BITW 061: Ask Alexa

BITW 061: Ask Alexa

Welcome to Ask Alexa!  This is a weekly Q&A episode that is aired on Friday of each week. On episode 061 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.

Ask Alexa for Break Into Travel Writing Podcast

Today I have 5 great questions and I share answer about getting media trips (also known as FAMs), how to grow blog traffic, tips for attending Tbex, How to drive people from Instagram to your blog and how to define your niche. Click here to listen to the podcast now!

[shadowbox]Question: From Valter with touristbychance.com[/shadowbox]

I have seen a steady growth of visitors to the website but my highest results do not come near to many other bloggers. Should I consider writing for online magazines etc and which ones would you recommend My goal is to be the ‘go to blog’ on Italy and to have the possibility of getting offered media trips and definitely revenue. Thanks again and ciao from Rome. 

Answer:

To be the ‘Go To’ Blog about Italy:
1. Make sure you are putting out the best content about Italy on a regular basis on your blog.
2. Write for other blogs and websites as the ‘italy expert’.
3. Think about becoming a writer for a site such as examiner.com or about.com.
4. Contribute to as many websites as you can that will allow a linkback to your site and have at least 10,000 unique page views per month such as Dave’s Travel Corner, Chris Christiansen’s Amateur traveler, Max Hartshorne’s Go Nomad, James Hill’s Mantrippin. (Don’t waste your time writing for brand new blogs that are getting started and don’t have the reach).
6. I would also be honored for you to write for my blog 52 Perfect Days.
7. Podcasts. This medium is huge right now. Find some travel podcasts where you can be the guest and expert about traveling in Italy such as Chris’ show, The Amateur Traveler Podcast.

Website Traffic
1. Publish content on a regular basis.
2. Focus on bookmarking.   Bookmark 1 article a day (on Reddit, Stumble, Digg, etc) for the next 30 days.

For the full episode, you can click here to listen to the entire podcast now!

Tweetable: Great question from Valter @touristbychance via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger

Instagram Challenge for Travel Bloggers

[shadowbox]Question: From Wendy Brunner at thewindingroad.com [/shadowbox]

Have you attended TBEX? Thoughts? Advice?

Answer:  

I think Tbex is worthwhile for any travel blogger. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet other bloggers, writers and photographers. There are people at the show who haven’t started all the way to the top people in this field. For example, at the last Tbex I attended in attendance were Gary Arndt, Chris Christensen, Jen Leo, Johnny Jet, Max Hartshorne, Deb & Dave from the Planet D.

Beside bloggers you will meet publishers, photographers and podcasters who have been doing this a long time that you can sit down with and learn from. Then there is the opportunity to meet with all the visitors bureaus and tourism offices which offer the potential for media trips. There are also editors and publishers you can meet and potentially have the opportunity to find some outlets for your writing.

My advice is to go with a plan, take a lot of notes and follow up. When I say notes, I don’t just mean for the sessions you attend. I mean take notes after you talk with people – it can all blur into one big fuzzy memory after 3 days. Do yourself a favor and make notes about who you talked with and what you talked about and if you need to follow up. You’ll thank yourself. Also, bring a find point sharpie and make notes on every card you are given with some shorthand about who they are, etc.

Three previous episodes that focus on Tbex.

BITW 042: How to Prepare for Tbex and Pinterest Pointers with Amanda Mouttaki where she shares

  • How to prepare for Tbex as a first timer.
  • How to prepare your elevator pitch for Tbex.
  • How to prepare for Tbex if you don’t have a blog yet.
  • Meeting other bloggers is the biggest bonus at Tbex.
  • Speed networking tips.
  • How to prepare your pitch and craft your speed networking conversation.
  • How to connect with the sponsors if you didn’t get accepted for speed networking.
  • Why it’s not the right time to seal the deal during speed networking.
  • Why Google stalking before Tbex is a good idea.
  • Great tips for follow up after Tbex.

BITW 045: Tbex Fort Lauderdale Conference and Adventure Seekers FAM
This is an episode I recorded after I attended Tbex last October.

BITW Episode, 048: How to Use Virtual Assistants, Interns and Salespeople to Grow a Blog Into a Business with Max Hartshorne

  • We discuss Tbex –I met Max at Tbex and he was one of my first guests after I returned from the conference and he shares
  • Top reasons any level blogger should attend Tbex.
  • How Tbex has evolved from a newbie event into a conference anyone interested in travel blogging or writing should attend.(Click here to listen to the podcast and full answer now!)

Tweetable: Great question from @WendyB_Writer via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger

[shadowbox]Question: From Bob @thetravellingfool[/shadowbox] www.instagram.com/thetravellingfool

What is Best way to drive blog engagement from IG ie: how do I get people that like photos to visit the blog.?

Answer:
1. Create a post at least once a week that has a CTA in the photo and additional posts that have a CTA in the text. In conjunction with this change the URL in your profile.
2. Create several posts around a specific topic or article. Create a few text posts using an app like OVER. You can use a plain color as a background, the sky, or something specific to your question.  In text over the photo you ask a question. Within the text write “ for XXX click the link in my bio with emoji fingers pointing up”.
3. Create a few more posts like this. Some can have text or not. Find some great photos and post text that offers something helpful or a tip. These posts can stay in your fimeline.
4. Create an additional short term image. It is a clear call to action. Create another graphic with your CTA in large letters and then underneath in smaller letters say click the link in my bio for the list/info/tips. You’ll keep this photo up for no more than a day and delete it from your timeline. During the week you have the CTA to this page in your bio you can repost and delete it a few more times.

Tweetable: Great question from Bob @thetravelfool  via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger

Instagram Challenge for Travel Bloggers

[shadowbox]Question: From Noreen Kompanik[/shadowbox]

What are the best sources for finding group FAM or press trips? I set many of my own trips up with VBs for my own assignments, but, did one FAM trip and have another coming up. Loved the comaraderie and networking with other travel writers and bloggers on the trip. That’s why I’m interested.

Answer:  

You need to connect with other bloggers, PR, CVBs. So, find a few bloggers who are regularly going on press trips and ask if they are willing to share contacts. Chances are very low you’ll be asked to visit the same location or hotel, so we are all better off sharing our contacts.

Beyond that, start creating relationships with the tourism boards or visitors bureaus of the destinations you want to visit. Ask to be added to their mailing list. Then ask if they offer media trips. Then ask if they self host or have a PR company that they work with. Of course, getting offered the trips will then depend on your media kit, and web and social numbers.

Another option is to write for a bigger website where the owner of the site is offered more trips than he or she can take. If you are a trusted, consistent writer you will most likely get a trip if you let them know you are interested. If you over deliver to the website and the PR, you’ll probably get more.

You can head to the audio version for the full answer here: http://bit.ly/1R0nU8y

Tweetable: Great question from Noreen Kompanik via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger 

[shadowbox]Question: Katharina Parsons from beautifullytravelled.com[/shadowbox]

How do you pin down your niche and create the perfect elevator pitch? Especially since your elevator pitch might change depending who you talk to.

Answer:  

Hone in on a niche.
1. What do you love? What do you have a passion for? What do you dream about doing? What can you imagine writing about and never tiring of the subject?

When I interviewed Heather Balogh Rochfort on BITW 053 this was one of our main topics —  The Importance of Honing in on a Niche that is a PassionHeather explained that having a niche as an outdoor and adventure writer doesn’t limit her from any location, in fact she comes up with too many ideas for activities and exploration for almost every location she visits.

2. Write down every travel blogging niche you can think of—solo travel, hard core adventure travel, soft adventure, food travel, wine travel, family, luxury, eco travel, culture, etc.
3. From there cross off the major topics that don’t excite you and then niche down the 1 or 2 areas you’d like to focus on.
4. Can you imagine writing about this for the next few years? Could you come up with 50 article ideas ? Does the idea of writing these 50 stories excite you? If yes, pursue it, If not what does?

The bottom line, is if you pick a subject you are passionate about writing about, you will love what you do. But, it has to be both. You have to have a passion for the activity + writing about it. So, pick a topic, niche it down and write at least 50 story ideas. If you can’t think of that many stories, it’s not the right topic. If you can think of 50 stories and with each idea you get more excited, you have found a solid niche.

Elevator Pitch

It may vary a bit, but the core will be the same. Based on your niche explain your expertise and focus. You need to have a quick explanation of who you are and what you do.

I started my blog, 52 Perfect Days, before the explosion of travel bloggers. I saw it as more of a magazine with many topics that share how to spend a perfect day in a location. While my blog started as a one woman show, I now have more than 100 contributors and we focus on a lot of topics. I mention this because, if I were to start over today, I wouldn’t start this broad, but it worked for the time period that my website was created. While I can cover any of the topics on my website, I have narrowed my writing to a few topics and let other writes cover extreme adventure, nightlife, locations I haven’t been to, etc.

So, for me, an everyday explanation to a new acquaintance for me  would be something like this. I’m a travel podcaster, travel writer and social media strategist for travel and tourism brands.

It’s broad, but if they are interested, they will pursue the conversation based on podcasting, travel writing or social media.

If someone were to ask me more about my travel writing,  my short versions would be something like”

“I am the founder of 52 Perfect Days. I write articles that share how to spend a perfect day in city or town. My personal focus is food and family adventure. I travel with my 13 year old son a lot, so family travel is a part of my life. When I travel on my own or for media trips food is a focus for me and specifically finding great gluten free options.

My longer elevator pitch which is more like a bio would be :

I am a travel podcaster and travel writers. I am a gluten free foodie who loves wine, soft adventure and traveling with my son, who writes the kids corner section for my website 52 Perfect Days. All of our articles focus on how to spend a perfect day in a city or town. Our stories share an insiders point of view of a location and provide a road map to visiting a location for the first time. I also work as a social media strategist for travel and tourism brands helping them build their social media presence.

Click here to listen to the podcast and full answers now!

Episode Resources
Ask Alexa form to ask a a question
February Instagram Challenge
Dave’s Travel Corner, Chris Christiansen’s Amateur traveler, Max Hartshorne’s Go Nomad, James Hill’s Mantrippin
BITW 042: How to Prepare for Tbex and Pinterest Pointers with Amanda Mouttaki
BITW 045: Tbex Fort Lauderdale Conference and Adventure Seekers FAM
BITW 048: How to Use Virtual Assistants, Interns and Salespeople to Grow a Blog Into a Business with Max Hartshorne
BITW 053: The Importance of Honing in on a Niche that is a Passion with Heather Balogh Rochfort
 
Bob’s article; The Ultimate List of Airfare Booking Sites

People Mentioned in this Episode
Gary Arndt
Chris Christensen
Jen Leo
Johnny Jet
Max Hartshorne
Deb & Dave from the Planet D

Connect with Break Into Travel Writing
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
The Aspiring Travel Writer, the Facebook group

That is it for today! Thank you to Valter, Bob, Katharina, Wendy and Noreen for today’s awesome questions! 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.

Tweetables:

Great question from Valter @touristbychance via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger #writetotravel [Click To Tweet]
Great question from @WendyB_Writer via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger #writetotravel [Click to Tweet]
Great question from Bob @thetravelfool via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger #writetotravel  [Click to Tweet]
Great question from Noreen Kompanik via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger #writetotravel [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!)

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

 

Ask Alexa
By | 2016-10-04T13:33:26+00:00 February 12th, 2016|Shows|1 Comment

About the Author:

One Comment

  1. Valter February 20, 2016 at 1:45 am - Reply

    Hey Alexa!

    Thanks so much for this and for the helpful insights. Been following your work for a while and will be sure to take your suggestions on board. Would be an absolute pleasure to write for your blog 52 Perfect Days! 🙂

    Grazie and a huge ciao from Rome!

Leave A Comment