Well, first of all, nothing is absolutely free.
You have to provide something of value to get something of value in return. You have to do the work.
At the moment of this writing, I’m overextending Jollibee’s hospitality after ordering only a single Peach Mango Pie.
Still, an exchange of value happened in this transaction alone.
Since BLOQ’s Roofdeck Party would still be in two hours, I might as well write about how I got my first ever free hotel stay at Ocean Vida in Malapascua exactly 822 days ago.
Blogging As A Profession
I guess it’s common knowledge that there are only a handful of bloggers out there who made it big time, especially here in Cebu.
Sadly, I am not one of them.
Why? I haven’t successfully transformed this passion into my bread and butter.
In fact, I doubt whether I could achieve such a similar level of success in this lifetime, but I’m still hoping.
Also, I don’t have a massive following and my opinion on anything is still a galaxy away from being worth millions.
Let’s face it, in this industry, you’re worth nothing if you have no influence or to put simply, no follower numbers.
But that’s not a show stopper in itself, you can be resourceful like me.
Blogging As A Hobby
Others might argue about this definition of success telling that blogging should never be about money.
I respect that.
In fact, I envy these people since they’re completely free to speak their minds without having to impress marketing executives or PR agencies.
Blogging for them is probably just their creative outlet and they’re doing it primarily out of the goodness of their hearts.
And I believe we all started here one way or another.
I’m also aware that there’s a fine line between being objective about anything and being a complete sell-out, of which I am guilty at times.
But do enlighten me, how are we supposed to continue doing what we love without money?
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk, “Cash is oxygen.”
In a way, this article is about getting paid in cash or at least in kind for your time and effort.
But let’s talk beginner stuff, shall we?
In some ways, free products and services are great but what I’m referring to here are exchange deals with hotels and resorts.
Are you willing to write a hotel review in exchange for a free staycation? I bet you do.
To be honest, I never knew such a deal existed until somebody told me.
Imagine staying at a world-class resort without paying a single peso, ain’t that nice?
So how did I do it?
I did it old school.
Mustering every ounce of confidence that I had, I walked up to the hotel’s receptionist and asked to speak with the owner.
Apparently, I had balls of steel that time.
I shared to the owner the link to a popular travel website of which I was affiliated to.
Next thing I knew, I was already unpacking my bags at my very own beachfront suite for the night.
I can’t put into words the overwhelming sensation that I felt during that particular moment in time. To put into perspective, I was actually just sleeping in a mosquito-filled tent the night before.
A few hours later, I was already experiencing a hundred dollars worth of luxurious hospitality in exchange only for my thoughts about the experience.
I know this approach is not for everybody.
If you can’t find the courage to do what I did, you could try sending the hotel a formal proposal via email.
As the bible says, “Ask and you shall receive…”
You could also do the long game and let your work speak for itself.
To put simply, you’re only as good as your last work.
Make it a rule to produce quality content, always.
You never know a marketing executive might bump into your Instagram account or read a travel guide you wrote about your weekend in Boracay.
You could also join blogging organizations and be on the lookout for events to meet like-minded people and learn from them and also to widen your network.
Or like me, you could partner with a popular travel blog and use its social media metrics (with permission ofcourse) as leverage when dealing with people from the industry.
You never know, you might get lucky.
Don’t forget to tell me when you do.