If we compare pitching a partnership to a pair of jeans, then you already know that when it comes to pitching yourself, there is no “One Size Fits All.” Even if there are sizes you can squeeze into, there is nothing better than a custom pair of pants – that are made especially for you.
So if you’re sending out the same generic email and media kit to everyone you want to work with – we’re begging you to stop. We’re not suggesting that you spend hours creating completely custom materials for every single pitch (because that would be a total time suck) but they should absolutely “speak” to who you’re pitching too.
The key to pitching is not really about what YOU want…it’s understanding what THEY want (brand, destination, tourism board) and being able to demonstrate how you will be able to make it happen for them.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Working With Brands: How to Reach Out to them.
If you’re on the hunt to work with travel brands, getting to the right person is half the battle. Yes, you may strike gold with a generic email address you find on their website but there is nothing like your pitch landing in the decision maker’s inbox right away.
While we don’t have psychic powers to help you find the brand’s direct contact in a split second, we do have some creative, “out of the box,” ideas to get you started:
1. Ask a fellow friend / influencer buddy for an introduction.
If you’re in any Facebook groups, comment pods or even have formed relationships with others on social media and have noticed them working with a brand you would like to approach – ask them if they’d be willing to make the intro. Then of course, make sure to thank them and pay it forward when you work with a new brand down the road. Remember, no one likes a mooch.
2. Sign up for SocialRank.
SocialRank is a great tool that lets you analyze your followers. What if a travel brand is already following you and you had no idea? It allows you to pitch to warm leads versus cold ones. We highly recommend this tool!
3. LinkedIn is your friend.
LinkedIn is where you may be able to find the exact name of the person working with your target brand, tourism board, hotel, etc. Once you get their name, you can play around and try to figure out their exact email address. For example – if on the brand website it lists a company email as:
NZadeh@brand.com – now you know that the company’s emails are most likely email@example.com. (We know, Nancy Drew would be proud!)
4. Pick up the phone and ask.
We know this is a totally obvious idea but it’s definitely not done enough. When you call, be prepared to be transferred directly to the person you’re looking to speak with because the company may just put you on the spot.
5. Industry events.
There are so many travel conferences and trade shows around the world where travel brand representatives go to mix and mingle so these events may be a great place to meet contacts in real life. There is nothing like that human connection and hitting it off with someone, right?! For example, at the New York Times Travel Show, tourism boards from all over the world come together in one room. How’s that for being productive! Note to self: BRING CARDS.
How to Pitch and Land Brand Partners.
Now that you have found your direct contact, the next step to seducing a prospective client or brand partner is doing your homework. If we use a tourism board as an example, you can easily visit the country’s website and see what exactly they are promoting and how that relates to your personal brand. Basically, you need to figure out how you can you help them promote their key messages and incorporate that into your pitch.
It’s like when you’re interviewing for a job and they ask, “why should I hire you” or “why would you be the best for the job?”
Pitching yourself to a brand, destination or tourism board is no different. Ultimately, it’s al