As a content marketer with six years working in the travel industry, one of my main responsibilities is building relationships with travel bloggers. At the same time, I am a blogger myself, which helps me see both sides of the fence.

Here are the five biggest mistakes, from my experience, that companies make when working with travel companies.

Don’t assume they’ll work for free

A lot of companies assume travel bloggers are willing to work for free. This may be true of bloggers who have yet to make a name for themselves in the industry, but the travel bloggers you want to work with are influential freelance copywriters who produce great content on their own websites on a regular basis.

Another mistaken view is that travel bloggers are willing to host your content on their blog for free. Just like you wouldn’t contact journalists to host an article in their magazine with a backlink, the same goes for bloggers – you’re not doing them a favour.

They’re not in your time zone, but you still have to pay them on time

If you work with a blogger and have agreed on a type of payment for their work, then make sure you commit to the payment date. All travel bloggers plan their trips months, if not years in advance, so they count on each payment.

If your payment is delayed for any reason, then contact them in due time and let them know what is holding up the transfer. That way, you save yourself a headache, maintain a good relationship with the blogger and avoid embarrassing scandals on travel blogging forums. Bloggers are a pretty tightly knit group so beware!

We’ve worked together once, so we’re best mates

Should you work with the same bloggers, or find new ones every time you’re running a new campaign? This is a question I hear again and again at many digital marketing conferences that tackle the working with bloggers topic.

The answer is to build on your existing blogger relationships. You’ll see that after working together for a while, bloggers tend to go above and beyond for you because they like you and because you respect them enough to treat them as business people and not just a landing page.

A common pitfall is only contacting bloggers when you need something or have a problem. Say happy birthday, let them know when you have a discount or a competition going on, even take them out for a coffee once in a while! Those pounds spent on a coffee will save you hundreds in the long run.

If the blogger is a good fit for your brand, produces quality content on time and you get good coverage, it’s worth it to invest your time and money.

They’re bloggers, not charity volunteers

Don’t make the mistake of thinking established bloggers will be happy to write about your great competitions or discounts in exchange for a holiday or product. This is one of the biggest pet peeves professional bloggers have and again, they will name and shame you amongst the travel community.

If you “exclusively” invite travel bloggers to register for the chance to win a once in a lifetime trip to X destination, there are bloggers who are new to the industry that will accept the invite, but tread with caution. They will write a blog post and send lots of nice links to X destination or company – but link baiting competitions like this do nothing to help improve the image of our industry or your company. You’ll lose exposure and incur a Google penalty in the long run.

They’re all travel bloggers, so they all write about travel yes?

Admittedly, new travel blogs tend to pop up almost every day, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. Each travel blog has a demographic and that is the most important aspect to keep in mind when researching who to partner with.

We live and learn, so hopefully you now know by now not to send the same generic emails to bloggers when you’re trying to reach out to them – it’s nothing but spam.

A better approach is to take the time to read through their blogs and see what makes them tick. See what destination they love and would shout about without hesitance. Find out their name, what the style of their writing is and what their audience is and then hire them for their copywriting skills, not for the fact that they have a blog for your content – you will see the difference in ROI.

As a travel blogger, I’ve seen many companies make these mistakes and as a content marketer I’ve probably done a few myself. However, I’ve learned from my mistakes and from a few slaps on the wrist from the travel bloggers and I know better now.

Do you work with travel bloggers? What do you find works best?

Then again, are you a travel blogger? Let me know in the comments if there are other ways companies should approach and work with you.