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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! 

JayMurphy

Analyzing Analytics, with Google!

#NIMR hosted CEO and Managing Director Jay Murphy of Trionia, Inc to learn how Google Analytics works.

Through the instruction provided by Murphy and NIM, the audience learned how to:

  • Add and use Google Analytics
  • Interpret results from Google Analytics
  • Make solid business decisions from the data

Attendees were asked to think of questions prior to the event about Google Analytics. Also, how to attract more traffic to their business. Murphy’s expertise extends from social media strategy and search engine optimization to website development and analytics.

Meet Jay Murphy

JayMurphy
Jay works with large and mid-sized organizations to successfully convert business imperatives to effective online marketing results by delivering analytics, website development, social media strategy, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and display advertising all optimized with measurable results.  Additionally, he is the founder of Trionia, Inc., and has worked with GE, Raytheon and Janus Mutual Funds. He previously worked at Sapient Corporation as a director of program management and led projects in a variety of industries including financial services, energy, and higher education. Also, Jay holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northeastern University and an M.S. in Electric Engineering from Tufts University.  He received a Draper Fellowship to attend Tufts University and took doctoral level coursework at MIT in Aerospace Engineering.

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!