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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! 

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.

Pinterest: A Top-Tier Social Media Tool for Business

 

If instead of posting quotes on Facebook, you’d rather share tapestries you found at the bazaar in India, or smiling sloths from your trip to Costa Rica, then you’ll love Pinterest. But did you know that in addition to providing the perfect platform for those who are more visual- than text-oriented, Pinterest can also help your business gain traffic and credibility?

For baby boomers, the act of “pinning” may still conjure up a fraternity engagement ceremony. But Pinterest is so on the edge of marketing platforms that even the aughts ought to know about. In fact, it’s one of the top three social media tools including Facebook and Twitter, according to Annie Colella of Discover Newport (gonewport.com), who presented a talk to NIM April 26.

So, what’s Pinterest?

Simply defined, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing network about your personal and business interests. “Pinners” discover and post photos they love or are inspired by and organize them into a thematic pinboard. Then they share them so that people they know and people they don’t know gain access and the ability to follow them. Think Facebook+Flickr+Twitter+Youtube. (Pinterest even accommodates video uploads for pinning, from Youtube and Vimeo.)

Colella, whose sunny personality, high profile position at gonewport.com, and visual bent make her the quintessential pinner, presented a Powerpoint rich in easy-to-understand tips for business promotion through the fun and surprisingly simple act of “pinning.” The pinning expert summed up Pinterest in one sentence: “It’s Like Fantasy Football for girls.”

Pinterest has cross-reach

While the 80/20 rule applies to Pinterest in terms of women (80) and men (20) are users, in time, Pinterest promises to level out once business people see its merits, Colella said. Those merits are numerous because Pinterest is integrated with Facebook and Twitter. This way users can sign in through one or the other of their social networks, making cross-networking sharing easier. Pinners can pin their own, or, with attribution, re-pin somebody else’s image.

“Great boards promote the event and lifestyle of their demographic,” said Colella, underscoring why Pinterest is such a great tool for brand creation and development.

Generating traffic for your brand via Pinterest comes down to traditional SEO and link building, Colello told NIM. In addition to integration with other social media accounts, pinners can also bring new visitors to their associated websites, blogs and digitally published guest articles.

How does Pinterest stack up to other social?

Not sold yet? Pinterest outsmarts Facebook for time spent, according to mashable.com. And in October of 2011, the website of Tim, Inc’s Real Simple Magazine got more traffic from Pinterest than Facebook.

Pinterest has another advantage: most pinners re-pin rather than pin new items from the Web, and if they are linking back and crediting the way they should, that means Pinterest is a remarkable website traffic referral tool. This is true particularly for apparel retailers.

Another gleaming statistic is that Pinterest hit $10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors, faster than any independent site in history. Like Google, Pinterest also contains analytic tools for tracking traffic such as PinReach, which tracks interests, followers, boards and pins via analytics to measure the most popular boards by re-pin and who your influential followers are.

Now, NIM-ers are savvy marketers already, but so much new stuff comes onto the social media horizon that every new platform introduced can bring apprehension. To reinforce the power of Pinterest, Colello explained that Pinterest was the top social referrer for marthastewartweddings.com and marthastewart.com, sending more traffic to both properties than Facebook and Twitter combined. Pinterest generates more referral traffic to web sites than YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin combined.

You have to be invited

The only downside thus far, Colello said, is Pinterest is still a closed community, therefore users have to request an invite from existing users to join. So Colella promised to take names at the end of her talk so she could send out Pinterest invitations. She then invited guests to find her on Twitter if they had any more Pinterest questions. And that, folks, is the way social media should work!

After the talk, Portsmouth resident Cheryl Digennaro said she would consider using Pinterest in addition to Facebook to promote her reiki business. “I didn’t really know much about Pinterest before,” said Digennaro, “but now I plan on using Pinterest to post photos and quotes from my favorite authors, holistic practitioners, physicians and quantum physicists who support my message.”

Some of Annie’s hot Pinterest tips & takeaways:

  • Don’t be selfish; pin from sources other than your own site
  • Re-pin, “favorite” and comment on other users’ pins
  • Always provide linkbacks and credit your sources
  • Use keywords to make your pins easy to find
  • Be nice!
  • Include item price in description
  • Link back to your e-commerce site so the consumer can make a purchase
  • Use pleasing graphics, good inspirational images – a “wow” effect makes a good Pinterest board for users to follow
  • Don’t be over-promotional. Concentrate on great products, inspirations, corporate and social responsibility.

 

Photos by Ramon at www.smalltimevideo.com

DE/NIM would like to thank @anniecolellahttp://www.gonewport.com/@41northhttp://www.41north.com

Please stay tuned for the next meeting of NIM in June!

NIM Events You Missed

New Media events you may have missed

April 26, 2012 – Pinterest for Business: All You Need to Know

Annie Colella of Discover Newport (the Convention and Visitors Bureau) shared how Pinterest can work for your business. Attendees learned how to get to get started with Pinterest and how to get the most out of the social media site. Highlights from Pinterest for Business are posted on the Newport Interactive Marketers blog.

March 29, 2012 – The film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater

 

 

March 1, 2012  Optimize Online Marketing With Secrets of a Revenue Coach

Let’s take a look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective.

Does your website put customers off? You think your website describes your company and products or services. You think you’re not “in the way” when they come to your site to learn about you — or via social media Read More

1/26/2012 Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, shared mobile web best practices for publishers and advertisers. NIM attendees learned the difference between a mobile app and a mobile site and how to build effective web content.

Check out the highlights from “Make Your Business Mobile Friendly.” Learn how to use mobile to engage with customers on Designated Editor’s blog.

 

Newport Interactive Marketers @ URI Social Media Social

Kevin Vine: Interactive Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

Shawn Simmons: Director of Public Relations, StyleWeek

Suzanne McDonald: Chief Content Strategist, Designated Editor, NIM founder

11/29/2011

Newport Interactive Marketers joined the University of Rhode Island for the URI Social Media Social. The NIM speakers provided insights to students and Newport Interactive Marketers about what an intern can do and how social media can boost a business.

Discover what attendees learned from “Cross the Digital Divide” between digital natives (interns) and busy professionals on Designated Editor’s blog.

Create and Market Your Brand Story

Jamie Palmer

10/27/2011

Jamie Palmer, the Senior Practitioner at University Business Consultants LLC, taught NIM attendees how to tactfully articulate the brand. Jamie stressed the importance of telling the story and not selling the story. NIM attendees learned how to engage their audience with messages that would resonate.

Check out the key points from “Create and Market Your Brand Story.” Learn how to create a personal and effective brand story on Designated Editor’s blog.

Enhance your Brand with Google+ and Twitter

Discussion Panel

9/29/2011

Panelists Matt Medeiros of Slocum Studios and Michelle Quillin of New England Multimedia shared their insights on Google+ just as it launched. A general consensus was Google+ was not appropriate for all brands at that time. But for those who are concerned about SEO, it’s worth considering.

Learn more about to enhance your brand using social media from “Google+ Twitter Q & A at Newport Interactive Marketers” located on Designated Editor’s blog.

Intertwining Social Media and Customer Service

Chuck Dennis

8/25/2011

Chuck Dennis, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Knowledgence Associates, taught NIM how to infuse social media with customer service to boost engagement and ROI. NIM attendees learned how to interact with customers’ concerns and complaints through social media. Tips for detecting and redirecting what could become a PR debacle were also included.

Discover what attendees learned from “Social Media and Customer Service With Newport Interactive Marketers.”

Join NIM at the top of Newport Tweetup

7/21/2011

Keeping the social in NIM, attendees gathered high over Newport for free appetizers, drink specials, and nonstop networking.

Drive ROI from Google Analytics

Jay Murphy

6/23/2011

Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts instructor Jay Murphy showed Newport Interactive Marketers how to maximize Google Analytics to drive ROI. NIM attendees learned how to attract people that will actually buy and how to bring in more buyers and prospects.

Find out more about what attendees learned from “Google Analytics with Jay Murphy at Newport Interactive Marketers.” Discover how to get the best results from your online efforts, on Designated Editor’s blog.

SEO Mythology and Tactics from SEO Book Community Manager Eric Covino

Eric Covino, http://www.creativesignals.com/

5/19/2011

NIM was thrilled to have Eric Covino of internationally regarded SEO community SeoBook.com and CreativeSignals.com answer questions on Search Engine Optimization and Google rankings. NIM attendees learned tactics to get search engines to rank their sites number one. Eric gave tips on how marketers can boost their websites in just one week! He also explained how SEO differs for service businesses and local retailers.

Learn more about SEO from “SEO: What’s working? What’s relevant? A Newport Interactive Marketers session”, on Designated Editor’s blog.

Facebook Marketing Best Practices to Boost ROI

Tom Schuyler, Pandemic Labs’

4/27/2011

Tom Schuyler, Pandemic Labs’ Director of Accounts, shared Facebook best practices and ROI measurement types. NIM attendees gained tools and insights to measure the value of marketing on Facebook. Tom explained how to utilize Facebook analytics to assess weaknesses and opportunities to make brand presence more valuable. Attendees learned the core metrics you can use to determine how much Facebook is doing for your brand/business.

Find out more about what Newport Interactive Marketers learned from “Facebook Marketing: Best Practices to Boost ROI.” Discover how to increase your return on investment using Facebook on Designated Editor’s blog.

Learn and Leverage Video for your Brand Success with Newport Interactive Marketers

Patrick Hughes of Visual Post

3/29/2011

NIM hosted Patrick Hughes and Scott Quillin to share their expert opinions on online video posts. NIM attendees learned why videos are so important to the success of their businesses. The experts explained how to use YouTube and how to start your own brand channel.

Check out the highlights from “Optimal Video on a Budget with Newport Interactive Marketers.” Learn how to incorporate cost-effective video marketing into your business on Designated Editors blog.

Mobile for Marketing with Newport Interactive Marketers

Tamara Gruber

1/20/2011

Tamara Gruber, the founder of Red Giant Consulting, guided NIM attendees into the mobile marketing world. She explored the difference between mobile apps and mobile sites and how they could optimize their businesses.

Discover more about what attendees learned at “Marketing with Mobile with Newport Interactive Marketers”, and grasp why mobile marketing matters on Designated Editor’s blog.

Social Media Secrets with Newport Interactive Marketers

Kathie Manchester from the Rhode Island Blood Center

Dana Duellman & My Perfect Space Entrepreneur, consultant, Realtor

Moderator: Nick Brown, Community Manager at Astonish Results,

10/21/2010

Newport Interactive Marketers hosted a panel of social media experts to teach attendees how to optimize social media. Experts shared the best way to connect with customers through social media and discussed the most effective platforms to use.

Learn how to enhance your success in social media from Designated Editor’s blog post, “Social Media Secret’s Out: A Recap and Tools with Newport Interactive Marketers.”

Search Engine Optimization Insights with Newport Interactive Marketers

Doug Wilson

9/30/2010

Newport Interactive Marketers hosted Doug Wilson SEO specialist at Netsense, a Pawtucket-based market leader in outsourced IT, website, and web marketing solutions. NIM attendees received a how-to seminar on search engine optimization insights. Attendees also learned how to boost their Google rankings.

Social Media Answers With Newport Interactive Marketers

Patrick O’Malley

8/26/2010

NIM hosted nationally known expert Partick O’Malley. Patrick is the former VP of Operations for Northern Light, Google’s former top competitor, and has spoken across the country and nationally. He is an expert on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Attendees gained insights to use social media to effectively boost their businesses.

Newport Interactive Marketers Networking

Stephen Melanson

7/29/2010

Stephen Melanson opened the attendees’ eyes to the importance of Verbal Branding. The seminar focused on concise messaging.

Check out highlights from “Social Media and Verbal Branding: Get Your Twit Together.” Learn how to build your social media foundations with verbal branding on Designated Editor’s blog.

Newport Interactive Marketers Networking

Highlights from OMMA Conferences

Jessan Dunn Otis

6/24/2010

Jessan Dunn Otis, a linchpin, recapped Seth Godin’s talk in Boston on June 17, 2010. The seminar also highlighted from the OMMA Conference.

Check out a key point from “OMMA Video Conference 2011 Highlights on Designated Editor’s blog.

Newport Interactive Marketers

Matthew Mamet

5/20/2010

Matthew Mamet of EditMe presented how small businesses and individuals can use a Wiki platform to share information and foster communities. NIM attendees learned how to up their online presence quickly and easily.

Discover what NIM attendees learned from Designated Editor’s blog post, “Tips for Building Communities from Matthew Mamet of EditMe, presented at Our First Newport Interactive Marketers Event.”

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Annie-Colello-pointing

Pinterest for Business

Pinterest brings more people to your website than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Learn how to tell your brand’s story!

Join Newport Interactive Marketers as Annie Colella of Discover Newport (the Convention and Visitors Bureau) shares how Pinterest can work for your business.

Highlights from Pinterest for Business via the Newport Interactive Marketers blog

Meet Annie Colella
Annie-Colello-pointing

Annie Colella is the Advertising and Marketing Manager at Discover Newport (the Convention & Visitors Bureau). Discover Newport is a private, nonprofit organization promoting the city of Newport and Newport & Bristol County: Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton & Warren.

The film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater  – March 29, 2012

Director Tiffany Shlain shares her bittersweet relationship with technology and how it impacts modern life. Are we missing out on the bigger picture because we always need to be connected to the media.

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.