The campaign, which kicks off in February, is called ‘Finland Blogsposure’ and will be run under the #VisitFinland hashtag.
Six Navigate Media Group (NMG) bloggers will be hosted; Ayngelina Brogan of www.BaconisMagic.ca, Pete and Dalene Heck of www.HeckticTravels.com, Michael Hodson of www.GoSeeWrite.com, Michael Tieso of www.ArtofBackpacking.com and Stephanie Yoder of www.Twenty-SomethingTravel.com. Each will undertake separate itineraries during the middle of February, featuring the diversity of Finland with such activities as trekking, rapids floating, photographing the Northern Lights, hanging out with reindeer farmers, exploring the native Sami culture, riding on an icebreaker ship, looking at an ice castle, and enjoying the variety of the cultural and food life of Helsinki.
“While most people are looking for sunny destinations in winter they may be overlooking Finland, one of the most iconic Arctic destinations in the world,” said Dalene Heck of Hecktic Travels.
Navigate Media Group will undertake a number of objectives for Visit Finland, including increasing interaction on the #VisitFinland hashtags on both Twitter and Instagram, creating a Pinterest presence for Visit Finland and also conducting a social media training seminar for various Finnish businesses in the travel sector. In recent years, workshops, seminars and media training events have become an established way to add practical value to projects like this.
The emphasis is on photography for Twitter, Instagram, and in particular, Pinterest. VisitFinland’s target audience are ‘modern humanists’.
“It is image marketing,” says VisitFinland’s Johanna Vierros. “The main target is to increase Finland’s ‘attractiveness’ as a travel destination, as well as spread knowledge of Finland as a country.”
She confirms that the project is very different to a traditional travel journalist press trip, but not exclusive.
We do a lot of co-operation with traditional travel journalists (press, radio, TV) throughout the year, so they do not block out one another, but blogger trips add new spice to our media visits.
Navigate Media Group contacted us last year and suggested this project. Since we had already hosted our first blogger trip (“Blog Around the Clock”) in June 2012 , we were ready to take it to the next level by adding more intensity and social media actions for the trip in 2013, and after some research on their blogs we decided that NMG is an eligible partner.
The project differs from traditional press trips in more fundamental ways too.
The new generation of professional travel bloggers are no longer pure ‘editorial’; they also have to be commercially-minded publishers (with a transparent editorial policy), and the formation of new marketing groups like Navigate Media reflects that new approach. A number of national and local tourism promotion organisations are already engaging commercially with bloggers in ‘host + cash’ deals.
In this case, what is interesting is the way NMG works. Navigate Media Group is a collaboration of nine full-time, professional travel blogs working together on campaigns involving travel blogging and social media concepts, and all the members of the group benefit financially. In addition to the five traveling blog members activity on site with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and traditionally blogging, the four additional members of Navigate Media not on the trip (Sherry Ott of www.OttsWorld.com, Kate McCulley of www.AdventurousKate.com, Cailin O’Neill of www.TravelYourself.ca, Lisa Lubin of www.LLWorldTour.com) will be providing social media amplification of the campaign in real-time.
In order to avoid the ‘same stories, same time’ problem with group blogger trips, each NMG blogger is heading to a different destination. Johanna says they were able to choose their own destination from a selection of five: Helsinki, Kainuu (eastern Finland), Luosto, Kemi and Saariselkä.
Each trip is designed to meet the Visit Finland’s marketing themes, which are Wild & Free, Cultural Beat and Silence Please. Each trip consists of specific activities representing the specialities of each region in Finland. In Kainuu the bloggers go wildlife watching, in Kemi they visit the snow castle and so on. The goal is to show the versatility of Finland as a winter destination, and we hope that we succeed in it. Each VisitFinland regional office will provide the bloggers with WiFi gadgets so they can work in real time.
Combined together, Navigate Media brings in just under 200,000 unique visitors who read close to 500,000 page views a month. They have over 100k Twitter followers, 45k Facebook fans, 12k RSS subscribers, 8k newsletter subscribers, and over 6k Instagram followers.
“Finland Blogsposure stands to be one of the most comprehensive and complete blogging and social media campaigns undertaken by any destination in the world,” said Michael Hodson. “We are thrilled to be on board to help take Visit Finland to the next level of social media interaction.”
Image: Suomenlinna sea fortress in Helsinki – Flickr/VisitFinland