least not the ones I want to work with). Still, I believe I did a great job so far and I continue growing. Regardless, I usually get a reply with many questions that do not make much sense or I do not get a reply at all. Here are all the things that influencers wish brands understood.
The Number of Followers Really Does Not Matter
Although, I start every e-mail with a short introduction of who I am, how many followers I have and how big is my blog (measured in the number of readers) this information is really not important. What you have to keep in mind is that my review is going to stay online forever. Similar to Instagram’s hashtags, blogs have its tags as well. This means that whoever searches for your product or service on Google, Bing, Pinterest or Yandex is going to come across my review about it.
One more reason why my following numbers do not matter is that I make sure my blog is seen by people who not necessarily follow me by sharing it on Reddit (according to Wikipedia, an American social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website) and many Facebook travel-related groups for bloggers and/or travellers.
How Many? How Much? How Long?
The most frequent questions I get are “How many photos are you going to publish on your Instagram?” and “How long is the blog going to be?” or something similar. The answer is simple – I do not know. It all depends on my inspiration and aesthetic vision. But I am willing to follow your wishes if you give me the exact minimum number of published photos and words you would like me to write on my blog. It is easier to discuss the amount of published Instagram Stories because of Instagram’s algorithm restrainings (posting too much content results being marked as spam). I am willing to post up to five photos/videos every day on my Story and always tag your brand’s Instagram profile if it has one.
I Am Not Doing It Just for Fun
This is a reply I recently got from a hotel manager in Oslo:
“Thanks for your interest in our hotel. We receive a lot of emails from bloggers and journalists, both domestic and international and for us, it is difficult to sort who are serious and have intentions of travelling to Oslo.”
Is it wrong if I find this unprofessional? I am very serious about my blogging career and I am not contacting brands to work with just for fun.
It Is OK to Turn Me Down and Please Do It
You are busy and you probably get hundreds of emails every day, I understand. But what I want you to understand is that I do not have a whole week for waiting for your reply. The response rate of emails I get answered is less than 20%, 90% of them are negative. Still, I prefer to get a no for an answer than to wait and maybe miss another chance because I have not contacted someone else.
It Is Not About the Money
Really, it is not. I could probably afford to stay in your 5* hotel for a week and pay for it. But if I do, be sure that I will not write down a single word about my stay. Why? Because I appreciate my time and I refuse to work for free. The period when I was working for free as a student to gain experience is long gone. Now it is all about your will to collaborate. I shower fast and not much food sticks into my stomach so the only expense you have with hosting me is not having another guest in the room that night who would pay for it. On the other hand side, my review can be judicious for travellers who are deciding between this and the other hotel. The same goes for all the other touristic activities.
Who Said Anything About YouTube?
“If you give them a finger they will take an arm” is a saying that is too often true in this kind of business. Asking me to leave you a review on your Facebook page, TripAdvisor or somewhere else is fine, I believe it is the least I can do if we decide to work together. But asking me to start making YouTube videos or to send you my photo material so you can use it without giving me credit is a step too far in my opinion. How much would you have to pay a professional photographer for a photo shooting?
The Ugly Truth – I Need It Just as much as You
You need a review, an opinion, a positive feedback. Well, I need blog material, clicks, readers, followers. Random people who discover my blog will come and go but my followers are the ones who read every single word I put out. They are just the ones who might get inspired and visit a city, a hotel or an activity which they did not even think about before.
One Thing You Can Be Sure Of
I understand that working with a brand is a serious job and I would consequently try my best to present an accurate image of it.
Are you an influencer struggling with the same problems? Would you like to expose any other? Let me know in the comment section below.
Check out the photos from my trips on my Instagram page @daisydadee. Feel free to follow my blog to get a notification when I publish something new. You can find the subscribe button under the comment section if you are on your phone or on the right side of your computer screen.