“Research everything > be free to do anything,” is the motto Sofie Couwenbergh, Founder of WonderfulWanderings.com and a copywrite for creative and travel brands, posts on her Instagram profile bio.
Sofie has worked with brands like Expedia, Visit Britain, Münster Marketing, Düsseldorf Tourismus, Germany Tourism Board, Visa, Eurostar and Accor, amongst others.
In an exclusive interview, Sofie tells us all about what inspired her to start her blog, and essential tips for young travel bloggers who would like to follow in her footsteps.
You are the founder of Wonderful Wanderings and readers would love to know what inspired you to start your blog? Why did you choose to focus on practical trip tips and tested itineraries?
I’m very much a planner and organizer myself. Whenever I go somewhere, I research everything and create a day-to-day program for my trip. It only made sense to share that research with my readers and to then also include my personal experiences while “executing” on my itineraries. Researching and planning helps me feel more confident when I’m going new places and I hope by sharing my tips, I can make others feel more confident on their travels as well.
You have worked with brands like Expedia, Visit Britain, Münster Marketing, Düsseldorf Tourismus, Germany Tourism Board, Visa, Eurostar and Accor, amongst others. How did you start your collaboration with these brands and what advice you would give to aspiring young travel bloggers looking to start a collaboration with these types of companies or organizations?
I founded Wonderful Wanderings in 2012. As the blog started to grow, more and more brands seemed to find me and started contacting me for collaboration. At the same time, I made sure I got my name out their by cold pitching, attending conferences and going to trade fairs.
I would advise beginner travel bloggers to first grow an audience and authority in their niche. Too many bloggers want to start working with brands at a point where they don’t yet have that much to offer and if in that case the brand is still willing to collaborate, not being able to deliver results might put them off of working with you again, or even off working with bloggers in general.
You have lots of experience working with tour operators and tourism authorities. Can you explain to our readers how to negotiate a deal with these companies and/or authorities?
Now, I can’t give away all of my secrets, can I? 🙂 That’s what my consulting service is for 🙂 In general, it’s important to always see the deal from their perspective and always ask yourself what you can bring to the table, what you can do to help them. You need to do your research so that you know what a brand stands for, what it’s focusing on in terms of marketing and what you can offer that matches their goals. The more you know about them, the better position you’re in to negotiate a deal that’s a win for both of you.
Can you provide five essential tips for aspiring travel bloggers when it comes to: how should one contact destinations to collaborate with in a paid blog marketing campaign? What should the pitch include?
- Always try to contact the right person. Go in search of the email address of the marketing or pr person, don’t just email the general info@ address
- Be concrete. Tell them exactly what you’re offering and what you expect in return.
- Show them why they should be working with you. Why are you a good match? Why are your readers their potential visitors?
4. When you’re pitching via email, include your media kit. Numbers aren’t everything, but they sure still are something. Your media kit can and should give potential partners a good first idea of who you are and what you can bring to the table.
5. When you’re pitching face-to-face, at a trade fair for example, first shut up and listen. When you let them do the talking, you might find out about opportunities that wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise and you’ll probably get lots of great information to further perfect the pitch you’ll send them afterward.
Based on your experience, what are the five golden rules for young travel bloggers who want to travel and work around the world?
- Nothing comes for free
2. Always overdeliver
- Always put your readers first
- Don’t compare yourself to others. They have their own struggles they’re probably not posting on social media
- Your reputation is everything. Make sure brands remember you for the right reasons.