As we've started to attract more attention and bring more brands and male bloggers into the group I've started to get asked the same question. "So how do these trips work?"
The simple answer is that our key difference is that the guys get a say and are actively involved in the experience vs just being an observer. What we strive to deliver is the experience of traveling with your best friends. That might sound cliche, but it makes these trips more awesome and easier for the bloggers to produce more amazing content compared to a traditional "press trip". Traditional fam trips / press trips are great - I love attending them myself, but when you get a group of guys completely jacked up about hanging out with their friends and doing some awesome stuff, incredible content just flows naturally.
That content and the emotions that go along with it is what makes a lasting impact for the brand. It will be shared through social media as well as talked about offline and rises above other manufacturered expeiences.
So What What's Expected from the Bloggers?
Before / Leading up to the event, I'll create a landing page and social feed with links to the bloggers joining us and the official hashtag for the experience. We'll then disseminate the hashtag to the group as well as varous other key partners in the brand/destination side along with blogger handles. Similarly, I typically set up a private message group on FB with the guys. The message group helps make the planning process a bit more organic and fun so that as we discuss ideas it become more of a true "guys weekend" experience with friends vs a bunch of guys going on a trip together who don't know or care about each other. The truth is, that regardless of the destinations most fams suck that way unless you happen to have a friend on the same trip with you. During this time, I'll be tweeting from @MenWhoBlog and tagging the members of the group and sponsors. I encourage the blogger guests to similarly engage as appropriate.
While we are planning out our itinerary, I willl also need to know if there are any specific requests or ideas to help make your content even more awesome. i.e. on the last trip because some of the guys were dad bloggers they wanted something "family friendly" so we went to the Shark Reef aquarium vs a cabana experience at the Aria pool.
During the trip, you are not "required" to share socially. However, I encourage you to do so - especially on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Again, you don't need to tweet every 5 minutes, but as experiences come up we expect that you will want to share them with your community as well as RT'ing and joking with content posted by other guys on the trip. Critically though, do so naturally and use the official hashtag.
However, If we go somewhere you don't want to share for some reason, that's not an issue. However, if you don't tweet or IG at all then that's not as fun for everyone involved.
Lastly, while we understand that things come up, make sure that you always arive promptly when it comes time for a scheduled event (dinner, shuttle bus, etc.). The brand is paying a lot of money for this trip, so it's critical that we all act professionally. Along these lines, there will be instances where the brand has certain restrictions - for instance, "don't promote a competing property". I ask that you respect this and if there is an issue that you let me know so we can try to resolve it.
Post trip, the requirement is to publish at least one feature-length blog post about the experience that features the sponsor prominently. There may be certain restrictions for each trip such, these might include the request to promote The D and Golden Gate ... but not talking about how awesome the cigar buffet at "that other hotel" is in the posts about the trip. If you do more than one post, that's awesome. Similarly, we ask that you share the post across all relevant social channels as best fits your audience / editorial cadence.
Finally, make sure that you send me the links to your blog posts and any extodinary photos / IG posts / Tweets with incredible engagement so I can highlight that to the brand.
The KPIs that I am measuring typically include:
1. Blogger social / web stats - following / UMV
2. Overall IG & Twitter reach / # of posts
3. Quality of content (this is entirely subjective but essentially I don't want to see a 100 word piece with a pixelated and out of focus photos :))
The social feed for each trip is something that helps tell the story, so we need that to look awesome and the content to look genuine.
What Do We Need From the Brands to Make the Trip Awesome?
This is an active trip for the brands as well. While ultimately we're happy simply to go see some awesome places, sip incredible cocktails, and cut into some of the juciest steaks imaginable ... it's even more fun when you are there with us. We THRIVE on getting feedback from people that RT, Like, Comment on our posts. That doesn't mean you have to phyisically be there every moment ... but monitor the hashtag, share it with your partners and encourage everyone in your organization to join in on the fun with us!
This may go without saying, work with us ... we know what our audiences want to see us experience. It's important that there are active experiences that photograph well.
Together, we can create powerful content that will have legendary resonance.