Press trips are a great opportunity for freelancers to get a behind-the-scenes look at a destination. They can then use that to create compelling content that generates publicity for both the hosting organization and the freelancer. But how do you get invited on a press trip, and what should you expect once you're there?
Here, your questions will be answered and you'll find tips on leveraging the experience to grow your freelance business.
Press trips are when tourism, travel, and other agencies send journalists to a location or event to gather information and photographs to share with their audience through stories, articles, videos, or social media posts.
Press trips have two primary purposes: to give the journalist an authentic experience of the destination or event and to promote the destination or event to a broader audience.
For the freelancer, a press trip can provide an opportunity to get an insider's view of a destination or event and gather information and material that would be difficult to get as a regular tourist.
And since most press trips cover your expenses, they can be a great way to travel on a budget.
For the hosting organization, a press trip can effectively generate publicity and create content that will help promote their business or cause.
So do you get to go on one?
While there’s not a one-size-fits-all path to follow that’ll guarantee you’re selected for a press trip, here are five tips on things you can do to increase your chances.
When editors or PR reps are looking through potential candidates, they want to see that you have a track record of producing high-quality content that produces results. So take the time to create a strong portfolio and website that’ll make a good impression.
If you’re able to get a letter of assignment from an editor, that will go a long way in proving your worth to the PR team. This letter is simply a document from an editor stating that they’ve assigned you to write a story on a specific topic and that they plan to publish it.
Having a solid pitching game can help you score these letters. So think creatively and pitch several different publications with your ideas. This way, you’re more likely to get a yes in return.
If you’re interested in visiting a particular destination, reach out to the local tourism board or travel agency and introduce yourself. You can tell them about your interest in writing about the destination and see if they have any upcoming press trips you can apply for.
Another great way to learn about press trips is by connecting with other freelancers in your field. You can reach out to writers and photographers who have gone on press trips and see if they have any advice or recommendations. Additionally, many freelancers are happy to share leads and opportunities, so you may be able to get a few tips from them as well.
Finally, keep an eye out for open applications. Some organizations will put out a call for journalists to apply to go on a press trip. You can check travel-focused websites, like TravMedia, for these opportunities. If you see one that interests you, be sure to apply!
Congratulations, you landed a spot on a press trip! Now, it's time to start preparing for the trip itself.
First, you'll want to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork. This includes your passport (if you're traveling internationally), any visas you might need, travel insurance, and vaccinations (if required).
You'll also want to start packing your bags. Most press trips provide a schedule of events ahead of time so that you can pack accordingly. In general, you'll want to bring comfortable clothes that you can move around in easily, as well as any electronics or camera equipment you might need.
Once you arrive at your destination, be prepared to be on the go from early in the morning until late at night. Press trips can be pretty grueling, but they're also fun. You'll explore the destination, try new things, and meet new people.
However, you’ll likely only have a little free time. It’s a work trip, not a vacation. That's why taking advantage of any downtime you have is important. Use it to rest, recharge, and prepare for the next event.
And speaking of events, there will be plenty of those too. You may be going on tours and attending workshops, dinners, or parties. Remember, the goal of a press trip is to generate good press, so be prepared to do your part.
Speaking of doing your part, let's talk about press trip etiquette. First and foremost, remember that you're there to represent yourself and your publication in the best possible light.
That means being on time for all events, well-groomed and presentable, and respectful of the destination. It also means being mindful of your surroundings and not disrupting other journalists or photographers while they're working.
Additionally, be sure to follow any guidelines or rules that the trip organizers have put in place. They likely have a good reason for doing so, and by following them, you'll make their job easier and help ensure everyone has a good time.
Finally, don't forget to say thank you! Be sure to send a thank you note to the organizers after the trip and any PR contacts or destinations you worked with. A little appreciation goes a long way.
As a freelancer, your network is everything. And one of the best ways to build your network is by attending press trips.
These trips are a great way to meet other freelance writers and photographers, as well as editors and PR representatives from all over the world. By getting to know people in your industry, you'll be better positioned to land future assignments and get your work published.
Once the trip is over, your work is just beginning. When you get back home, it’s time to start putting together your press trip pieces. If you're a writer, that means brainstorming some story ideas and pitches. It means sorting through your photos and picking the best ones for editing if you’re a photographer.
Either way, you'll want to ensure your pieces are high-quality and well-researched. After all, you want to make the most of this incredible opportunity!
To that end, here are a few tips for creating excellent press trip pieces:
Remember, the hosting agency took a chance on you when they invited you along, so you want to give them your best-quality pieces in return.
In addition to helping you create great content, press trips can also help you grow your business. Here's how:
1. Use press trips to meet potential clients. Chances are you're always on the lookout for new clients. Press trips are great for meeting potential clients and getting your name out there. You never know who you'll meet on a trip, so bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to talk about your work.
2. Use press trips to pitch new story ideas. You’re much more likely to score the assignment when you have first-hand knowledge of a destination or experience. So use your trip to brainstorm other blog posts or articles you can create.
3. Use press trips to create portfolio pieces. The content you create following your press trip can be a big boost for your portfolio. And as mentioned above, a strong portfolio can help you get invited on more press trips.
Now that you know more about press trips, it's time to start saying yes to them. With a little hard work and networking, you can use press trips to land assignments, build your business, and create amazing content. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next trip today!