Travel Bloggers’ Secrets You Can Use: Part 2

 

As promised here is Part 2 of our “Travel Blogger’s Secrets You Can Use” blog post! If you missed Part 1 be sure to click here and check out all the amazing blogging tips we covered in last week’s post. This week we’re talking about the best marketing, monetizing, and travel tips our lovely panelists, Tamara Gruber of We3Travel, Lillie Marshall of Around the World “L”, and Priscilla Pilon of The Weekend in Paris, shared at our August #NIMRI event. So let’s get started!

Top 8 Marketing/Monetizing Tips

1. Soliciting Sponsors: The emphasis should always be on the content you’re creating. “Write it, and they will come,” said Priscilla sagely, “Produce high-quality content, and they will come.”

The Work With Me Section of the We3Travel Website

The Official “Work with Me” section of We3Travel’s About Page

2. Doing Business With Brands: There are a few ways a blogger can work with a brand: being contacted by people to place ads, contacting people to place ads, sponsored posts, or, if you’re lucky, a sponsored trip.“If I work with a brand or do a sponsored post, it has to be something I believe in. Once your audience doesn’t believe you, you’re done,” Priscilla warned.

“Native Advertising, which is when you have content that is already successful and then work with advertisers who would complement that content, can work very well,” said Lillie.

3. Navigating Negativity: It can be very difficult to figure out what to do when you have a bad experience as a blogger, particularly if the trip is a sponsored one. It is especially tricky because, depending on the country’s laws, you could potentially be sued for a negative review. “Contact the PR people and be sure to start with the positive things and then talk about the disappointments,” advised Priscilla, “I always give them a chance to fix it. If they do, I won’t write a bad review. If they don’t, I will offer to not write about it.”

“Steer away from negative content, even though it can be very effective. Everyone gets fired up over a bad review and they like to share it, but it doesn’t reflect very well on you and can get you into trouble,” offered Lillie.

4. Create a Community: “Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform. You can pay $5 to promote a post (and I do that sometimes), but you won’t see a big difference in your analytics. What’s really powerful is to form alliances and private Facebook groups, not just with other travel bloggers. People who like wine, food, lifestyle, even interior design share readers. The cross-pollenization that happens helps everyone grow,” Priscilla said.

5. Know Your Worth: “It depends on your reach and your demographic,” reasoned Tamara, “I have a group of travel blogger friends, and we share that information.”

“This is why you need the group mentality!” proclaimed Priscilla, “Building your blogging network is key. Whatever you do, don’t write a post for someone for free – it brings the rate for everyone down to $0. You’re time is worth something.

“I would argue that there is a value in giving content to high-traffic sites, so it can be OK to do something like that for free as long as there is some ROI. It’s a value to your resume,” Lillie said.

One of We3Travel's Pinterest boards

We3Travel on Pinterest © Photos by Tamara Gruber

6. A Photo’s Worth a Thousand Shares (nope, still not right): “For me, Pinterest is very important. It drives traffic to my site, often more than google,” Tamara shared.

“Be sure to link all of your photos: photos on Google and Pinterest should link to your website and have descriptions,” Priscilla said.

“Selling your photos can also be another source of income,” Lillie pointed out.

The Newport Interactive Marketers' Hootsuite dashboard

Here’s a look at the Newport Interactive Marketers’ Hootsuite dashboard

7. Tally Your Toolbox:  “Don’t be afraid to automate! Hootsuite can schedule your posts at the best time for your demographic. You could write the best blog post ever, but if no one ever reads it, it won’t matter,” explained Lillie. To find out when the ideal time for your demographic is, be sure to check out Tweepi. 

“The Tail Wind app is great for automating Pinterest,” shared Tamara, “Paying a little for the right tools can be worth it.”

Google trends is an invaluable SEO tool,” said Priscilla, “In WordPress there is a feature where you can try a bunch of different options and put them in Google Trends to see where you are in searches.”

Snapchat logo

Snapchat! If you want to learn more about using Snapchat as a blogger, check out AdventurousKate

8. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize (your media, that is):  “Learn and get busy on all social media sites and thank everyone who follows (NOT by direct message),” Priscilla advised.

“The biggest mistake people make is to just stop for an extended period of time on social media,” Lille said, “Be consistent and don’t be afraid to self promote!

“Snapchat is the newest thing people must be on, although it does appeal to a younger demographic,” said Tamara, “Its important to know who your audience is and where to find them.”

 

Top 3 Travel Tips

“Use Trivago or another trip-cost comparison site to look for the lowest fare. Then, take a screenshot and call the hotel. They will always match it, and it’s always better to book through the hotel because they tend to have a better cancellation policy and you also will be eligible for upgrades,” advised Priscilla.

“Tuesday is the best day to book airlines usually,” shared Tamara.

“People would pay a lot of money to stay in your home in beautiful Newport so rent it out on Airbnb to get money for travel and also find places to stay in yourself!” Lillie suggested.

All-Time Favorite Hotel

The Phoenix Resort in Belize

Balcony view from the Phoenix Resort in Belize © Photo by Lillie Marshall

Lillie’s Pick: The Phoenix in Belize “No better place for a babymoon!” 

 Kona Village Resort in Hawaii at Sunrise

The now closed Kona Village Resort in Hawaii © Photo by Tamara Grub

Tamara’s Pick: Kona Village Resort in Hawaii “Unfortunately, after 45 years, this resort was forced to permanently close their doors after the March 2011 tsunami.”

A hammock overlooking the ocean at The Bitter End Resort in BVI

The gorgeous Bitter End Resort in BVI © Photo by Priscilla Pilon

Priscilla’s Pick: The Bitter End in the British Virgin Islands “I’ve never been sponsored to stay at this hotel, but I visit every year!”  

And, of course, we had to ask about their favorite place in Newport! 

Castle Hill Inn from the sea

Castle Hill Inn from the sea © Photo by Priscilla Pilon

Priscilla’s Pick: Castle Hill Inn “They have the best lunch and the best views!” 

hotel viking

The beautiful Hotel Viking (#NIMRI venue sponsor for our annual networking event!) © Photo by Lillie Marshall

Lillie’s Pick: Hotel Viking “This is the place to go to feel like royalty!” 

Here’s what #NIMRI members were saying on Instagram and Twitter: 

 

Great turnout at #NIMRI! A photo posted by Suzanne McDonald (@newportinteract) on

 

 

Learning about travel blogging at #NIMRI at @ParlorNewport. #NewportRI A photo posted by The Newport Blast (@thenewportblast) on

Many thanks to our venue sponsor Parlor Kitchen & Bar

Register for the next #NIMRI event now! 

Simple Tips for DIY Videos

“You can talk all day about SEM and SEO. What your client needs is great VIDEO,” said photographer and video producer Marc Creedon.

2015-05-19 19.11.45

Panelists speak to the #NIMRI attendees at Caleb & Broad in Newport, offering tips on how to make DIY videos look professional.

Video is increasingly important on social media – even Facebook has begun to feature it heavily. If social media is becoming more focused on video, so should your social media marketing strategy.

But video is expensive, right? How can you do-it-yourself without compromising quality?

Newport Interactive Marketers brought a panel of professionals who can give you tips and tricks of the trade in order to begin incorporating video more prominently in your social media strategy.

Each panelist has decades of experience but has also kept up with current technology. We’ve brought them to Newport for you, because that’s how we roll here at NIM.

Meet Our Video Pro Panelists

Hal Landen is a cameraman, producer, and author who has traveled the world on assignments and written how to books to assist businesspeople incorporate video in their marketing strategy. He says to check your equipment before you start shooting so you know that when the time comes, everything will be working correctly.

Jim Egan, who was a commercial photographer for 30 years and now runs the Newport Tower Museum on weekends, has also written 12 books and now shoots web content for agencies and businesses in Rhode Island. Egan says the key to a successful image is gesture and proper lighting. Motion, emotion and visual appeal are essential to a good video.

Marc Creedon, a photographer and video producer, says the best camera is the one you have with you. Journalists often use their phones to document what is happening, so learn how to use your phone to make your video look professional.

Scott Indermaur is a former journalist who is now a commercial photographer, handling multimedia projects for clients. It’s important to interview well, he says, but make it feel like a conversation, with moments of true emotion.

Shooting Tips2015-05-19 18.56.03

  • Don’t be afraid to shoot with your phone.
  • Make sure adequate battery and memory is available.
  • Close all other apps.
  • Shoot in landscape mode.
  • Instead of using zoom, use your legs and get closer.
  • Pan the camera sparingly.
  • Don’t be afraid to get the shot.

Editing Tips

  • Don’t edit on your phone; edit on the computer.
  • Take advantage of free photo editing software.
  • Use short snippets to show different aspects of a scene.
  • Leave cliffhangers to entice people to watch your other videos.
  • Music is essential to make a video professional. Try Free Stock Music for free downloads.
  • Create a look by trying Font Squirrel for free fonts and Fiverr for logos.
  • Shoot a lot, edit a lot, and make mistakes.

What were participants tweeting during the panel?

 


Many thanks to our venue sponsor, Caleb & Broad. It’s a familiar location for longtime NIM folks, but it’s totally renovated inside and has excellent food at locals’ prices.

Check out NIM’s upcoming event here. Make sure you preregister because events fill up quickly!

Matt-Roche

Making Cents of PPC and AdWords

Google Agency Partner Matt Roche’s presentation at May’s  Newport Interactive Marketers focused on how businesses can utilize Google AdWords/PPC. Matt explained why businesses should consider advertising with Google and shared his secrets for success.  Here are the highlights of the presentation.

AdWords is a Keyword Action 

  • AdWords is Google’s brand name for their pay per click ad platform)
  • Keywords are words or phrases users search for on Google to locate what they’re interested in
  • Advertisers bid on keywords used to describe their business
  • When your keywords are eligible in the auction an ad you write, appears in the search results
  • When a user clicks on your ad Google charges the you a cost for the click (CPC)

PPC is Highly Targeted

  • Keywords: “Red Running Shoes” is 50% more profitable than “Red Running Sneakers”
  • Ad Messaging: “Fast Shipping” is 25% more profitable than “Fast Delivery“
  • Geo Targeting: a [X] mile radius around your business, city/towns and countries
  • Devices: desktops, tablets and mobile, and even mobile providers
  • Time and Day: only during your business open hours or 24/5

What You Pay for a Click

  • You set your monthly budget and divide it over a 30 day period
  • For example: $1,000 monthly budget equates to $33 a day
  • If your average cost per click is $1.00 you’ll get 33 clicks in a day
  • One day you may get $33 worth of clicks, another day you may get $36 worth of clicks
  • You won’t pay more than $1,000 in a month

YOU Set Your Maximum Cost Per click (CPC)

  • Often you’ll actually pay less per click than your max CPC.
  • For example: Your max CPC is $1.00, the advertiser below you has max CPC
  •    at $0.80. When a user clicks on your ad  you pay only $0.81 for the click

How Your Ad Ranks

  • Ad Rank determines your ad’s position in relation to other advertiser’s ads
  • Ad Rank = Quality Score x Maximum Cost per Click
  • Quality Score = The quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages
  • Ad Rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear – ad position fluctuates
  • Even if Brand X has higher bids than yours, you can still win a higher position at a lower price by using highly relevant keywords, ads and landing pages!

What to Do Before You Get Started

1. Establish Clearly Defined Goals – What may seem really obvious to you may not to good portion of your visitors. What do you want your visitors to do?

2. Why Should Visitors Buy From You? – What makes your product or service unique?

3. Understanding ROI – You need to understand your ROI to determine how profitable your PPC advertising is. To calculate ROI sales you need 3 numbers: revenue from PPC advertising, cost related to goods sold, and Adwords cost. The formula is:

Revenue – Overall Costs / Overall Costs = Profit Percentage (Overall Cost = Cost related to good sold + Adwords cost). 

Ex. R = 1,300 O= 1,000

($1,300   –   $1,000)   /  $1,000          =  0.3

Revenue    Overall Costs   Overall Costs   Profit is 30%

Explaining Keywords

  • Broad Match: Most traffic BUT lots of irrelevant clicks – least CPC
  • Modified + Broad Match: Less traffic than broad – more relevant clicks – higher CPC
  • Phrase Match: Less traffic than broad  –  more  relevant clicks  –  higher CPC than broad
  • Exact Match: Least amount of traffic –  most relevant clicks  –  highest CPCs
  • Negative Match: Keeps your ads from appearing for irrelevant queries. Not using negative matches is one of the biggest mistakes advertisers make. Adding negatives is a huge cost controller especially when using broad match terms.

Writing Effective Ads

  • Include target keywords in your ad content
  • Include a value or unique selling proposition
  • Have a call to action
  • Don’t forget transactional words such as prices, fee, discount, etc.
  • Create a sense of urgency

Monitoring and Measuring Your Campaigns

Daily

  • Are your ads running?

Weekly

  •  Are impressions , clicks and conversions normal?
  • Did you think of new keywords in the shower this morning?
  • Do you have a new promotion | product | value proposition?

Monthly  

  • Month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year
  • Keep in mind seasonality
  • Make note of promotions
  • Note of major website changes
  • Make note of major news events, weather, holidays, etc.

Here’s what Newport Interactive Marketers were saying on Twitter:

:  Networking with friends Katrina & Emily enjoying !  

@Sue_DesigEditor:Ingredients to a better quality score by

: … A view from the back … Great presentation on

 

Recipe for an effective ad via @semseopro #NIMRI #MidtownOyster  

mattrocheMeet Matt Roche

Certified AdWords Professional since 2005, Google Agency Partner Matt Roche currently manages $100,000+ in monthly client ad spend. Prior to launching his firm SEM/SEO Pro, Matt served as Director of Search Marketing at Boston-based Emagine Communications and was WIMCO’s Online Marketing Manager from 2000-2006.

Social Media Agency Secrets

anaAna Raynes of Inceptor was spreading secrets this May about ways to hook your followers through social media. Because of Ana’s agency background, she was able to enlighten audiences on many ways to obtain ROI through simple strategies of social media.

A native of Colombia, educated in fashion design at the London College of Fashion, @StylinAna has a honed her talent for following trends and introducing new concepts.

Previously Ana was responsible for social media and information technology at the internet fashion startup “Smart Is Cool” and was featured in Glamour Magazine, appeared on FOX Strategy Room, and toured the East Coast as a motivational speaker for young girls alongside the nonprofit Girls Take Charge.

Since Smart Is Cool, she has worked in social media at New York and Boston agencies. As Inceptor’s social media manager, Ana focuses on clients’ strategic social media planning, blogger relations, and identifying news, trends, and best practices. Based in Boston, Inceptor is a Didit company.

With Raynes’ tips, the audience learned how to

  • Deliver beyond Facebook with Influencer Campaigns
  • Utilize Google Plus and its applications (Google Hangouts, Google Circles)
  • Track social media outreach using free tools
  • Understand social engagement has ROI

Aside from providing “techy” information, Raynes’ talk gave small business owners insight into social branding and customer relationship management.

Missed it? That’s okay – check out this recap

What Works for Agencies That We Can Do Too

Ana Raynes’ social media team at Inceptor handles new media for major national brands. Rather than experiment on your own, find out what works that you can implement – even with limited time and budgets.

Quick tips & ideas from Ana:

How to deliver beyond Facebook with Influencer Campaigns
Google Hangouts LIVE (her secret to agency success)
ROI: The bigger the brand the less you can BS
And, yes, social definitely has ROI

#NIMRI attendees Tweeted these highlights

@Sasimmons15: “Never be afraid to grow your business through influencer campaigns.”

@MiaLupo: Should probably get on this–> “Social Media Calendar helps keep track of content”

@bargainbabe: “Never be afraid of the size of your business.” Wise advice from @stylinana at #nimri

@ Sasimmons15: “Twitter is definitely the biggest driver for revenue.”

@Sue_DesigEditor: Campaigns don’t work on #social because brands are overly focused in selling rather than connecting, telling a story

@MiaLupo: Identifying local influencers: “Look to your local ‘celebrities’ and who people look up to”- @StylinAna #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: Networking key to building connections with influencers who have large #social media followings #NIMRI

@Sasimmons15: @StylinAna recommends to network with influencers to grow brand.

@Sue_DesigEditor: @StylinAna Don’t use Hootsuite for Facebook. Can schedule your posts within Facebook b/c it kills your Edgerank

@MiaLupo: “Charging clients: Every client is different, prices should be tailored to a business’s needs”- @StylinAna #NIMRI

@franciscosamuel: #NIMRI Instagram is growing … Pinterest is stagnant … Social media

@MiaLupo: Vine works for artistic, creative industries – think fashion & arts #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: Real relationships beget followers – that’s really how you grow @StylinAna #NIMRI

@tgruber: “Twitter drives the most revenue across all our brands” via @StylinAna #NIMRI

@MiaLupo: “Twitter drives double the revenue than Facebook” – @StylinAna #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: One post written by an influencer gathered 8,000 clicks @StylinAna #NIMRI

Don’t miss monthly #NIMRI gatherings.

Maximize MultiMedia: A Do-It-Yourself Production!

Why should you think and create multimedia? Data and metrics increasingly spotlight multimedia:

January’s Newport Interactive Marketers event left attendees feeling confident and knowledgeable about how to create a more appealing platform through multimedia. It turns out, creating multimedia can easily be done on your own. It’s not always necessary to spend thousands of dollars on something that can easily be put together with a few but important steps that Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media was able to share with NIM attendees. So grab a pen and paper and turn your ideas into a creative multimedia creation that will quickly catch the eye of your target audience.

Did you know that 1 minute of video can account for thousands of words? Multimedia can package so much information and be displayed in a creative, attention-grabbing way. So why wouldn’t we all use media to benefit our businesses? Donna Mac asked the audience and here is what we found out:

  • Multimedia production is confusing or overwhelming
  • It seems like a daunting task to create multimedia
  • Takes too long and costs too much money

Donna engaged the audience with just how simple it can be to DO IT YOURSELF. So let’s take a look at her simple steps to managing your own multimedia production:

Multimedia pre-production

  • Choose a platform. Audio, Audio/Visual, or just Video.
  • Know the business: What is your goal and what are you “selling?”
  • Who is the audience: What will they be receptive to?
  • Know the BRAND and pick a style, whether it be professional or funny, make sure to add your flavor.
  • What will turn your audience’s attention to the video? Don’t be too lengthy, pushy, or self-centered.
  • BEGIN THE WRITING PROCESS. Who, what, when, and how. It’s your business, tell your story.
  • Keep it short, simple, and sweet. Remember to be authentic: People need to relate, so don’t sound too automated or commercial. You need to build trust, so be real.

Producing your multimedia

  • Gather your equipment: Make sure you have a quality recording device. And for visual media, make sure to have good lighting, good backgrounds, and look presentable.
  • Make sure the production is directed, whether it’s by you or someone else; you must keep it organized. Schedule your recordings in a timely fashion and make sure everything you need is recorded.
  • When recording, you want to always sound authentic, look presentable, and be true to yourself.
  • Keep in mind the background of your footage: Make sure the focus is you and that there are no distractions. Plan on multiple, so you have the best footage you can get.

Multimedia Post-Production

  • Organize and asses your footage, make sure to remove anything with continuity errors and keep the best of all the takes.
  • Piece it together: Make sure your footage makes chronological sense.
  • Add narration, pictures, background sounds, and an opening and closing – depending on the type of media.
  • IMPORTANT! REVISE: Creating media is much like writing a paper, keep in concise and error-free.

Special thanks to Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media for sharing her years of expertise and knowledge with NIM. Donna is president and founder of DMac Voice & Media.

 

DonnaMac

Maximizing your Multimedia Output

Donna Mac of DMacVoice & Media shared her expert advice on how you can you bring your website alive AND help boost SEO by turning boring text into exciting audio/visual content.

At this NIM event, audiences learned how to create their own professional production with a few simple tools and techniques that will bring your market alive with exciting new content.

Audiences received advice on how to obtain a more interactive and appealing selling point through subjects like the following:

  • Importance of multimedia, such as video and podcasts
  • Responsive design and material
  • Understanding the audience
  • Authentic delivery & what to include
  • Do it yourself production overview
  • Implementing production and your final product

Meet Donna Mac

DonnaMac
Donna Mac is a pioneering female broadcaster with live, on-air experience as a news producer, editor, and radio personality. She’s led countless events as a keynote speaker and facilitator. She’s owned DMacVoice & Media since 2003, giving her clients the ability to create high-quality multimedia products that promote businesses and educate audiences. She also coaches executives on improving their presentation skills. This way, their messages are concise and compelling, whether delivered live or virtually.

Missed this great talk? Learn more about video & visuals and more via the NIM media library!

Become a NIM $upporting member for access to the vast video library of past presentations and watch at your convenience.