I remember sitting at a blog conference years ago, thinking how all this information was so great, and while I was able to put a lot of it to work for me, there was still so many challenges I had that I was not getting help with. Conference after conference passed, and nobody had sessions about these unique circumstances that I faced being in the Theme Park niche. It is part of the reason I often dreamed of a retreat specifically for bloggers in the Theme Park niche…and a part of how AWEsome came to be.
So what are some of these unique challenges faced by Theme Park influencers? Let’s take a look.
10 Challenges You Face When You Are A Theme Park Influencer
1. Keeping up with all the news
Theme parks change a lot. And let’s be honest, most of us are probably covering a certain theme park run by a mouse. Have you ever had a mouse scurry across the ground in front of you? Have you seen how fast they can move and how quickly they can change directions. That is often what it feels like trying to keep up with all the announcements for Theme Parks. When Disney has a blog just for their parks, where they post multiple articles per day, you can imagine how hard it is for one person to keep up with that.
2. You’re building a brand around someone else’s brand
Bloggers and influencers often hear about branding, but what do you do when what you write about is a brand in itself? This challenge is why within a few year span, we saw dozens of Disney bloggers rebrand. In fact, even with rebrand, and a 60/40 split of content (Disney being the smaller percentage) I was recently told by a PR Rep that my blog was “too Disney, and that is a brand in itself” to work with me. So how do you create a brand for yourself, when what you write about is a brand?
3. How to monetize, and actually make money
Okay, so while monetizing in itself can be a bit of a challenge (see #2) another problem many face is how to actually make money…you know because a lot of the money we make has to go to trips to the Theme Parks we cover or annual passes, or such. How do you make money that isn’t just being reinvested in your business?
4. Mastering the art of photography in Theme Parks
It is hard to get a great photo. All influencers have to learn a lot about this, but it is just different for Theme Park bloggers. How do you get that awesome picture without a thousand people in the background? How do you catch a photo of a ride vehicle that is traveling at 20 MPH or more? What about photographing a night time parade or fireworks. Not to mention handling your DSLR camera while still going on the rides. Theme Park photography is a whole different ballgame and it takes a lot of work to get there.
5. Finding a balance between work and vacation
Okay, so I know that many travel bloggers experience this, but I think it is super hard in Theme Parks because you are 1) on the go so much during your day and 2) many Theme Park bloggers have young kids that they can’t just let wander the parks without them. Trust me… I have an 8-year-old and 3-year-old twins. Finding time to “work” while at Disneyland is a constant struggle.
6. Standing out in a sea of Theme Park coverage
How do you make your post about Mickey’s Halloween Party or Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party stand out from all the other posts about the same thing? You don’t only have to compete with other Theme Park bloggers, but travel bloggers and lifestyle bloggers who happened to attend and are writing a post about it as well.
7. Building a loyal community
This is a struggle for sure. Go onto Facebook and search “Disney groups” and see what comes up… There are SO MANY! How do you build a community, and even more so, one that is loyal to you? Not going to lie, it is hard. Years ago, when Facebook Groups started, I started a little group. It got up to 1500 people but was not very active. I hadn’t done anything with it for years and eventually archived the group. Fastforward to now, when I formed a group with three other Theme Park bloggers, that not only has over 11,000 members in less than 18 months but boasts over 40,000 monthly engagements.
Even with that community, loyalty is an issue. We struggle with people saying “go check out so and so…” even when we have the information right there in our own group. So how do you not only build a community but a loyal one, when there are so many Disney (or Theme Park) communities out there?
8. Getting noticed by the brand you cover
I won’t make you wait until number 10 to get to the big one we all wonder about. How do we get Disney, Universal, Knott’s, Sea World… to notice us????? How do we get on their radar and get invited to press events, on their “blogger list” and more? Nobody knows exactly, but it doesn’t keep all of us from wondering.
9. Copyrights and trademarks
When you cover a brand, and especially a brand as large as Disney, you have to be aware of Copyrights and Trademarks ALL THE TIME. Another reason I rebranded… I had Disney in my blog name. And Disney once went through and started asking bloggers to remove Disney, etc from their names. Some people gave Disney access to sites or worked out deals to keep it in their name, while others rebranded. But truth be told, Disney could easily have shut me down and I didn’t want to chance it. So I rebranded.
And then there are the pictures they provide. Did you know in Disney’s terms for the photos they provide media it has some pretty strict guidelines? Yep. Like you shouldn’t be using their photos on pins because that is altering them… And forget trying to sell a printable with their characters on it.
10. Finding a conference or retreat for your niche
Other than an event that requires some magical, pixie dusted invite (see #8) you won’t find a conference or retreat specifically for our niche, especially on the West Coast. Sure you find events held at Disney parks, but they won’t be focused on your niche. UNTIL NOW!!! AWEsome Retreat is the first, and currently only, Theme Park influencers event held on the West Coast.
We are super excited to be bringing this event to you in 2019 and will be announcing our dates and location soon. It is going to be an amazing event, and we hope to see you there. Be sure to check out more about the event and sign up for our newsletter.