Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Yourself to Build Your Brand | TravelResearchOnline

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Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Yourself to Build Your Brand

A few weeks ago, a travel writer called me and, ironically, asked me if I would mind being interviewed about the topic of “how to get quoted in the press”. I thought to myself, “That’s an interesting topic,” and of course, I was happy to spend time answering her questions. After all, she was calling to ask my expert opinion and planned to quote me in her upcoming article.

ThinkstockPhotos-162496602As a former journalist, I have a bit of extra knowledge on the importance of reliable and accessible expert sources. I always appreciated when executives or industry analysts would take my calls (long before we texted and emailed!) and thus, I always make time to share my thoughts with journalists who ask for my ideas and insights.

I would encourage anyone trying to build their own luxury travel company and/or brand to do the same. Being mentioned and quoted in the press on a consistent basis is one sure way to get people talking about who you are and what you do. In my opinion, it is the absolute best way to establish yourself as a credible expert on a topic—be it luxury travel, airlines, cruises, or a particular destination. You can tell people all day long that you know a lot about travel, but when you are actually quoted in the press as a so-called “expert”, that validates this fact quickly to anyone who reads that particular article.

To that end, also be sure to respond to reporters wanting to quote you in their digital posts. Case in point: I have received dozens of qualified leads from one specific article that appeared a few years ago on Forbes.com on the subject of “Why to Use a Luxury Travel Agent”. The clients this article has generated for me (and continues to since it still lives on in the digital world) have been outstanding.

I also take a page from billionaire Mark Cuban’s playbook (actually, from his e-book on entrepreneurial success): As a small business owner, there is no need to hire a publicist or someone else to pitch your expertise. You are your own brand, you are the face of your company, and you are the person the press wants to talk to. Therefore, always be available to take that phone call or answer that email from the inquiring reporter. When you are friendly and interesting to talk to, reporters are more likely to add you to their contacts as a go-to on your topic of expertise.

Of course, it’s not just as easy as sitting back and waiting for a reporter to find and contact you. You have to be proactive and engaging on social media. Don’t just read what travel bloggers and writers post, but respond to them and offer up your own insights and commentary on topics you know the most about. Use these forums to position yourself as a true expert, and this will often lead to further conversations with media and eventually get you quoted in their future posts and articles.

One other tip: Don’t be afraid to express your opinions on controversial topics in public forums, as this often gets reporters’ attention!


Stacy Small is the president/founder of Elite Travel International, an LA-based Virtuoso travel firm. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @elitetravelgal.

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