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Interested in joining the thriving movement of influencers and travel blogging but don’t know where to start? Join #NIMRI for a night of networking and hear from top travel content creators & influencers as they answer questions such as:
- How do you gain followers?
- What are the best platforms for travel bloggers and/or influencers in other sectors?
- How hard is it to break into the business at this point?
Adapt their insights to help you succeed:
- What it really takes to make money in this business
- Gaining sponsorships & free stuff
- Taking advantage of multiple revenue streams
Whether you’re an aspiring influencer or looking to gain sponsorships to support your enthusiastic hobby, don’t miss out on this FREE talk. The easiest way to kickstart a new adventure is to hear from the pros first.
Meet the Panelists
Tamara Gruber of We3Travel
We3Travel is designed to inspire families to explore the world by providing tips, reviews, destination information, and sample itineraries that make family vacation planning easier.
Since 2013, this family of three has been showing parents how, with a little planning and preparation, they can take kids anywhere — and have fun! From the cathedrals of Europe to the rainforests of Costa Rica to the battlefields of Gettysburg, we are raising a global citizen, one trip at a time. We3Travel was named one of the Top 20 Family Travel Blogs in 2015 by Holiday Lettings (a TripAdvisor Company).
Priscilla Pilon of Weekend in Paris
Though she travels the world, Priscilla is an admitted Paris addict. She began her career as a food and travel writer. She based her content off of her own personal trips and time spent living and working abroad. Her 20+ year passion for Paris led to the creation of the hugely successful site, TheWeekendInParis.com. Additionally, Priscilla is the Senior Travel Editor of LuxeGetaways and Contributor for Upscale Living Magazine.
Priscilla’s priority is her reader. Often times, She states her truthful opinions and looks for the unique and unusual to recommend to them. She cherishes the many comments and letters she receives from peers and readers on how grateful they were for recommendations, advice and travel tips.
Remember, Spots fill up quickly, so be sure to register at bit.ly/NIMevents. Paid parking available in Mary Street lot across from the venue or street parking. Please note Queen Anne’s Loft is above the Thames Street Starbucks, enter from side street and up the stairs.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
And, of course, we had to ask about their favorite place in Newport!
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
Wow! We covered so much incredible information at our August 12 event, Travel Bloggers’ Secrets You Can Use. Our three amazing panelists, Tamara Gruber of We3Travel, Lillie Marshall of Around the World “L”, and Priscilla Pilon of The Weekend in Paris shared invaluable insights about blogging, marketing, monetizing, and, of course, traveling. We wanted to put together a couple of posts summing up all the best tips for any of you who might not have been able to make it or any #NIMRI members who want to refresh on what they learned. Part 1 will cover a little bit of background about our panelists and their top blogging tips. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!
How They Got Started
Tamara Gruber: “After a family trip, I was telling a friend everything I’d learned about traveling as a family, and she said ‘you should share this,'” explained Tamara. And thus We3Travel was born. Tamara Gruber’s blog centers around family travel and her family of three have traveled all over the world, from the cathedrals of Europe to the rainforests of Costa Rica. We3Travel was recently named one of the Top 20 Family Travel Blogs in 2015 by Holiday Lettings (a company owned by TripAdvisor). “I try to research trips and make itinerary suggestions that everyone can get something out of,” said Tamara, “Showing kids the world is a gift that we give to them.”
Lillie Marshall: “I started at age 27, sleeping in $10 broom closets because I wanted to travel the world,” said Lillie. Around the World “L” which began in 2009, has covered everything from nomadic budget traveler trips to luxury family travel, now that its creator, Lillie Marshall, is married with a young son (and another on the way! Congrats Lillie!!). She works as an English teacher in Boston, and runs TeachingTraveling.com, a blog that interviews “Teacher-Travelers.” Lillie has one of the largest social media followings of any teacher in the world and Around the World “L” has been consistently selected for Top 100 Travel Blog rankings. She was also recently invited to attend White House Travel Bloggers Summit on Study Abroad and Global Engagement.
Priscilla Pilon: “When I first started writing my blog I didn’t realize other people could see it. I made it for my friends and family. The first time I got a comment from a stranger, I was like ‘who is this?!’,” laughed Priscilla Pilon of The Weekend In Paris. Priscilla has traveled the world, but is an admitted Paris addict. In addition to her own blog, she is the Travel Editor for The Daily Basics (the editor of which she actually met at a #NIMRI event!), as well as a contributor for Upscale Living Magazine, The Daily Meal, and Travel Squire.
Top 6 Blogging Tips
1. Preferred Platform: Lillie, Tamara and Priscilla all recommend WordPress as a blogging platform. “You can really create your own identity since there are so many themes to choose from and they’re so easy to customize,” said Lillie, “and there are so many useful plugins!”
2. Traversing the Themes: Sifting through the bazillion or so WordPress themes can be a bit intimidating but it helps if you know want you want it to look like. Magazine-ish? Newspaper-ish? Word-driven? Photo-driven?
“Your theme must work with Google Analytics. Some older themes don’t,” Priscilla warned, “So, to be safe, don’t choose one that’s more than 3 years old. It also must be mobile responsive. If it isn’t it will be downgraded by Google.” In addition, 80% of internet users access the web through their smartphone. That is big chunk of your target audience who wouldn’t be able to access your website. However, if you already have an older WordPress site you don’t want to change, or you totally fall in love with an older theme the WP touch plugin can make it mobile responsive.
3. Camera of Choice: Priscilla uses a Nikon D5300, but many bloggers, including Lillie and Tamara, are moving from a big DSLR to smaller mirrorless cameras. Lillie chose the Sony Alpha 5100, and Tamara has both a Mirrorless Olympus and a Go Pro. “I also love to use my iPhone!” exclaimed Tamara.
4. A Word For Every Thousand Pictures (wait, that’s not right) : “People are captivated first by a photo,” Priscilla explained, “I like to pick the pictures first, then write the story. I took 8,000 photos on my recent trip to Africa and narrowed that down to about 20 for my article. Obviously you can’t fit all of your pictures in one post, but it is nice to build up a big media library so you can share the other photos on social media or in a later article.”
5. Feelings on Freelancing: “I think freelancing can be a little bit dangerous because you are putting all of this effort into someone else’s site. However, it’s different for everyone, and some people get a lot out of it,” Lillie said.
“I focused first on building my own blog and my own presence before moving into freelancing,” explained Tamara.
“You can get some street cred if you’re writing for other sources, but you have to have a thick skin. I was sending out 20 pitches and getting 19 no’s and 1 positive response. It makes you doubt yourself, but once you get going and they know your reputation, you’ll get 19 yes’,” shared Priscilla, “Just make sure you promise appropriately and over-deliver. Also, be on time!”
6. Share with Care: It isn’t a good idea to post things live in case of stalkers, and never post pictures of children without their parent’s permission. “I write about family travel, but for the longest time I didn’t use my daughter’s name,” shared Tamara, “Finally, it became too awkward writing ‘my daughter’ over and over, but it is something to be cautious about.”
“Make sure that what you’re posting is not traceable to you or where you live, and that it’s appropriate,” advised Lille, “Beware of geo-tagging!”
Next week our travel bloggers top marketing/monetizing and travel tips!
Many thanks to our venue sponsor Parlor Kitchen & Bar