Welcome to a new feature here at Dream of Travel Writing–the Monday Mailbag! We often get questions from readers, folks in our accountability group, or coaching program members that we think would apply to a lot of you.
Now, with permission, agony-aunt-style, we’ll be sharing a new one with you each Monday. If you have a question you’d like to see included, please send it to us at questions [at] dreamoftravelwriting.com and make sure to include a line saying we have permission to reprint your question.
On to the tricky travel writing questions!
Once you’ve been travel writing for some time on your own blog, for other blogs, or for magazines, you’ll start to get random, unsolicited emails from PR people coming in.
Sometimes they’ll be in the form of a blanket, cut-and-pasted press release with no introduction or attempt to couch what the F it has to do with you, and sometimes it will be a “personal” email (but you still don’t understand what they want from you).
One of our readers recently found herself in the second category. Here’s what she said:
I’m passionate about Ibiza as a subject in my writing, and I’m assuming the PR person for this millennial cruise group saw some of my work on the region before she contacted me.
I asked her if she was looking to arrange a press trip or was expecting coverage based on marketing materials alone… here’s the gist of her response.
- “Yes, millennial-focused publications are definitely who we are targeting 🙂 Let me know which one of your outlets you think Topdeck would fit the best! Would love to see if I could arrange to have you on one of our upcoming press trips, however my client does require confirmed assignments in advance. Let me know if you have any questions!”
At this stage, I’m trying to figure out if I should pitch coverage/reviews of the trip to publications, and then get back in touch with this PR person with confirmed assignments?
I suppose my concern is that I’ll put together a portfolio of some confirmed assignments and then Topdeck will fall through with the press trip. [emphasis mine] (Confession: Or worse, that they’re expecting me to make it to Europe myself in order to complete the trip.) Perhaps this is a normal arrangement for press trips and you’re not wary of this type of thing at all…
To be honest though, the PR who contacted you sounds a bit young and inexperienced as PRs go.
I’m not sure if you’ve already sent her an initial response, but I would recommend asking her outright what led her to contact you, if she had a specific outlet you write for in mind, or if it was in the vein of sourcing writers for a trip.
If the trip was the case, then let her know that in order to pursue assignment letters, you need to know if the trip only includes their location or if travel is included, what dates the trips will be to see if they will make sense with your schedule, what kind of coverage they are looking for in terms of audience, country, and scale, and any past tour itineraries, sample story idea sheets or other information to help you generate ideas to place.
I would generally find a way to remind her that her company is not a story, and you need to have information on anything that is new or upcoming or else focus the story on the destination and mention the cruise to secure the assignment.