In my recent series on working with influencers, we’ve covered 17 Essential Commandments of Influencer Marketing, Brand Ambassador 101 and 13 Things Brands Want Bloggers to Know. We’ve discussed how anyone can call themselves an influencer because there’s no barrier to entry. And we’ve all lamented and recognized a lack of professionalism on both sides of the media fence because there truly is no foundation for what is expected of professional bloggers and influencers.
I created the following manifesto as a platform for all of us, influencers and marketers alike, to have a shared understanding of professional expectations and a cohesive foundation for working together. Moving forward, I’m starting here, sharing this with brands, companies and destinations I work with so they’ll understand my high standards as a professional content creator and my expectations when I partner with brands. And I’ll hold any influencers I hire in the future to the same expectations.
Travel Content Creator Code
- My ultimate purpose is to do good. I strive to travel responsibly, report ethically and be a good global citizen.
- Though content creation is different than traditional journalism in many ways, I endeavor to uphold journalistic principles of accuracy, honesty, integrity and objectivity.
- I am transparent. I disclose all sponsored content according to the terms of the FTC. My readers will always know if there’s a relationship with a brand or destination I’m promoting.
- I strive for authenticity in all my content, sponsored or not. My readers know that even if I’m paid to create content for a brand or destination, a positive review can’t be bought.
- I deliver. When I partner with a brand or destination, I endeavor to do my very best to create compelling content on time and within agreed upon parameters.
- I don’t steal, plagiarize or lie. I use proper attribution when sourcing others.
- I believe in the freedom of speech and take that freedom seriously. I am accountable for my words and images. I present facts as facts and opinions as opinions.
- I believe quality is a more effective measurement than quantity, so I strive to focus on creating good content rather than amassing more followers and likes. My following is organic. I don’t purchase followers or likes.
- I am a professional. I don’t give away my photography, videography or written content for free.
- I do not use my influence to bully companies or destinations for products or services.
- I distinguish between editorial and advertorial content, and hold marketing partners accountable to these definitions.
- I uphold professional standards. I communicate efficiently, politely and expediently. I do not ghost.
- As this is an ever-changing industry, I’m committed to ongoing education. I will continue to learn, seek knowledge and improve my craft.