Travel Blogging Like A Boss with Kita Roberts

All right, guys. A lot of faces I don’t
recognize in here, and then a lot of faces I do. Sweetie, don’t
sit in the corner. It’s OK. I got [INAUDIBLE]. She can sit with me. Come on. Come on, nobody puts
baby in this corner. I’ll sit up here, man. That will just
make me feel weird. There’s a chair here. I mean, like no pressure. If you were just zoning
out and checking your email and you weren’t really into
it, like I totally get it. I’m sure there’s
chairs out there. We could bring it in. I can grab more of
those big chairs. This table makes a good chair. How many of you
have already done traveled content on your site? OK. So like, half the room. And how many of you are– all right. What are we predominantly
blogging about? One at a time. Food and travel. Food. Food and travel. [INTERPOSING VOICES] [INAUDIBLE],, which
ties in some travel. Food, but I started to
travel blog right before I started blogging about food. And I couldn’t continue it. Anyway, it’s a long story. Dessert. I know. Food and some travel. Should have been more specific. Dessert. Food and fitness. Food and fitness. Rock out. Food. [INAUDIBLE] All right. So I have this amazing story. I have an awesome story about
how I got into food and travel. I’ve been a photographer
my whole life. When I was six
years old, I decided I wanted to be a Nat
Geo photographer. I used to flip through
Nat Geo magazines. Taught black and
white film photography when I was in high school. And then, I went out
and I got a real job because you got to put
your adult panties on and you got to be an
adult. And I hated life. But I didn’t know I hated
life because I was an adult. And I just thought you paid
the bills, and this is life. So I did it. And I did it for a few years. And I was good at it. I grew a couple of businesses. I did a couple of things. And then one day, I
picked up my camera and I started this food blog
because I was reading this food blog called Culinary Concoctions
by Peabody at the time. It’s now Sweet Peas Recipe. And I thought, this
chick’s hilarious as shit. I can do this. And she’s actually really funny. She writes Sweet Peas. She’s super-snarky. And she bakes like a
boss, and I can’t do that. And so I started food blogging. And that was before
food blogs had business plans, and
monetization, and all of that stuff. And I picked my camera back up. And my first few photos
sucked because I didn’t care. And I just was trying
to be snarky and funny and write some stuff
about some food. And then as time
went on, I realized I loved taking photographs. Duh. And so the blog grew. I was sending more and
more time doing it. I launched a second blog in 2013
as well, all focusing on meat called Girl Carnivore. Launched that. Got heavy into
photography again. And then, I decided
probably in– I think it was spring
of 2013, I decided that I was going to act like
there was no backup plan. And that I was a
photographer, period. And last summer, I
left my full-time job that I’d been a manager
at for 11 years. And I’ve been
freelance ever since. 100% freelance food and travel
photographer and writer. So this is what I
do for a living. People tell me you
can’t make money at it. I love it. I spoke to a huge conference
not that long ago. There was like a whole
room full of people. And people were like, but
you don’t make money at that. I was like, I pay my bills. I’m here today. I’m dressed. What are you doing? So 100% food and travel writer. I have this amazing story
about how I went to Cambodia, and I climbed a
fucking mountain, and I did really cool
shit, but somebody took my thunder yesterday,
so I’m not going to– [LAUGHTER] So I’m not going to even
bother with that crap. If anybody really
wants to do it, apparently you just
go to Southeast Asia. You climb a mountain. You come home. You’re like, I’m going to
not do a job ever again. Drink some Kool-Aid. All right. So we’re not going
to go over that crap. Because like I said, half
the room knows me anyway. In the past two years, I have
traveled to over 20 countries. And since quitting
my job last year, I have not been in one place. Actually, this is the longest
I’ve been in one place. I’ve been in South Carolina
since like, the beginning of March, which is the
longest I’ve been in one place since leaving my
full-time job last year. So it can be done. A lot of fun. I love my life. My life is probably one of
the coolest lives that I know. That’s a lie. I know some pretty rad people. I know some pretty rad people. But the disclaimer
I always give when I’m giving this talk to rooms
full of people, when I look out into the crowd and I see
all sorts of awesome people, beautiful women,
hardworking ladies that have amazing partners
at home, and children, and stylized houses
that are clean, and a pet that they feed, I
always put it in perspective. Always put it in perspective. My life is not your life. And it’s not going
to be your life. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I don’t have a mortgage. And I don’t feed
my dog some days. What I do is going to be
different from the capacity you guys are doing this in. That being said, it’s
super-rad and y’all can do it. And so I’m really
excited to talk about it. So we can talk about the steps
that I’ve taken to grow this. We’ve only got 45
minutes in here. I didn’t know we were
going to have TV, or I would have done the slides. We weren’t sure. [INAUDIBLE] Life goes on there. They’re just like shiny,
fancy pictures of me doing stupid stuff
in other countries. So my other option was– I wasn’t really sure how
today was going to go. So we can talk more about what
I did, and how I got there, and whatnot. And I can continue
to talk about me. That’s weird. Or my other idea was to open
this up straight up to a Q&A. Because we’re supposed to be
targeting advanced bloggers here at Mediavine today. And when I speak with
a pre-written script, unfortunately when
you’re speaking to a variety of people, you
kind of have to be broad. So same thing. If I was talking about
photography up here in front of you guys,
I’d be being super-broad and I wouldn’t be able to
address your individual needs because I’m talking
to 15 of you. 17. Close enough. So how would you
guys like to proceed? Do we want to open
up straight to Q&A, or did we want to go into a
few more minutes about how I went from straight food
blog to a travel writer? I’m curious, do you reach out
to people to get your trips? Yes. Because all the trips I’ve
done, they’ve contacted me. I’ve never actually
pitched anybody. But I would love to. Yes. I just don’t know how
to go about doing it. Yeah. So as food blogging
was like, peaking back in 2013, before Pinterest is
booming and whatnot, yeah. So emails start rolling in. Emails start rolling in. Emails start rolling in. And so yeah. Initially yes, for most of my
work, people would come to me and they’d be like, hey, we
got this swanky new place. We want to bring you down
for a few days and whatnot. Yeah, that’s amazing. And this goes back
to everything. Any sponsored work you do
for any brand, any company, and anything you do, like it’s
fantastic to come to a place and hang out for a few days
and have it all covered. But if you’re not getting
paid, you’re doing it wrong. That’s everything. I don’t care how fancy the grill
is, how beautiful the purse is, you can’t represent the
brand unless they send you that product anyway. Product for trade
is not work, period. You’re already good enough or
they wouldn’t have emailed you. They got to pay. And they know
they’ve got to pay. The problem is food bloggers
are not getting paid. Check out what
travel writers are getting paid, what
Instagrammers are getting paid, what vloggers are getting paid. People are getting paid. The money is out there. Food bloggers are
undercutting each other and limiting what they’re worth. And it’s a problem. So how do you go about that? Just like in sponsored
work, going that next– I guess I feel like a $1,000
trip is a lot to be covering. It is. But you couldn’t have
covered it if you hadn’t gone on that trip, right? No. Exactly. I can’t write about your
resort unless I’m there, right? But on top of it,
now you’re talking– so I have a trip coming
up in a few weeks. I’m supposed to
go to Mississippi. Woo. But hey, it’s a thing now. So anyway. But it’s right up my niche. I’ll be working with some chefs. We’re going to be like,
doing some butchery. It’s going to be awesome. I know that that’s
content for me. I know that that’s
content for my blog. But at the same time, it’s
a day traveling there, two days where we
all know we’re not going to sleep because
we run before sun-up, answering the emails. We hang out all day. We get to come home. We get to write stuff. We got to check the metrics. We got to answer calls. We got to do stuff. We get to bed at 2
o’clock in the morning. We get three hours of sleep. We do it all again the next day. And then, a day traveling home. That’s four days of your time
that you’re not making recipes. You’re not blogging. You’re not styling photos. You’re not writing
fitness articles. That’s four days. That’s worth money. So I charge a day rate when I
travel in a travel capacity. And you’ve got to determine
what your day rate is. It will vary from
person to person. But my first question, my first
reply is, thank you so much. Really love to talk to you. I’m going to be in– like I got an email the other
day from this beautiful place in California. Hey, I’m going to be out
in California in July. It’s going to be awesome. It might be in my
neck of the woods. Hey, what are you talking
about for day rate? This is my day rate. Let’s proceed. The more you respond as if
that is the way it should be, the more people answer you. Because frankly, it is
the way it should be. So they just come back
with you and they tell you what their budget is. So do you usually ask
them their budget, or do you go ahead
and [INAUDIBLE].. I never state my budget. You don’t state your day rate? I will never state any
money until the client has stated a budget first. OK. So you just ask, what’s your– Always ask what your budget is. –budget for day rate? Yep. Is that kind of how you say it? Yep. I’m super-excited to
work with you guys. This looks right up my alley. What’s your day rate? What are we covering? What’s your day rate? And what are the deliverables? And you want this in writing. See? A lot of the travel
is a little bit vague. So you’ve got to
figure out what you’re getting paid, how you’re getting
paid, when you’re getting paid, and what the expectations
is from the client. Because if you don’t know
what your deliverables are from your client. Because if you think
food blogging’s a niche, let me just tell you. PR people in travel is
like a smaller niche. And the moment you get on
their shit list, good luck. So you’ve got to know
what the expectations are. Under-promise? Oh, always over-deliver. So you’re charging a
day rate that’s covering your time while you’re there? Yes. Are you also charging for
the blog post coverage, or is that– That depends on the rate that
I’m going to charge them. So that’s why I need to figure
out what the deliverables are. So once we get into negotiations
about the deliverables. So say you have a
client and you’re going to go on a three-day trip. You’re going to be
there and whatnot. So now you’ve got, you’re
going to pay me, period. What is the work that you expect
for the money you’re spending, period? And so from there,
you’re going to find out what your actual work is. If it’s a blog post. If it’s 6 Instagram posts. Is it a story? Is it Instagram story? Is it Snapchat? Is it Twitter? Is it all of these things? So you have to determine
what the rate is and what you’re willing
to do for that rate. But at the end of
the day, you need to consider how much time you’re
actually spending on this. And frankly, you’re probably
not charging enough. Just know that. There’s another lady in this
room a minute ago that said, I’m going to reach
out to a company and I’m going to say,
hey, if you cover my food, I’ll write about you. Nah. Like three times that easily. If you cover my stay,
I’ll write about you. Worst they’re going to say
is you’re coming here anyway, we already know it. We’re not going to
cover your stay. We’ll give you a
media rate, which is something every one of you
can ask for immediately right now. Every hotel you ever walk
into, what’s your media rate? Every one of you are media. And then, you can
negotiate from there. But always, always,
always ask first. You’re never going to get
it first if you never ask. Second of all, every
one of you in this room minus the cameraman,
sorry, is a female. You’re not asking for
enough to begin with. Women never ask for enough. Men will always ask for more
and never feel guilty about it. Women are always like,
oh, I write about food, so maybe you could
cover my dinner. No. I had to drive to
the restaurant. I had to sit there
for three hours. I had to take photos. I had to hobnob. That was annoying. I had to drive home. No. You’re not just
covering my dinner. You’re paying me $250 to
come sample your new menu. And it was 3
minutes up the road, and I wrote about it
on one Instagram post. Dinner. And that’s just because
I was home on Tuesday. How do you know what to charge? How do I know what to charge? I know there’s [INAUDIBLE]. No. Because I change my
rates every chance I get. Dude, if I get the hint
that I can charge more? Hell, yeah. How do I know what to charge? I don’t. I don’t know what to charge. I wish that there
was a formula for it. I wish that there was
like, blogging 101. It’s not. Because everybody is different. And that’s the one thing. Everybody is very,
very different. Every one of our audiences
is very different. So you have to figure out what
your audience is worth to you and what your time is worth. Break it down. Make an Excel sheet, right? Break down the hours you
would actually spend on this. You’re going to spend
four days at this resort. Then, you’re going to spend
six hours editing those photos and writing a post. Then, you’re going to spend
three hours marketing it on Facebook. You’re going to
write a newsletter. I mean, how many days
are you invested now? You’re looking at what? 24 hours just in
blogging content alone. How much would you be
being paid an hour if you were sitting at a desk
producing this type of content? Because it’s probably
not $10 an hour. Do the math and find out. Because the other
thing about this is we don’t check out at night. We don’t have the luxury
of checking out at night. Like, my friends
come home at night. They punch out. They can do whatever the hell
they want all night long. It does not matter if
the office is on fire, they don’t care until
they walk in the next day. We’re answering emails at
2 o’clock in the morning. What the fuck is wrong with us? Stop it. Stop that. I set office hours
on all of my email. It pisses people off. I tell every one of
my brands, I will answer you between 9:00 and
5:00 Monday through Thursday. And then, I don’t. Because I’m a dick. But think about that. Actually, break down. Track your hours for
a few of your posts. Even if it’s just
baking up dessert. Track actual how much time
driving to the grocery store, sourcing the unique
ingredients, writing the post is, and you’ll see how much time
you’re investing in this crap. And then, break down what
you’re worth per hour. What’s your audience worth? Your fitness audience or
your gluten-free audience is valuable to the right
brands, to the right companies. That’s money. Girl Carnivore makes more money
than Pass the Sushi ever did. Pass the Sushi’s
pinnable content. It’s got cupcakes on it. Girl Carnivore is
not pinnable content. The numbers and down here. Comparatively, my
money’s like, boom, up here for Girl Carnivore
because my brand is locked in. And I speak to an audience. And that’s what the brands want. Same as for travel. Are you a mom that’s
got kids that’s going to travel to Atlantis
and swim with dolphins? Are you going to RV your life? Are you rugged? Are you going to
be outside running? Are you talking
about fitness travel? What is your demographic? Because don’t try to be
something you’re not. Your audience comes
first in everything. So first and foremost,
it’s your audience. So you’ve got to figure
out how this works with you guys and your audience. Because it’s got to be authentic
and it’s got to be real. I’m never going to
be a luxury blogger. You could not put me
in a fancy restaurant. I’d be like, awful. I’d have to pick my
nose or something. It would be great. But that’s not my
brand and that’s not the clients I resonate with. And that’s not who my audience
is going to resonate with. So first, you need to
make sure it’s authentic and it fits before
you’re just like, I’m going to write about hotels
because I want free stuff. Stop it. Get paid. 2. Figure out how it actually
resonates with your audience. And most of you, like if most
of you are food bloggers anyway, you’re already talking
about your life. Like your audience already
knows who your kids are. They know who your dog is. They know the code word for like
your boyfriend or your husband, or whatever. Like, they know it. And they know your
story and they love you. So it’s a natural fit
if it’s a natural fit. I mean, likely you’re going
to take a girls weekend and you’re going to hang
out in Sonoma Valley. And it’s going to be cool. That’s a natural fit
because that’s your speed. You’re never going to be on a
rock wall in Yosemite climbing El Capitan. That’s for me. That’d be bat-shit crazy
for the rest of you. You got to make it work. And then, you got to
find those brands that align with that value and your
client’s value, your reader’s value. Because if your content isn’t
aligning with your value, it doesn’t matter how awesome
your post is because you won’t get the numbers anyway. You can’t keep the
brands, period. Same for any sponsored post. I think most of us are
moms and we would like to travel with our families. Bless your heart. [LAUGHTER] That was Southern of me. For me, it would be
difficult to say, I am going on this awesome swim
with the dolphins in Atlantis and I’ll see you later. But you would take your family. Right. So why wouldn’t you
take your family? Well, my question is,
do you factor in– Feeding all of them. Well– The cost of– Yeah, the cost of the family,
or do you lump that in? Obviously, one room. I have a room. Yeah. So you’ve got to
figure that out, too. Now you’re feeding more mouths. Exactly. You’re doing more activities. So you’ve definitely got to have
that conversation with yourself and your brand as it grows. You’re not going to
wake up tomorrow and get a hotel stay in Atlantis
and swim with dolphins, and it’s going to
feed a five family, and they’re going to put you
up in the penthouse suite tomorrow. So you’ve got to build. And you’ve got to take
those steps, right? So maybe the first trip is a
media trip because you were– media discount because you
were going to go to Atlantis and swim with dolphins anyway. Yes, that’s my point. All right. So first step is you get in. You show the content. Because especially
if you don’t have a travel section on your blog
right now– first things first. If you don’t have a travel
section on your blog right now, put one up because you’ve
been on a family vacation. You’ve got pictures. Write about shit. It’s there. Write about the content
you’ve already got. All the content
you’ve already got. Don’t use me as an example. I’m super-lazy. I haven’t written,
like a travel post in like seven months
on my own blog. I’ve got like 90 of them. But I also freelance
to other companies. So finding the way it
already fits and a way you can already start to leverage
it and work from there. Pitch it as if
you’re already a boss lady who travels to Atlantis
and swims with dolphin for free. Already speak with
that confidence, but know that you’ve
got to work this in. And is it resonating with– is the value in
it for the brand? Because if you’re new to this
and you’re a dessert blogger, they’re not going to
immediately understand how your audience is going
to then be worth the money they’re investing in you. So for me personally, it’s
all about life is sweet. So the sweet destinations. It doesn’t necessarily
have to be sweet food, but the sweet experience. So that’s how I’ve
worked it into– Exactly. –my brand. But that’s how you
need to sell it, too. And that’s exactly
honing in your audience, knowing your niche, and
then marketing it that way. But immediately, like
my first thought is, well, this is a cake blogger. I’m the hotel, or
I’m the hotel chain, or this person or that person. How is her audience
valuable to me? Well, I think– so
personally, I wrote about– again, the sweet experience. The neat thing to go do. But if it’s a resort
like that, a lot of times they value their restaurant,
their dining experience, their menu, whatever it is. And try to find what’s
unique, or what their house special, or that sort of thing. I 100% agree with you. I’m not arguing with you. I think that’s fantastic. I also think– I’m doing it right then. No. And I also think
sweet experience is super-good branding. Roll with that shit. Love it. I love how that ties
in with your blog, too. I Think that’s
exactly right, though. But you’ve got to be able
to resonate with that. So maybe you are
going to go to a place and you’re going
to stay somewhere. And you’re going to write a
blog post that follows this up that’s a sweet experience. Like me, I know I’m going
to write five downtown bars to get drunk at in Charleston. I’m going to write that post. I’m going to write the five
donut places to [INAUDIBLE].. Exactly. So maybe you don’t just
reach out to the hotel. Yeah. So now, you’ve got
multiple avenues, right? You’ve got the CVB. You’ve got the tourism board. You’ve got each donut shop. Now, in a place like Charleston
where they’re a little bit trendy, they’re not going
to need your thing so much. Like, this whole city’s
full of hipsters. They don’t need you. They got Instagrammers on flip. They got 90– like, it’s
a little ridiculous. So you got to
leverage it, right? So you’re going to
walk into Glazed and they’re just going to
roll their eyes at you. That’s cool. You’re still going to
write about Glazed. But that little mom and
pop shop down the street that nobody knows about yet,
and they’re just trying out and they’re not on Eaters
Top 10, that’s your money. So like yesterday,
I went out for lunch and I found this
little barbecue joint that nobody knows about yet. It’s good stuff. I didn’t stand in line up the
street at the popular one. I went to the guy who’s hustling
still, who’s passionate still. He’s going to have
a line next month. That’s the guy. And that’s who you talk to. And what’s great about
that is, in my opinion, that’s better content anyway. Because you can Google top five
donut places in Charleston. We all know to go to Glazed. Shit’s good. They know what they’re doing. But I guarantee you, five,
six, seven streets over, there’s another place and
nobody knows about it yet. Right. And it’s your job to really
give that valuable content. OK. You’re the expert. So essentially, your
day rate would also cover all this research
that you’re doing as well? It would. Yeah. If I’m getting paid x
number of dollars a day, it’s my time while I’m there. So my time while I’m there,
however I want to spend it. I also make sure that when
I’m in a place for a few days, I’m leveraging multiple angles. And this is where you do need
to get intelligent and savvy and have your
lawyer on retainer. Because once you get
in a travel context, you need to know what
the travel agreement is. So I write for other
freelance networks as well. So I need to make sure that
if I’m Instagramming something while I’m in a place, I have
not signed an agreement that says that my content
produced in that place is owned by that company. Because that’s not what I want. I want to be able to go to a
place and talk about the place while I’m there for
the reason I’m there while I’m building six other
articles on other things I can sell later to other
people or for my own site. So I might be in
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean talking about playing with arctic
wolves and epic snow sports, because that’s what I’m
there to write about. But I’m also documenting
food the entire time because I know
that’s going to fit in for my audience over here. So I’m already selling. In my mind, I’m like, how can
I market this multiple ways so that it’s worth my time? It’s worth my investment. So always have multiple
outlets when you go to a place. Don’t go to a place
just for one thing. If you’re not pitching
six or seven stories, like you’re already
losing out on money. Hey. Sorry. Why are you sorry? Because I’m late. Shit happens. There’s a chair back there. Oh, OK. I mean, nobody’s
sitting there right now. So if you pitch somebody–
a resort or whatever. You pitch them to cover
your stay, expenses, meals. A day rate. I don’t like, have to break
down that it’s my expenses. It’s my meal. So your day rate
covers your stay? Yeah. So I’m going to
make enough money– [INAUDIBLE] Yeah, I’m going to make
enough money that my time and travel is well-covered. I’m also going to
assume that they’re going to buy me dinner once or
twice, because they probably are. So I’m not going to pay for
my meals while I’m there. If not, pro tip. Tinder’s really easy. You can get a lot of free meals. I’m just saying, I’m
leveraging that shit, too. I’m not above it. But that’s all in
my negotiation. So I’m coming to XY
Resort in Charleston. It’s beautiful. I’m here. I’m a food writer. I’m going to be talking
about your sweet desserts, or your gastropub,
or your fitness– there’s a really
cool spa in Austin. I’ll talk to you. I mean, they put me there. And it was like, yeah. And I don’t write about
massages and whatnot. Weird. So you’re going to
make sure that your– once again, expectations
and deliverables are very important
with the client. So if the client knows they’re
bringing you to a place because they want you to
experience their menu, you’re not paying for food. That’s silly. Why would you go
to a place and then pay for food when
you’re there to write about the food and
your experience? So your day rate
is not necessarily separate from the hotel rate? I’m not paying for any of that. They’re paying for that. I won’t even see that bill. OK. But I’m trying to clarify– And then in addition to– You come here and
it’s $300 a night. So they’re comping you
the room, but then they’re also paying you an
additional day rate. Yes. And then if you write
a blog post about it, you’re going to charge
for a sponsored post? Yes. But that sponsored
post might have already been factored into how I
justified whatever it was I was charging for the day rate. So you’ve got to– And that’s all based
on the deliverables? Exactly. So my sponsored post might
have already been like, if I know that you
want to post now, you want me to write
an x number of word, x number of images post, cool. That’s going to reflect what
I tell you my day rate is. But I’m never going to see
the bill for the hotel, or the food, or
anything like that. The transfer from the
airport, the plane tickets. That’s not my problem. That’s them. OK. So then, they’re
covering your meals. You go to dinner. Do you order a bottle of wine? Yes. OK. So you just order
whatever you want? I mean, I’m not an ass about it. No, I don’t order like– I don’t– I’m saying, you order what
you would typically order? Other things I– You don’t try to get– And that’s a great thing. That’s a great question. So other things I never order. I drink. I don’t drink wine, but I
will sample wine with dinner because you should
sample wine with dinner. And you should be able
to write about it. So I’ll sample wine with dinner. But when I go to the bar on
my own, I buy my own drinks. I never charge the
hotel for my drinks. Another thing I always
do is I tip accordingly out of my own pocket. Because it is totally a
douche move to not tip people, like let’s be real. So what I always do is I always
have enough cash in my hand to tip the host, the
hostess, the hotel, whatever the person–
at the full value of whatever the meal was. Because chances are, that
person is super-nervous, too. They know that you’re media. It gets weird. I have restaurants
in my hometown, like I can’t walk into anymore. I’m like, it’s 2:00
in the morning. I just want fried cheese. I’m not here to write
about you, dammit. Just let me have fried cheese. And they’re just
like bringing out– I’m like, stop it. But like, I always
make sure that there’s cash in my hand to make sure
that you’re showing gratitude to those people that are
busting their ass for you. I also follow up with every
one of my PR companies. So back to one of those
original stories where like years and years and
years and years and years ago before people were
monetizing any of this stuff, I got sent to a hotel near me. And it’s simply because
I had the audacity to reply to a pitch and be
like, hey, that’s near me. Can I get a free hotel room? And I did. And I got free dinner. And it was awesome. And I wrote about it, which
this was before deliverables and negotiations and whatnot. But it was the
first time doing it. It was new and shiny. I wrote about all of that. Once again, PR people. It’s a small world. Last year, I was at an
event with another client that I worked for. I shoot events for this
company up in Pennsylvania. It’s a managed
property sort of event. They have shops, and retail,
and resorts, and chefs, and that sort of thing. And they know me
and they love me. So I go up and I
shoot their events when they’re having
parties and stuff. And we all have fun. What I did not know was
their marketing company is the same marketing
company that sent me to this resort
three years ago, four years, five years ago. It’s been a while. I end up shaking hands and
having cocktails with them. They were so impressed
with my work ethic then before it mattered that
I have shot for them seven or eight times since then. And we now have a
fantastic relationship. So I totally preach
being good to people. I mean, you can’t beat that. That’s just fundamental
human right there. Just be good to people. Be good to all the people. Because this is a small enough
industry that it matters. Under-promise, always,
always, always over-deliver. And so that’s been a
fantastic relationship for me. And they think of
me for other stuff. I mean, I had to photograph,
like an old folks home last year. But they knew I could do it. And I’m a photographer
and I was in the area. And that was a check. And it took me two hours. Boom. So you never know
how you can leverage the contacts you already have
or the ones you’ve already made. Yes. If we could go back
to very, very basic, for those of us who are
just [INAUDIBLE] into this and trying to get a few
articles on our site. You mentioned the
media rate at a hotel. I actually didn’t
even know that, so I feel really basic here. That’s OK. So when you’re
asking, are you doing that for even just
a regular travel that you were just
already planning to do? Yeah. I’m going with my
family to such and such. I’m a social influencer. Ask for the media rate? Always. Then, what is the perceived
expectation there? Hopefully, they reply
with you to a media rate. I don’t just like
tweet them or I don’t– I will call the front desk. I will find the manager. I will make sure I’m speaking to
the actual person that matters, not the 1-800 number on
the website for the chain. A lot of these chains, a lot
of these parent companies have– if you do some research,
you go to their websites. You do some digging. You can get on their media lists
and things like that as well. So you want to do some
digging into these companies, these chains. And you want to find
out what their list is, how to get on it, who
your point of contact is. OK. And then you tell
them, like yeah, I’m coming through this
blah, blah, blah, blah. Wherever I’m going
on x and o date. Do you have a media rate? Another thing you can do– super-savvy right here. Say you are traveling on the DL. You didn’t ask for
a rate and whatnot. When you check into a
hotel, when you are actually speaking to the person
at the front desk, every single time
always ask, is that the best rate you can give me? Legally, they are obligated
to tell you the truth. I don’t know if that’s legal. Don’t quote me on that, lawyers. Sorry. They’re obligated at
that point to give you the best actual rate. It’s a good thing to have. What are they expecting? Is there an expectation
on the part of hotels? Yeah. Well, once again, even if I’m– What would you
deliver in that case? Even if I’m emailing them. Like hey, I’m coming to x and o. I’m bringing my family. I’m going to be in
town for three days. This is my family’s
vacation spot every year. I’m going to be writing
about it on my blog. My blog gets x and o followers–
blah, blah, blah, blah. Or, I’m going to be sharing
it on my Instagram story. So I’m already telling them
what the deliverable is. Even if you’re just
asking for the media rate? Yeah. OK. Yep. Not that being said, I have
traveled in a capacity for like clients and whatnot, where
it wasn’t in my deliverables to talk about the
hotel, so I didn’t. OK. I didn’t forget about you. Go ahead. All right. Go ahead. Sorry. OK. So I’m just now thinking
about getting started. My blog is Life,
Love, and Good Food. So hopefully, I’ve kind
of encompassed that in the name of my blog already. And I’m already booked
on a trip this fall with my husband
and another couple. It’s a cruise in
the Mediterranean. So we have– Which line? Royal Caribbean. Awesome. OK. So we haven’t booked
any of our excursions or any of the extra stuff. We haven’t fully paid for the
cruise yet, so I’m thinking, can I go backwards? I don’t think you
can go backwards. But you can leverage
it forwards. And I would say if you’re in any
of these food blogging groups, or you got foodie friends and
whatnot, I’d put it out there. Who’s got a point of contact
with Royal Caribbean? Because they’re out there and
they do work with bloggers. And you fit a very unique
demographic for them that they need. Yeah. Well, this is going to be
all empty-nesters and– Exactly. And so for you– and like
cruise blogging is like a thing. It’s like a Reddit subreddit. So I would get [INAUDIBLE]. The only problem with that
is I heard on the news this morning that Russia’s
sending a ship out– Let’s not go there. We’re inside. Don’t– So that’s the only problem. But A, don’t worry about that. Yeah. So you want to, A– all right. So you got to think about this. I’m going on a cruise. Cruise blogging’s huge. Let me find out what circle. I mean, there’s 10,000
cruise blogging Facebook– there are people that
make a living doing nothing but review cruises. I would hang myself. Sounds like a [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] Just sounds boring. But not boring for a vacation. People like, they
go every week, man. That’s weird. But find out. Get into the cruise
blogging Facebook groups. Find out who the point of
contact is at Royal Caribbean. Make that relationship. Because if it’s too late
to monetize this event that you’ve already booked and
you’re already planning anyway, you make the relationship. You show great content. You’re now on Royal
Caribbean’s list. And girl, they take more
than one cruise out a year. And you’ll see that. A lot of the food
bloggers that have done cruises with food
lines, they’re back. They do another cruise with
the same company next year, next season. New restaurant on a ship,
new port or something, they bring you back. These people love you. I had that happen with Alaska. I took my mom on a trip. It was just purely a
birthday trip for my mom. And I ended up writing about it. [INAUDIBLE] to go on a much
nicer cruise back to Alaska going up to Denali. So they reached out to you? [INAUDIBLE] The cruise line directly? Did you follow up
and send it to them? I’m sorry? Did you send a follow-up
email, like sending all of your blog posts? No. I just posted it
on my blog post. And I Instagrammed
it along the way. And they found you? They picked it up. And there you go. Like, your value is there. Like, here’s a person
who already fits our– like she’s already doing it. She already fits our niche. This is a natural fit
to me as the PR person. Like, now you’re not a stranger
that writes about cakes. And not like, I
don’t get it yet. You don’t have to sell me. She already knows
that– she or he already knows that’s good content. I’m not telling
you you can’t sell. You can totally sell it. But I’m saying like, I can
see why the person then reaches out. I wanted to know if you also
write for travel magazines or other publications? Yes. How [INAUDIBLE] them? Like a maniac. I do, yes. So yeah, I write
for Matador Network, which is a travel network
geared towards millennials. Like bull? Yeah. It’s called Matador Network. Yep. And whatnot. Yeah. Man, if you think exhausting. Like if you think
it’s exhausting just pitching normal stuff. Yeah, you just pitch. It’s the same line. Same line. So you’ve got your idea. You’ve got your content. You send them two or
three lines about it, why it would be a
good fit for their– obviously, once
again, like I’m not going to pitch a cruise to the
Mediterranean to Lonely Planet, like that doesn’t
make any sense. That’s not their demographic. So make sure the person– the readership and
the article content that you’re trying
to pitch and sell is geared towards
the demographic. So can you double dip? You’ve been paid to
go to this resort, write a blog post
about it, whatever. Can you then pitch
a magazine to say, hey, I’d like to write an
article for you about– The food– [INAUDIBLE] Exactly. I just said I was in
Canada last month, and I’m rolling
around in the snow because I’m there
covering extreme sports. But I’m taking photographs
of every meal I eat. Once again, read
your fine print. Make sure you have
not signed anything that says that the content
you develop during this trip is exclusively the rights
of the people that sent you. And for the most part, it’s not. It’s still publicity for them? You’re probably not going
to sign with the place. You’re probably going to
sign with the PR company that works with place, or PR company
that’s working with event, or thing, or yada yada yada. You’re not signing with
France to go to France. You’re signing
with like, a thing. But that’s why– so
for me, I’m always looking at multiple content. You cannot– and it is
super-unethical to pitch the same thing to multiple
brands at the same time, like that’s just not cool. But can you pitch a different
story, a different experience to multiple brands? Hell, yes. Leverage the shit out
of that experience. Like, make it. Get as much mileage out of
that experience as you can. So yes. So when you pitch,
how are you finding– you said France. So you’re pitching to a
convention visitors bureau. You’re pitching to a chamber
of commerce or something? Maybe. Or I’m finding a
PR company that’s representing a
province in France that happens to be like
where I want to go or do something I want to do. So I will stop down. I will trickle down,
like as far as I can go to find that person. Because there’s a person there. Every one of these emails
you get that’s like– [INAUDIBLE] Exactly. Every one of these emails
you get that’s like, try my granola bar. There’s a person there. Find that person. Reply to them and talk to
them like they’re a person. That’s what I was
going to ask you. How do you find all these– I have PR reps that
contact me for [INAUDIBLE].. How do you go about
finding other ones? So I’ll start digging. Like if there’s a
place I want to go, I will stalk the crap
out of their network. I will stalk their Twitter. I’ll stalk everything. And then, I’ll start
stalking the PR company that represents them. I’ll start stalking
the individual. I’ll get down to the person
that manages their account. Another thing I’ll do, because
I have great relationships with the people that I’ve worked
with, I’ll email my friends. I’m like, hey, I’m going to
go in Dallas in four days. You know anybody in Dallas? Yeah, I do. Let me email you. Boom. Let me make an
introduction for you. Like I said, this
is a small world. If you’re good to people. They’re going to be good to you. So same thing. That same company that
I worked with years ago didn’t know it was a thing. I was like, hey, I’m
going to go to Austin. She was like, dude, I got
this contact in Austin. I ended up at a spa. I got like, some four-hour
massage with some prickly pear. I think it mattered. I don’t know. If it was really weird. I told the lady,
I was like, look. This is weird. Can we just talk about stuff? And then we actually ended
up talking about stuff. And then she gave me a hug. And I was like, but
I’m still naked. [LAUGHTER] I don’t know. I’m just not a luxury blogger. But that’s what I’m saying. But I would never have
had that experience had I not asked for
the thing that I didn’t think I was worth. It’s great. It’s good stuff. So hey. Hey. So how did you move from
just asking for media rates to day rate? If I pitch a hotel
[INAUDIBLE] media rate because I’m going on
a trip with my family, I feel weird saying, OK. So I’d like a media rate. Oh, and also– So it’s not one or the other. Well, I’m sorry. It’s not this and that. It’s one or the other. Exactly. And so like, now you’re
striking up a conversation with the PR person. You’re now having a natural
dialog with the PR person. You’ve introduced yourself. They think you’re fun. You’re not cold
emailing this person. You’re not being like,
hey, you manage Texas. Can I get free shit
and paid, period? They’re like, delete. No. So you’ve already
introduced yourself. You’re like, hey,
this is my blog. I get this many readership. I’m working on building
my family travel content. Your resorts an excellent
example of that for my thing. This is what I’m planning. This is my itinerary. These are the dates
I’m going to be there. I would really love to
feature you on my blog because my blog’s
super-valuable. And here’s another thing, guys. Like, true story. The travel writers and the
Instagrammers and whatnot, their shit’s good. Food bloggers have
readership on lock. Like, our readership
is exponentially bigger than the rest of them. So you have to sell that. Do not be afraid to
tout your numbers. Travel bloggers
numbers are way lower. Why is that? Pinterest. I’m totally blaming Pinterest. Cupcakes. People don’t travel
as often as they cook. Exactly. You cook everyday. You travel every
once in a while. Yeah. And I also think
like, there’s a– I think food
blogging was probably a thing, an established thing,
before travel blogging became a thing. So I think we just had better
momentum going into it, if that makes sense. I think we already just had
like a little bit of a wave. That being said, they came
in and got paid better. So like, we all got to
get on the same surfboard. Going to be a crowded,
little surfboard. So then from a
branding perspective, you think it’s OK to– like I’m in a Southern kitchen,
which doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with travel. So that’s not awkward
with pitching? I think you’ve got
to think about how that fits with your audience. So how are you going
to naturally put travel into a Southern kitchen? So like, Girl Carnivore is
an all meat-based website. How am I going to
talk about travel on an all meat-based website? Well, shit. Who does not love coming to
a place and eating barbecue? So the first thing I do
when I come to a place is I get on Instagram stories
and I’m like, oh, my god. Girl Carnivore is in Charleston. Tell me who’s got
the best hot dog? And I’ll tell you what,
people eat that shit up. I get so many replies. I’m like, I don’t really care. But it sounded really
good because I already knew where I was going. Like, I already had a list. But now, they love you. They love Southern kitchen. And you’re going to
come to their town and you’re going to go, where’s
the best biscuit in Nebraska? And they’re going to go– [INTERPOSING VOICES] And they’re going to go, yeah. I could be wrong. Nebraska may be amazing. I don’t know. But do you see what I’m saying? Like, same thing. You’ve got to think about this. How does this transition
naturally and harmoniously with your blog? Or are you forcing a fit
that doesn’t really exist? Are you just trying
to do something because you think it looks
really cool, or is it, I went to Nebraska. I did this really cool stuff,
because everybody knew Nebraska was the super-hip place to be. I mean, maybe. Boise is awesome. Who knows? Different state. But you know what I’m saying. Unexpected. Well, see? Mine is that we’re
empty-nesters now. So I travel now
more than I cook. So I don’t have as much time
for the cooking end of my blog. Can I leverage what
we’re actually doing now? Yes, definitely. But maybe it’s about
like, maybe you travel and you experience
a different flavor because you’re a
Southern kitchen. And you go to New York
and you have something that’s uniquely Northern. You bring the experience home. You write about it,
and then you cook something in your
own kitchen that resonates with the audience. And yet, you’re telling
them about this story. So maybe it’s an ingredient. I’ll look for like unique
ingredients and stuff like that. I’ll buy a jar of something
that I can’t get at home. And I’ll bring it home. So for me, I’m already building
that sixth or seventh post. Like something as
easy as buying– like when I was in
Canada getting frostbite in negative 40, they are known
for their wild blueberries in blueberry season. Apparently, when it’s not
snowing, it’s gorgeous. For like what, three days? So I smuggled home jars of
natural delicious blueberry juice. Because in my mind, I already
know that seven months from now when it’s warm out, that’s
a cocktail post for me. And I’m going to
reference the article that I sold to a
travel network that’s going to bounce back to that. I’m linking within myself. My audience grows. And I’m getting more
content out of it. I’m stretching the mileage
of the one thing I did. Yeah. Could you give a real example. I heard a very similar thing
from some travel bloggers at another conference. Sweet. I’m not making this shit up. No. They’re like, don’t take
a trip unless you’ve got three or four at least
outlets for that content. Exactly. But I think for those of us who
really aren’t in this thing. We don’t have all
these contacts with all these different avenues. It’s kind of hard to
understand or picture. Could you give an example
from one of your trips and be like, OK. I did this trip and covered
that, and then I went to this– So like, exactly. So this trip. So this trip, have you gone
out and eaten anywhere? Yeah. It was terrible. Well then, A, you did it wrong. [INAUDIBLE] reviews. It’s hard because– All right. Well, tell us there
it was so we know. It was Sticky Fingers
Barbecue, [INAUDIBLE] chain. I think that’s a
really funny name. Because I’m an adult. It’s one of the only places
that has a gluten-free menu and they prepare safely. [INAUDIBLE] But you know what? I would totally like– I would be honest
with my readers. I did on Instagram. Because I’d already
Instagrammed the menu– And TripAdvisor. –and everything. So they were thinking
I’m recommending it. And so then, I said,
sorry, I can’t. It was pretty bad. The people were really
nice, but the food– Exactly. But that’s OK. You’re allowed to be
honest with your audience. Like, you are flat-out
allowed to be honest. I will value an honest review
more than anything else. And so like, my first thing
when I get to a restaurant, I’ll ask somebody what
your favorite dish is. And they’ll tell
you like 90 things because they think they’re
supposed to sell you the menu. And I go, what’s the one
thing you wouldn’t eat? And they’re like, oh, god. That. I’m like, well. Just to share on that. So we asked the server who
came out, we were like, you guys make sweet tea. Do you make it in in-house? What’s your favorite place to
get sweet tea because we’ve never had the tea here. And he says, McDonald’s
has the best sweet tea. But that’s OK. He thinks that McDonald’s
does have the best sweet tea. Does it really? I don’t know that it does. But I’m saying like– Actually, Chick-fil-A
has the best sweet tea. But like– and that’s
a Southern thing. Amen. But that’s OK, though. Because his perspective
is– he doesn’t know that you’re a
well-traveled food writer with a really defined palate. Like, that dude really does
think McDonald’s sweet tea is the shit. Yeah, he did. And it’s a buck, right? Like, it’s a buck. For your value, it’s like,
a big, giant cup, too. So I mean– He’s like y’all get
yourself to McDonald’s. Best sweet tea. But that’s OK. And you like, bat your
eyes and you giggle at him and you ask the [INAUDIBLE]. Like, the first
thing I do– so I was being interviewed for a
magazine not too long ago. I had this huge spread
in this magazine. It was really weird. And this dude had like– he
sits and starts talking to me. And he was very dry, political
reporter and whatnot. Really weird dude. And he just wasn’t getting it. He wasn’t getting this thing. His like, life. It sounds really weird. So you just travel places and
you take pictures of shit? I know it sounds
so fucking easy. Meanwhile, I have no
toenails right now, guys. Like, true story. I got frostbite in
Canada because I was above treeline in negative
40 in the middle of February taking photos because
my job is to take the photo, no matter what. I get paid to do shit. I did shit. The air was freezing in front
of us as we were breathing. So my whole face
was covered in ice. And I had serious frostbite. It was so disgusting,
I didn’t Instagram it. I’m like, I’m thinking
like, this is content. Oh, this is so content. That’s when you back date it. Oh, no. Like, it was so– So only people searching
for it will find it. It was like so
disgusting, I couldn’t take a picture of my feet. To send my besties. Like, it was that kind of gross. By the way, frostbite’s not fun. Like when it’s that
gross, that’s bad. It’s bad. And then I was like, dammit. You missed a
content opportunity. I’m so pissed at
myself for not taking photos of my grody ass feet. I totally forgot where
I was going with that. Where was I at before I
got to talking about really gross feet? [INAUDIBLE] Oh, yeah. So my job was to take the
pictures, like no matter what. And so like, I did it. I got some gorgeous shots,
but it was crazy hard. Totally got off on a
foot tangent there. I’m really sorry. Apparently, you should also
not divulge the foot tangent on the first Tinder date. Apparently, it’s weird. I was like, well,
I figured you ought to know what you’re
getting into. All right. Have you been to
a TBEX conference? Yes, ma’am. Do you have some tips
for speed networking? I’m going to my first one. This month. This one coming up in Alabama? Yes. I am so sorry. It’s in my back yard. I am so sorry. I’m going to go
to that one, too. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not pumped about it. Well, it’s literally
[INAUDIBLE].. Oh, no. And I think it’s like– so if you guys don’t
know what TBEX is, it’s travel blogger yada
yada yada yada something. They do what’s
called speed dating. And I hate it. I hate it. They put all the
brands in one room and you can make appointments. You did your blogger
dashboard and you’re making your appointments and all that. All right. So you make appointments. You get 10 minutes. And you sit down and you talk
to dudes for like 10 minutes. And they’re like, oh, cool. We’re going to follow up. And then you get like
9,000 business cards. It’s totally– I just
filtered the sentence I was going to say. It’s totally not fun. And it’s not authentic. And it’s not real. And I don’t think that’s the
way good relationships are made. So how do you make
the best of it? So when I get there,
I do the same thing. I’m a cocky-ass motherfucker,
that’s what I do. I hang around, and I like
wait for all this shit show to happen. And then I just walk up
and actually talk to people like they’re human beings. Can we hang around
you when we’re there? Totally. Please do. Because I hate– like I’m never
going to walk up to somebody and be like, here’s
my business card. I get x and o followers. I don’t want to be
spoken to that way. So like last year, I was
watching this whole shit show happen. Or two years. Fort Lauderdale, I did. The reason I say I’m sorry
is I’m really disappointed in their brand list this year. I think their brand
list is super-short. And I’m like, dude,
that’s not even cool. Because it’s in Alabama. But on top of it,
like that’s their job. Their job is to bring media in. And it’s like, seriously, like
Alabama, Mississippi, Alabama, Mississippi,
Massachusetts, Alabama. I’m like, what the shit? I’m not paying to come to
a conference to network with Oklahoma, Alabama,
and Mississippi. There’s like one
France and one– Scotland. Ireland. Ireland. And a few Canada, too,
which are good resources. So target, have that list. Know who your target
demographic is. I’m not going to sit down
with [INAUDIBLE] Davis, NPR, because I’m not a
travel luxury blogger. But I watch the
shit show happen. Everybody’s like,
running around. Cards being shoved
in people’s faces. Numbers being sat down. I’m like, I got
100,000 followers. What can you do for me? And it’s just like this thing. And it’s like super-aggressive. And I don’t like it. I get that that’s
good for some people. That’s not my thing. So meanwhile, I’m
just kind of watching. And this one chick
in the back corner has not had a chance to
eat her breakfast yet because she’s the only
one at the booth that day. And people are not
letting her breathe. And she’s trying really hard
because her job is to be there and to get as many
business cards as she can, and talk to people, and take
notes on her potential clients. And so I just walk up
to her at one point. And I was like, why don’t
you go take five minutes? I’m going to sit here for you. And she just looked at me. It was like, oh, my god. Thank you. And she went to the bathroom. And she was able
to eat her biscuit that she had gotten
at 7:00 AM, and it was 11:30 in the morning. I’m never going to
write for that company. It’s a travel luxury
blogger, but I treated her like a human being. Because of that, she’s
willing to go and talk. And I don’t do that because
I was looking for anything. I truly just felt bad because
this young lady had not had a chance to eat her biscuit. Like I was like, this sucks. This sucks for
everybody at this point. So treat people like
you want to be treated. So I don’t sit down and go,
hey, send me to Great Britain. Because that’s not
a good relationship. I sit down and I actually try. And you only get 10
minutes, so you’ve got to do this [INAUDIBLE]. You’ve kind of got to have
a script in your head. Like, have a script in your
head of like how you’re going to be a person that stands out. Once again, if
you’re a food blogger and you’ve got good numbers,
you can already leverage that. We went around earlier. You weren’t in the room. I don’t know if you’re
a food blogger or not. [INAUDIBLE] There you go. You might have great
numbers, I’m not sure. But try to leverage that. But don’t– I would say try
to be different in that I wouldn’t walk up,
shove a business card in somebody’s face, and try
to like instantly make a deal. Get names. Get a few good
things about them. Get a reason for
them to like you. And then, follow up in
an email with a pitch. But follow up within
the next week. Because 9,000 other
travel bloggers are following up with
emails immediately, too. And you’ve got to get
through that waft of shit. So what I also do is then I
take all those business cards. I put them into an
Excel spreadsheet. I take notes on everything
we talked about. Those little fun
facts about people. I have a system of
remembering people. I’ll ask you your dog’s
name or your pet’s name. Once I’ve got that, I can
meet you six years from now. And that file comes up in
my brain and I know you. And you really want
to make somebody feel good and love you, ask
them how Fluffy is doing. Because they suddenly think
you are the bee’s knees. But that’s like, my way
of remembering people is what that human contact is. So take a note. Take Excel
spreadsheets, and then write when you
followed up with them. And if you really had
a great connection and you really thought
it was a good partner, have a schedule of when you’re
going to follow up again. Because they’re going to get
back from TBEX and they’re going to be followed up with
10,000 other emails as well. And they’re going
to be busy as shit. And they’ve got to
report to their boss. And they’ve got to
justify all this. And they’re going to need to go
have a Xanax with their wife. I totally get it. So then, like three weeks from
then or three months from then, hey, you know what? I loved our conversation
at TBEX Alabama. I’m going to be traveling
through blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’d love to add some content. Could we consider maybe me
bouncing to your wherever at the same time? Do you think it would be more
advantageous to send something by snail mail? Depending on the demographic
of the individual you’re speaking to. The older [INAUDIBLE]. You got it. You have a couple minutes left. Thank you. I was just thinking that. So yeah, it’s not going to
work on some of these CVBs that are just a bunch of kids
that are interns that are there for six months, and then
move onto the next CVB that move on to the next CVB. But MSL cruise line
always has older people sitting at their table. I don’t mean that
rudely, but that’s going to be a
demographic that you can speak to more authentically. A more mature audience. Exactly. And they’re going to
appreciate that more. [INAUDIBLE] somebody else? Negative. You’re good. Oh, OK. So next month, I’m going to
Utah for another conference. It’s rad. Are you going? No. It’s just their hashtag, use it. Oh, it’s rad. Well, Utah is rad. Sorry. That’s their
[INAUDIBLE],, really? Yeah. Utah is rad? It’s one of them, but yeah. That’s pretty funny. So I’m going there
for a conference, only for like
three or four days. But I’m there for a full week. I bought my Airbnb,
but I haven’t done anything with flights
or anything out there. What’s the first
thing you do when you know you’re going to a place. You haven’t bought a
ticket yet, but you have to be there for a
conference [INAUDIBLE].. What’s the first thing I do? Yeah. Change my profile
location in Tinder. So I can already be
scoping out possibilities. If you think I’m
joking, I’m not. What’s the first thing I do? So I’ll start researching what
it is I want to write about. Is there any place
you contact to? Exactly. So if I’m like, I’m
going to go to Utah and I’m going to write
about craft breweries. You’re probably not. It’s Utah. Never mind. Mormon jokes. All right. I was going to say– By the way– There’s more than
you think there. No, I know. I’m sorry. Not Mormons. Craft breweries. No. There’s a lot of everybody. Don’t get that wrong. There’s no hatred
towards Mormons. Please don’t take it that way. Or craft brewery. But my point is like,
so you’re like, OK. But that’s a good segue
for my blog, right? It’s a fit. So I’m going to talk about
I’m going to go to Utah. I know I’m going to hunt out– we’ll make this
more natural for me. I know I’m going to hunt
out a barbecue joint. So I’m going to hunt
out a barbecue joint. The first thing I’m going
to do is go on Google and I’m going to Google
the barbecue joints. And I’m going to have
a list, and then I’m going to find out
who the person is. And then I’m going to
start making some contact. And I’m going to start
talking to the people I know that might know the person. And I’m going to start
leveraging it that way. So I’m going to have five or
six articles already in my mind. Because also, this
is like they said. If you don’t have five or
six articles in your mind before you get there,
you’re not going to take the notes
you need to take. Five or six articles for where? For your own, or you mean
for all these places– All of it. [INAUDIBLE] All of it. Because if you can’t sell it,
it’s still going on your site. It’s still content. But you might as well have
five or six intentional plans before you get there. OK. I have a quick question. So you’re seeking out
the barbecue joint that nobody knows
about that’s going to become really popular
after you write about it. Because I’m awesome. Because you’re awesome, right. But the person who owns
that barbecue joint may be struggling. Exactly. And he’s probably
not paying you. That’s OK, though. Because sometimes, you’re
going to do things like that. Sometimes, you’re going to be
so moved by that individual. At least I am. I don’t know. I love people. I’m a super-authentic,
real person. I do what I do because
I love to do it. And I think that resonates. And so I am going to find
the barbecue joint that’s a mom and pop shop that is a
real family that’s struggling. And you’re damn right, I’m going
to talk about them for free. So you’re going to contact
them, though, ahead of time? Yeah. Or like yesterday, like
I’m checking out the chick, the little girl ringing me up–
young lady ringing me up is like– and I was like,
what’s the best thing. And she’s like,
this, this, and this. I was like, cool. What’s the best side? This and this. She’s like, are you
with the newspaper? I said, no. I’m some freelance writer. I’m passing through, I said. And this is what I do. She brings me out my food. And like she’s, [INAUDIBLE]. Instantly, the
proprietor is coming out. Because they’re so thrilled
that you came to their spot. That’s a connection
you’ve made for life. And you’re showing
something super-authentic. It’s super-real
to your audience. And you’ve done a good thing. And you’ve talked
and like, the CVB is going to see it
and all of that. So yeah, there’s moments
when I Instagram shit that I’m not getting paid for. It’s because I
genuinely love people. And like, in my niche in
barbecue, it has paid off. Last year in Austin,
it was disgusting. Like, you’d have thought I
was like Princess Brisket. It was really bad. I could not walk
into a restaurant and not have a backstage
tour, a hug from a dude, being fed everything,
like handed– it was disgusting. It was like meat sweats
to a different degree. It was a little bit like, I
left the airport like I never want to see brisket again. It was really gross. But my point is like, you’ve
become the authority in that. You’re genuine. You’re coming from a place of
real love and real compassion about what you do. And that resonates
to all your audience. And so like, because
of that, and because I do come from a place of honest,
authentic, and educated, people love it. And they love that I’m there
talking about something that they’ve worked
so hard to build. So hard to build. That’s also super-humbling. And I think it’s really cool. OK. I have one question. Yup. So what about flights? Flights are the hardest thing
to get comped in my opinion. Like, going to a direct– if you go directly to Southwest,
or directly to Alaska Air, directory to [INAUDIBLE]. That’s the hardest
thing to get comped when you’re starting out. That being said, if I’m
traveling to a place to cover a thing, they’re
covering my travel, period. So that’s not me. That goes back into them
covering my travel expenses. I do not travel anywhere
without my travel expenses being covered. And that’s like as
simple as this thing. Like I said, I’ve got a thing
coming up in Mississippi. It’s an event,
four-day [INAUDIBLE].. I can drive there. It’d be 10 hours. So 10 hours at the government
rate, that’s $0.57 a mile. That’s $870 round trip. You want to just fly me? Well, yeah, they
want to just fly me when I bust it down that way. Duh. Thank god. 10 hours through Alabama
sounded like fun. I’d totally re-enact that
BBC Top Gear episode. You got it. Thank god. I know my demographic. All right. So I think we have questions. I don’t know. Maybe we have questions? Oh, we don’t have– anybody got questions? Back to her– because I know you
kind of got off, which is fine. It’s all interesting. How she’s going to Utah. [INAUDIBLE] conference. When you’re heading
to a new town, you mentioned reaching
out to the restaurant. Yeah, CVB. What else [INAUDIBLE]. Oh, same thing. Yeah, so same thing. Actually, sorry I didn’t
mean to totally derail there. It’s OK. Call your hotel. [INAUDIBLE] Airbnb. There’s contact at Airbnb, too. That’s definitely, they
have representatives and they have brand ambassadors. But reach out. What’s the worst they’re
going to say, no? I mean, at the end
of the day, what’s the worst they’re going to say? HomeAway right now. I just got– one of the
companies you’re all teamed up with, got an email
yesterday because of Coachella. And HomeAway is
partnering with Coachella. So they’re looking
for influencers there. So if you’re
staying at HomeAway. It’s out there. The idea of, hey, I’m going
to be in Utah for this event with this hashtag that’s going
to get x and o followers. Find out who the
contact at Airbnb is. Airbnb just acquired
another company, too. So it’s “Utah is rad?” Yeah. You can Google their hashtags. Airbnb just acquired
another travel network, too. I can’t think of it
off the top of my head. I’ll try to find
the email for you. Follow up with me. Because that’s another company
that I would also then go– they acquired this company
that I know writes content. So they’re obviously going to be
folding that into their program somehow. How can I leverage this? So it’s 99.9% hustle. Did I answer as many
questions as I could? Yeah. Yeah. It was awesome. Thank you. Awesome. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

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