Welcome to Ask Alexa! This is a weekly Q&A episode that is aired on Friday of each week. On episode 059 of The Break Into Travel Writing podcast: I answered your questions about the world of travel blogging, travel writing and travel photography, SEO, Social Media and more!
If you have a question about travel blogging, writing, photography or SEO, Web or Social Media for travel blogging that you would like answered on my Podcast, simply submit your question and I’ll answer it on an upcoming episode.
Today I have 4 great questions about everything from growing your Facebook followers, to how to avoid the biggest mistake new bloggers make to how to find advertisers for your website and how to find useful travel advice to share with your readers. Click here to listen to the podcast now!
I’m new to travel blogging and starting to build my site. What do you think is the biggest mistake new travel writers/bloggers make? And how do I avoid it?
First, I see bloggers not developing their homepage header enough. It’s important to have a logo, as well as a tag line or subheader for your blog name that explains to a new visitor what your website is all about.
Tanya, my husband, Todd is an online marketing coach and have been building websites for clients for years. Todd has been my guest on two episodes, most recently BITW 058: Top 10 Checklist to Launch Your Travel Website with Todd Meisler And BITW 026: Why Every Travel Writer Needs a Website with Todd Meisler
I’d encourage you to listen to these two episodes, because we go into a lot of detail about how to develop a first website the right way! I also just recently created a free website content prep checklist. This list will help you prepare all the content you need to have in place to launch your website quickly.
Next, I’d say, not having a clear idea of a niche. Many new bloggers shy away from honing in on a niche and tend to be too broad. With the amount of bloggers out there today, it’s important to have a focus. For the complete answer to this question, make sure to listen to the podcast and full answer now!
What is the best information to look for in order to provide useful travel advice to your readers?
I’m going to answer this based on what I think is most important. You want to share travel information that is of interest to your website visitor. Based on your website, which looks to be a combo of food and travel and the food portion includes recipes. So, knowing exactly who your visitors are would be the first step. I’d take a look at G A and determine the demographics – male / Female, age, where they live, etc. Then take a look at what content is getting the most views as well as which pages have the longest read time. Is it your food or travel section? Which specific posts?
I’d also do some survey’s – they could be really informal poll questions on your FB page, or a few tweets asking specific questions. Or, if you have a mailing list, you could reach out with a more formal questionnaire and give 5 random people who respond a gift to encourage them to participate.
Think of 5-10 questions you could ask your followers that will shed some light on their interests. Are they most interested in your recipes? Your travel? Are they interested specifically in food travel? Food tours? Food walks? Are they armchair travelers?
With this information you can start doing the research to find the right type of travel advice to share. The bottom line is, you must know what your followers are interested in.
To give you a few examples of places to find good travel tips and advice so you’ve got a starting point—I love Linkedin groups for research. It’s a great place to ask questions, get feedback or get suggestions. As well as joining some blogger groups, make sure to join some groups for travel agents, travel pr and travelers groups. Same goes on FB. Groups are a great resource, just make sure to jump into groups that go beyond the blogger world.
I have many, MANY questions as a blogger newbie, but here is one… I don’t want my blog overloaded with advertisements, BUT a few curated ones would be fantastic. How do I find and attract the right advertisers??
The easiest thing is to use some of the advice I gave Lauren. Decide what your readers would be interested in. Again, knowing exactly who your visitors are would be the first step to deciding what type of ads you’d want to display. I’d take a look at G A and determine the demographics – male / Female, age, where they live, etc. Then take a look at what content is getting the most views as well as which pages have the longest read time. Is it your food or travel section? Which specific posts?
Next, you are most likely going to work as an affiliate, unless you have serious or very targeted traffic to sell direct advertising to. Based on the demographic research you’ve done make a list of up to 20-25 ideal items to sell. Then you will simply search the name plus the words affiliate program. If the company has an affiliate program it should come up in Google search. If I jump over to your blog, I see one of your most recent posts is about SJC. By the way I lived in this cute little town for a few years— all the way back in my middle school years. So, SJC is a big Amtrack stop. So, if I type in the words Amtrak affiliate program, you can see what comes up.
Piggy backing on this theme, if a big part of your blog is going to be the destination of California or other touristy destinations, you might want to offer City Pass ads and information. So, you’d type in citypass affiliate program and the first link that comes up is to http://www.citypass.com/partners/affiliates where it says CityPASS has affiliate programs available through CJ and ShareASale. Join one of these networks to use an affiliate tracking link to direct your visitors to CityPASS.com and have sales activity tracked through the network. You’ll earn 6% commission on each sale that originates from your affiliate URL link.
From your about page, I can see you are focused on family and luxury travelers. These seem like two totally different niches, a side note here – pick one or combine them. Could you focus on luxury family travel? I say that because I don’t think the average family about to travel will be looking for the same thing a luxury traveler would – which means it’s going to be hard to hone in on ads that speak to your readers. But, if you were luxury family travel for example, you could create a list of the 10 best Luxury Family Travel Resorts with affiliate links to each one. So, when I search for Luxury Family Travel Resorts, one of the top results is The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas – Maui, Hawaii and I type in The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas – Maui, Hawaii affiliate program the first link I find is to their parent company, Starwood and on their affiliate page it shows they work with CJ.
And speaking of CJ, if you want to get a ton more details about working with affiliates, I recently interviewed CJ Affiliate Biz Dev Manager Jessica Woodbury on eps 47. Jessica helps bloggers monetize and build their businesses through affiliate marketing. This would be a great eps for you to listen to to learn more about affiliates.
To answer the other part of your question, which was How do you attract the right advertisers – with decent web traffic, strong social accounts, meaning consistent posting on all platforms and lots of engagement as well as a good number of followers as well as honing in on that niche. Advertisers will seek out bloggers for influencer campaigns and advertising if they feel like they have a honed in audience for their product or brand. To get a feel for what PR is looking for you can check out my interview with Malcom Griffiths from DCI, which was eps 54. He shares the inter-workings of a PR agency, the formula to creating and maintaining a relationship with PR reps as well as tips for getting an influencer campaign. Remember, most brands have a PR company, whose job it is to find them both paid and non paid coverage.
Anyone who would like the cheat sheet with all the self editing tips, head to Episode 57 where you will also find a link to download all the list to perfect your self editing techniques.
How to increase followers in my FB page? I don’t even have 300 followers right now
I answered this question on the fly, so I will do my best to get this answer transcribed. In the meantime you can head to the audio version for the full answer here: http://bit.ly/1SEu15Z
BITW 026: Why Every Travel Writer Needs a Website with Todd Meisler
BITW 058: Top 10 Checklist to Launch Your Travel Website with Todd Meisler
BITW 054: Malcolm Griffiths from DCI Explains the Symbiotic Relationship Between PR & Travel Writers
People Mentioned in this Episode
That is it for today! If you have a question about travel blogging, writing, photography or SEO, Web or Social Media for travel blogging that you would like answered on my Podcast, simply submit your question to bitw/askalexa and I’ll answer it on an upcoming episode.
Great question from Tanya Ezrol with #sweetpeaadventures via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1nThGgK #travelblogger [Click To Tweet]
Great question from Lauren @ via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1nThGgK #travelblogger [Click to Tweet]
Great question from Amy @ via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1nThGgK #travelblogger [Click to Tweet]
Great question from Tania @azureskyfollows via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1nThGgK #travelblogger [Click to Tweet]
Feedback on the Podcast If you have any suggestions for upcoming shows or a question for an upcoming episode, leave a comment below. If you enjoyed this podcast, I’d be extremely grateful if you would take a second and leave me a review and rating over on iTunes. Your taking a minute to do this allows me to help more people with this podcast, so I really appreciate it (once on that page, simply click on the “View in iTunes” button to leave your review — thanks very much!)