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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! 

Generate Leads on Instagram

With more than 300 million active users, Instagram is now the fastest-growing social media platform – and when trends online change, your social media marketing strategy needs to shift with it.

Luckily, NIM brought #InstagramExpert Sue B Zimmerman to Newport June 9 to share her expertise on making your Instagram work for your business.

Zimmerman is founder of Insta-Results, the world’s first comprehensive online Instagram course, and author of the No. 1 e-book “Instagram Basics for Your Business.”

An entrepreneur and founder of 18 businesses, including her own boutique, Zimmerman is passionate about teaching other business owners, execs, and marketing professionals how to best leverage social media platforms, such as Instagram, to see tangible results.

Zimmerman’s Instagram photos portray a lot of excitement and enthusiasm as part of her branding.

Keys of “Insta-Success”

Zimmerman says there are three components of Instagram that are essential to success.

  • Bio
  • Compelling Content
  • Active Engagement

Tips to Making Your Instagram Bio Pop

  • Name – Use the same name as your Twitter account so that your accounts are recognizably linked. If the name you want is taken, don’t be afraid to use underscores or symbols.
  • Avatar – Make this image pop! You can use a logo, but you want your audience to feel that they’re doing business with a smiling human, not a robot. Use bright colors here, and feel free to use props.
  • Bio – You have 150 characters to tell your audience who you are. Make every character count. This is a great place to use emojis and show personality!
  • Call to Action – Instagram is a great funnel for leads, meaning by the time they get to your bio, they’re likely to be very interested in your brand, so carefully consider what you want someone to do once they get to your account.
  • Link – You have space for only one link, so make sure you’re sending your link where you want them to go. Try sending them to your online store, email newsletter sign-up or strategy guide.

Creating Compelling Instagram Content

  • Stick to your niche market – don’t confuse people.
  • Add value to every post by including useful information in the image’s description.
  • Create images that stand out. Use third-party apps to make picture collages or to edit images.
  • Post daily. If you have fewer than 500 followers, post two times a day.
  • Humanize your brand. People want to see the person behind the business.
  • Engage with other accounts. Giving a shout out to accounts you like will encourage them to check out your account.
  • Hashtags are so important for potential followers to find your content. But instead of putting the hashtags in the description of the image, which makes the post look cluttered, post a comment on the photo immediately after you post with as many as 30 hashtags. Try Keyhole, to help find the most useful and targeted hashtags to find your key audience.

Six Mistakes to Avoid on Instagram

  • Never post a blurry photo. If it’s your only image, use a sharpening tool in Instagram to make a photo less blurry.
  • Don’t post irrelevant “stuff.” You may lose followers if too much of your content seems useless or unrelated to their interests.
  • Don’t over-post. If you saturate your feed with images, people will unfollow you.
  • Don’t under-post. If you aren’t active enough, people won’t follow you in the first place.
  • Don’t repost the same images. Instagram posts have a life of about 24 hours, so there’s no need to post an image more than once.
  • Avoid posed, catalogue-type shots. Your audience doesn’t want to feel like they’re being sold to online.

What were #NIMRI attendees saying on Twitter?

 

 

 Sue b NIMRI

 

Check out NIM’s next event here. Make sure you preregister before it fills up!

A special thank you to the event host 41 North in Newport.

Newport Interactive Marketers is sponsored by web and social specialists Designated Editor, named Newport County Chamber of Commerce Microbusiness of the Year and International Business Award Internet/New Media Company of the Year.

Sue-Zimmerman

#InstagramExpert National Speaker Comes to Newport

Instagram = opportunity for your brand, whether you’re a shop or a B2B. Find out how to make Instagram pay off from the leading #InstagramExpert who just spoke at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego.  And she’s coming to teach you, here in Newport, for FREE.

Google and Facebook also value visual storytelling, but Instagram is now the fastest-growing social media platform. Now is the time to make Instagram work for your brand or businesses.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn

  • Ways to make Instagram a part of your comprehensive social media marketing plan
  • How to get started on Instagram and have a strategy to support you
  • How to generate leads and foster a community for business growth

Plus, see what you can do that’s worked for small businesses and big brands to gain maximum exposure on Instagram and beyond.

Meet The #InstagramExpert Sue B. Zimmerman
Sue-Zimmerman

Sue B. Zimmerman is the #instagramexpert, founder of Insta-Results (the world’s first comprehensive online Instagram course) and author of the #1 e-book Instagram Basics for Your Business. She’s a popular CreativeLive instructor, powerful speaker on prominent stages like #SMMW15, and highly sought-after business coach. She’s passionate about teaching entrepreneurs, business execs, and marketing professionals. She teaches how to easily leverage the power of Instagram to get tangible business results. A serial entrepreneur, Sue B. has started more than 18 businesses, including her own boutique SueB Do, Boxer Rebellion, and Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise. With her extensive knowledge in social media and 30+ years of business experience, it’s Sue B.’s mission to teach, mentor, and empower others to be highly successful entrepreneurs.

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.

Newport Interactive Marketing

Integrating Events and Social Media Lunch & Learn

Newport Interactive Marketers teamed up with the Hive for October to host a social media lunch. Suzanne McDonald’s presentation focused on strategies and tactics to harness the power of social media to improve your events.  Topic included how to incorporate Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram to increase awareness for your campaigns and learn how you can save time with sites like Hootsuite and Eventbrite.

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

Become a NIM $upporting member, if you aren’t already, for access to the vast video library of past presentations and watch from your device at your convenience.