July 8, 2014 | Posted in:Brands and Bloggers Connect
It’s always in the best interest of both brands and bloggers for a media-sponsored trip to go smoothly. A happy blogger will guarantee a positive review for the brand, and an organized, generous brand will provide bloggers with a getaway they might not be able to book on their own budget. In 2012, I was a guest of blogger Rene Syler from GoodEnoughMother.com for the launch event of Disney’s cruise ship Fantasy. I attended the fabulous christening of the ship in New York’s harbor and later sailed on the Fantasy along with hundreds of select bloggers and their families on a week-long excursion “test run” right before the ship was opened to the public. It was an amazing five-star vacation that gave me a glimpse and a taste of how a brand can successfully master a media trip. Disney is a brand that does it right! We tweeted and posted about the trip for weeks after. Check out one of my posts below.
For the bloggers, the Disney cruise was entirely covered, and that made the trip very enjoyable. One of the reasons I value Disney as a top brand to deal with in such trips, is that the brand’s generosity is reflected in their facilities: ice cream machines on every corner of the ship, helpful staff always willing to watch the kids while adults were fine-dining elsewhere, and Michelin-starred chefs catering to all guests. Even ones traveling without children, like me.
Last week, we interviewed blogger Maria Colaco, the active voice behind The New York Mom blog. Having been on many press trips, Maria advises bloggers to know what they are getting into when considering a sponsored media trip. Maria says to ask the right questions before embarking on a journey. Are all expenses covered? Is there a gas stipend? How is security handled on international trips?
In our case, Rene and I were reviewing the Disney Fantasy as a general experience. But as Maria says: “It helps to ask the PR people: What are you trying to push? What’s the message you’re trying to get out? And then find a story according to what they want.” Maria believes that there is a lot of power in blogging, and that their influence is recognized by brands who will set the bar really high on the trips in order to leave a great impression that will show in those prized tweets and Instagram posts.
But no matter how pleasant the trip, it’s still really not a vacation. In order to remain objective and maintain the integrity of his or her brand, a blogger must stay professional and give a balanced review. Maria says: “Oh my goodness, it’s anything but a vacation! When my family comes with me, my kids love it, my husband loves it, it’s great, and I do the business part of it while he takes care of the kids. There’s an itinerary, so you’re set on a plan for you to do the entire time that you’re there. You can’t just take naps because you’re missing out on activities, which is unfair and unprofessional. It’s work, and I think a lot of bloggers forget about that part and they get into it saying, ‘Hey, it’s a free trip.’ Always remember you’re there for a job. ”
If you’re a blogger who participates in sponsored trips, we would love to hear your tips on what you consider when deciding to be a part of a press campaign.
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TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee. Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on email@example.com.