Want to be a famous traveler? Gadling fave Christopher Elliott wrote “How to be a Youtube travel star,” which explains how you can turn your vacation videos into internet acclaim, but there are more ways to publicize your excursions. Several websites have popped up to help travel reporters connect with sources. Yes, we need you to help us write the stories you read. By helping us, you can become a celebrity in our community. Generally, all you have to do is register with a service and reply to the queries that resonate with you.
The process, regardless of which service you use, is pretty simple. You receive an e-mail or view a website with a list of stories travel reporters are writing. If one of them fits with your experiences, you reply with a brief e-mail explaining how you can help. The reporter may follow up with a phone call or e-mail (if additional information is necessary). Then, when the story runs, you have something to hang on the fridge.
I’ve worked with three of these services: MediaKitty, TravMedia and Help a Reporter. Each is interesting, and if they don’t have what interests you, you can always try citizen journalism.
MediaKitty is a complete travel media network, bringing sources, experts, publicists and reporters together to make sure that news has a chance of being reported. So, whether you are promoting a client or just have your own stories to tell, you can join this website and become a part of the action. There is a catch, however. Fame isn’t free. Unless you’re a reporter, expect to shell out a modest fee for this service.
TravMedia is mostly for professionals in the travel industry, such as publicists, hotel managers and reporters. So, if you are involved in the travel and hospitality industry and need a new place to push your press releases, for example, this is a great spot. It’s not necessarily a route to individual fame, but if you have a destination or travel company to promote, this is the place to do it.
Help a Reporter is a general service; it’s not limited to travel. But, the travel section usually has a few requests in it (I use it from time to time). The reporter explains what the story is, lists the publication in which it will run and provides any additional instructions. You reply to the reporter by e-mail with your “pitch.” If it fits, fame is only a few mouse-clicks away. I’m biased toward this service because the founder, Peter Shankman, got his start in the AOL newsroom, so he’s part of the extended family.
There’s always the “citizen journalism” option, as well. Go to a website such as DigitalJournal.com or OhmyNews.com to start your own travel column. This gives you the chance to maintain control of your image (and your fame). Also, CNN’s iReport website gives you the chance to move from text to video, and the mother ship does pick up content from its citizen journalism subsidiary from time to time. Hell, nail the write story, and you may even find us linking to you.
Of course, the easiest way to let us know your travel news is to leave feedback on Gadling. If your story turns us on, you’ll hear from someone!