How to Pitch: Travel Blogging with Natalie PreddieMay 21, 2019
Natalie Preddie is a family travel writer, blogger and broadcast expert based in Toronto, Canada. She is a new mother to two beautiful boys who already share her love of adventure. From travelling solo in her early years to trips with her husband now, Natalie captures her growing family’s adventures on her blog, Adventures with Natty P, on television and through pictures on social media.
From backpacking to luxury resorts, Natalie has visited more than 30 countries, and she looks forward to visiting many more with her baby in tow. She has worked with acclaimed brands such as Aeroplan, Air Transat, Huggies, Visit Barbados, and Visit California, and she’s currently focusing on the best way to travel and enjoy the world with babies.
Natalie’s travel stories have been featured in the Toronto Star, Star Touch magazine, PAX Magazine, Travel & Style, Travel + Leisure, Ddrops, SavvyMom.ca, Cityline, CAA Magazine, a Sunwing “Kidcation” expert panel, TravelPulse Canada, Daytime Ottawa, Canadian Family, Breakfast Television Toronto and Global’s The Morning Show.
What influences whether or not you read a pitch? What’s an example of the best travel PR pitch you’ve received?
I like working with PR companies that have made an effort to understand me and my brand. I like when they reference past work and highlight how their pitch is relevant to me and my audiences. I want to know all the information upfront: timelines, budget, outcome, itinerary ideas and more. I received a fantastic pitch from Tourism Ireland that included all these elements. It inspires me to keep telling their story even a year after the press trip.
What types of press trips excite you and motivate you to pursue them further?
Press trips that I know my audiences will be excited to hear about and that I am compelled to tell — a good story motivates me to learn more. I want to experience and relay something unique, inspiring and exciting. I always love visiting a destination I’ve never been to before. That always helps to determine what destinations I will work with — especially if I can bring my family, although I know this is not always possible.
What information should be included in a press trip invite to help you consider the opportunity?
The following information is crucial:
- the dates
- the budget
- the destination
- what we are covering — that is, a draft itinerary
- what story we are hoping to tell and what angles we can focus on
What’s your pet peeve when being pitched and/or working with public relations professionals?
I can’t stand being pitched a subject that isn’t relevant to me or my audience. I write about family travel, parenting tips, being a mom etc.
As a freelance journalist, how do you determine which outlet is best suited to each opportunity?
I consider the audience, the type of content an outlet produces and previous work. I then try to create a relevant and unique story that will excite the editors as much as it excites me.
Do you work with them to structure the story?I go to an editor with how I see a story playing out — how it is significant and distinctive. I usually get a yes or no from there, so I go on a press trip knowing what I need to capture. While away, I get as much information as I can, I draft a story and then we work together to highlight any details that will enhance the story or adapt the story as needed.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with tourism boards on how best to work with travel writers? Don’t over-schedule a writer. We need free time and a balanced itinerary. Keep in mind the story that we are telling, and help us tell it. Remember: this is our job.
From your perspective, where is Canadian travel editorial heading? It’s tough right now. There are fewer opportunities to write travel editorial. I feel as though we are seeing a lot of syndicated content. Editorial jobs in general are going out the window, TV shows don’t have dedicated travel hosts anymore and newspapers rarely have a designated travel expert. Travel is a huge part of people’s lives, and yet the media landscape doesn’t reflect that. It’s sad to watch media fall by the wayside.
In your opinion, how is family travel showcased in the Canadian media landscape?
There are some great family travel writers out there, and I hold them in very high regard. I do, however, think there are more stories to be told in order to reach the many different types of travellers out there. It seems that there are either 20-somethings jumping off of cliffs or older people on river cruises and not much in between. In terms of relating to the millennial traveller with limited vacation time, a young family and a craving for accessible yet exclusive experiences, there is a lot more to explore.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of being a family travel writer?
Travelling as a family can be tough — ha! It’s hard to coordinate the whole team. As a nuclear family, we are limited to my husband’s vacation time, so he can’t always join me. Also, I am the primary caregiver for my kids, so organizing the household around travelling can be tough. For example, I am breastfeeding my newborn, so I can’t get up and go on a solo trip now. I have a toddler as well, so I need to incorporate his schedule and needs. A trip takes a lot of coordination, and it takes a village to make it happen. I need to include grandparents and friends at times.
But, saying that, I love to travel. It has always been one of the most important elements of my life, and I want to pass that on to my boys. I get to give my family amazing travel experiences that we might not have thought of — let alone been able to experience — otherwise. I can expose my children to new people, places, food, animals and more. We get to discover some fantastic destinations together, learn, grow and tell compelling stories. I have the best job in the world!
What has been your most memorable story assignment?
Kenya: one of the most humbling, exhilarating, beautiful places on the entire planet. Also, it was my first real travel assignment, and it ran on the front page of the Toronto Star “Travel” section.
Where do you like to travel, and where are you off to next?
I am obsessed with the Caribbean. My goal is to visit every island in the Caribbean — and not just because it is hot and sunny. They are all so diverse, luscious and unique. Whether Dutch, French, West African, Chinese, British or Indian, there are so many different backgrounds that make up the Caribbean, and I want to explore all of them.
I also adore Africa. It is such a rich continent, not to mention the beginning of all humanity. The animals, the people and the most stunning landscape make for some full and captivating travel experiences. Also, I feel that there aren’t enough varied stories from these locations yet. I’m working on telling them.
My next trip is to The Level at Meliá Caribe Punta Cana for a non-work family getaway!