Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Travel Influencer ....

Okay, it is time I pulled the curtain back for you a bit. This is where you want the doe-eyed bloggers and fashionistas to turn away and stare blankly at the horizon.

The rest of us...well..this might hurt a little.

I have mentioned I have some great friends and at the end of last year we talked about me joining the throng of "influencers" in their stable of marketing tools. This was a great idea after three bottles of wine,  a homecooked meal, and a relaxing day seaside.

Then I got home and looked around. One of the big problems with me is that I am not 20-ish and I don't photograph well. Equally, I had some things to do, namely get an agent and see what affiliate programs I wanted to do.

This was a plan ontop of spending February and March at Festivals from Movies to Tech to Wine. My head was just beginning to spin.

My first meeting was with a Travel "organization" for their program and this involved a bit more "investment" by me without a lot of recognition. While I really do support my marketing friends endeavors there was a little less than enticing nibbles for me to really commit to.

Next, I was off to the races to promote, tweet, garner out a corner on the market for an event. What so surprised me was that I was pretty darn successful at it. When you Searched for this event my tweets were the top of the feed. My reach was only one channel but, that proved my ability to expand the "get out the vote" reach. Next, my task was to build up a 2nd channel and I thought I could do this with Pinterest but, I never committed to it and then I had to set reminders to do just that. I was starting to feel the burn.

Now, what happened next is no one person's fault but, I did go to an agency and met with a talent agent.
This is for better or worse the conversation we had:
Agent X : " I have heard so many good things about you from "Sam" "
Me: "Yes, "Sam" is wonderful. I am interested in representation with you because of her. " 
Agent X : "Oh! I am not taking on new clients and basically, you would need a lot of work done beforehand. " 
Me:" I appreciate that and I would still need you to review the portfolio so that I can go forward with another agent. " 
Agent X : "You will not get signed without more reach and if you lost 50lbs. You are better off doing YouTube Product Reviews for a couple of years before anyone will look at you seriously. " 
Me :  "Again, I understand what you are telling me but, "Sam" stated you would at least look at my portfolio" 
Agent X: "I don't really have the time. Let's order as I am starving" 
As it turned out, Agent X got dropped from the corporate conglomerate about two weeks later and I paid $95 for a meal where I basically was told I am not good enough.

The lesson to take away is that "Sam" didn't know the backstory of Agent X; worse Agent X failed to tell me or "Sam" that the marketing schemes were changing ( think instead of "look what I have" to "#MeToo" ).

While I was left with the bill, I did reach out to other "marketing agents" basically the formula for representation is already having a following and proven ability to sell. This means the following

  • Established Social Media Channels with a solid following up to 500K . The "Delete Facebook" doesn't play well so you have to have utilize Instagram / Youtube / iTunes properly
  • Affiliate program history meaning you can't just start selling fitness shakes and expect an income from that of $100Grand. The most you will get in any affiliate program at most is after 90 days $100 when you start. In addition you need to like the product. 
  • Consistent programing. This means interaction with : 
    • Tweet Daily 
    • Youtube on Schedule for ( at 12 Months 
    • Pinterest / Instagram / Hashtag Daily 
    • Sponsored Posts 
    • Blog 
    • Photos 
    •  Interaction with followers beyond "thx or smiley face" Connect with others in field. 
  • Go to industry events from Wine Forums to Travel Conferences. Have your marketing portfolio ready from a fancy zip drive to 4x6 glossy greeting card. This will make your job 10x harder if you do not go to these events without collateral. 
  • Be prepared to invest up to (if not more) $10K from Youtube product review camera equipment to subscriptions. 
  • Finally, establish yourself in the community this is about 2-6 hours a day spent reaching across the variety of platforms and making conversation. It helps to be outgoing but sharing a post and tagging someone might lead to a great opportunity.
This is an process and you need to have support, equipment and a lot of extra time.

Thick Skin doesn't hurt either. I invested a lot of time and effort working with third party apps to get the analytics right, going to trade shows, connecting with companies I wanted to work with and reviewing affiliate programs that required a little more investment with a little to gain.

In a few days I will share with you some opportunities but, believe me its easier to be a "big name" to get influencer programs versus just starting out.


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