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How to Pitch Series: Andrew Dobson On Pitching Canadian Media

Andrew Dobson

Andrew Dobson

Part 1 of 2

We asked Toronto-based travel blogger and freelance writer, Andrew Dobson, what makes a pitch interesting for Canadian writers.

Andrew started his blog, in 2006 and has since written about 80 countries, and contributed to print publications across Canada. Andrew can be found tweeting about his travels @dobbernation.

His passion for travel writing and working with Public Relations professionals made for such a robust conversation that this is part one of a two part series.

Let’s learn more about working with Canadian influencers and keep your eye out for the second part.

What elements influence whether or not you read a pitch?

I get inundated by press releases and the basics which grab my attention include: uncluttered design, a personalized pitch curtailed to my interests and needs, a destination/operator which I have not yet traveled and specific details in the pitch (for example listing the dates of the press trip and brief itinerary from the get go). When a DMO emails me with a subject line: Paid Opportunity, they immediately receive a response.

What is an example of the best/worst pitch you have received in the past six months?

Worst Pitch: these tend to start with “Hello sir, Hello blogger, Hello Andrea (that is not my name, nor gender). When I’m pitched to go on a family travel FAM, budget travel experience or destination I’ve visited in the last 6-12 months.

Best Pitch: I received a pitch to go on a press trip with an operator, which fit my luxury travel audience, visited two countries I’ve never traveled to and was offered compensation opportunities to sell photos/video and create stories about my trip to the brand. My calendar was free and I confirmed the details of the trip and my contract within 24 hours of the pitch arriving in my inbox.

What would you say is the biggest difference between Canadian and American digital influencers?

American influencers have access to a much larger audience while the Canadian population is much smaller so when assessing who to work with in the Canadian landscape it’s important to recognize this disparity. In terms of working with influencers on paid programs it’s important to recognize that each government has different rules and regulations on how influencers disclose their paid relationships.

In your perspective – where is Canadian travel editorial heading?

Sadly I see newspapers buying far less stories, many of which are recycled through the publication group.  I also wouldn’t be shocked in the future if more and more travel pieces are written by newbie writers who are going on the trip unpaid simply to get exposure and experience in the field.

Moments ago I was just reading the June edition of Travel and Leisure and was impressed by the number of advertorials in the magazine. I think this is most certainly the future, with a two-page spread sponsored by AMEX and Tourism Peru as well as another glossy spread by Incredible India. DMOs need to think creatively about how they can partner with brands to tell their story. A trip with Visit California co-sponsored by Canon for example would offer great coverage for the destination and help spread out the costs of coverage between two brands.


Stay tuned for part two to be posted shortly.

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