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.”
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
Lillie’s Pick: The Phoenix in Belize “No better place for a babymoon!”
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.”
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!
Priscilla’s Pick: Castle Hill Inn “They have the best lunch and the best views!”
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
Here for #NIMRI (@ Parlor in Newport, RI) https://t.co/vWovYdNjrV — Kevin T Vine (@KevinTVine) August 12, 2015
Welcome to our panelists for @NewportInteract‘s meeting at Parlour on Broadway! #NIMRI pic.twitter.com/VRCF4huXid — Mia Lupo (@MiaLupo) August 12, 2015
Learning about travel blogging at #NIMRI at @ParlorNewport. #NewportRI A photo posted by The Newport Blast (@thenewportblast) on
#NIMRI Newport Interactive Marketers .. #education #business #rhodeisland @NewportInteract always informative — 02809 Photography (@02809Photo) August 13, 2015
Bravo, ladies! @sue_DesigEditor @sue_DesigEditor @WeekendInParis @tgruber @WeekendInParis #nimri #travelblogging #girlpower — Newport Stylephile (@NewportSTYLE) August 13, 2015
Many thanks to our venue sponsor Parlor Kitchen & Bar