Making Money Blogging & Freelancing – The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10]

Making Money Blogging & Freelancing - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10] || The Travel Tester
Have you always wondered how you can turn your blog into a business? Then this series is for you!

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In the past 5 years, I’ve visited over 30 (travel) blogging conferences and workshops. That is hours and hours of inspirational and practical advice that helped me turn blogging from a hobby into a full-time business. In this series, I finally open up my notebook to the world and share the insights that I personally found most valuable with you, so you can use them to hopefully make your own blog bigger and better. 

Today, we’re diving into the topic of how to make money from your blog and other freelance opportunities. Enjoy!

 

MAKING MONEY BLOGGING & FREELANCING

 

Making Money Blogging & Freelancing - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10] || The Travel Tester

 

MONETIZING YOUR BLOG

 

What if Google messes up and nobody can find your site? What if you focused solely on getting traffic from one social
media platform and that stops one day? What if blogging in itself ends? You’d be without a business! Don’t spread yourself
too thin and keep your options open and money coming in from multiple revenue streams.

– Yvonne Eijkenduijn (Meet the Blogger Amsterdam – Sep ’15)

 

Getting paid for your blog is all about your mindset.

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

PEOPLE (do I like it / them?
PRICE (does it feel right? is the work worth it?)
PORTFOLIO (does it look good on my CV?)

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Menorca – May ’17)

 

I have an auto response saying I will respond if I would like to take the proposal further.

– Courtney Adamo (Blogtacular London – May ’14)

 

A blogger tends to wear many hats and there is a variety of projects they can work on.

– Kash Bhattacharya (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Most great publishing ideas, blogs fail because of the blogger’s inability to find the cash to take their ideas forward.

– Kash Bhattacharya (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Consumers buy more and spend more with brands that share their personal values.

– Sara Meaney (TBEX Stockholm – Jul ’16)

 

Most family, food and lifestyle bloggers run a second (or even 3rd/4th) website to generate more income.

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Native Advertising:
* fits seamlessly with other content
* services readers, not just advertiser
* reinforces your brand identity
* advertiser not necessarily focus of story
* aligned brands trying to reach your audience, not game SEO

– Brett & Mary Love (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Common monetizing mistakes bloggers make: prioritizing low-quality sponsored content over quality content, undervaluing their work, exclusively sponsored content and exclusively sponsored travel, not creating a long-term sustainable business model

– Kate McCulley & Katja Presnal  (TBDI Italy – Oct ’13)

 

Turn offers down if they don’t feel right, if they don’t match the brand you’ve designed, or integrity might be lost.

– Kash Bhattacharya (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

With your skills, there are so many more things to do than just writing a blog.

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Types of collaborations with brands: product/service reviews, copywriting, guest posts, content creation (video/stories/photos), social media collabs, advertising, ebooks, online courses, video workshops, affiliate programs, newsletters, brand ambassador programs, interviews, contests, events, sponsorships, offline actions, consulting, special campaigns, seo benefits, branding & image collabs

– Katie Hammel & Sara Robles (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Monetizing opportunities on your blog: advertisting deals with vendors, corporate sponsorships, sponsored posts, banner ads, selling products (affiliate and own), giveaways, social media campaigns, etc.

– Brooke Schoenman (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Monetizing opportunities beyond your blog: freelance writing, (e)books for readers, (online) courses, blogging & social media consulting and/or management, brand ambassadorship, content creation for regions, consulting with dmo’s, leading tours through the destination, etc.

– Brooke Schoenman / Kate McCulley (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Think about creating content for the brands your work with. Do they need photos? A video for their website? Be
entrepreneurial.

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Find all things to sell and package them together.

– Janice Waugh and Keith Jenkins (STS Kitzbuehel – Sep ’17)

 

Working in a package (text+photo+video) can also make you charge much more. And don’t be afraid to do that. There is usually always a budget for this!

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Create packages for your blog:
* BRONZE – 1x blog post, social media before/during/after trip
* SILVER – 2x blog post, social media before/during/after trip, client images
* GOLD – 2x blog post, social media before/during/after trip, client images, 6 month campaign / constantly promote client

– Macca Sherifi (WTM London – Nov ’17)

 

Develop your products: sponsorships, campaigns (solo/group), social campaigns, product reviews, competitions, promotional offers, newsletter ads, banner ads.

– Sarah Lee (MATKA Helsinki – Jan ’16)

 

Is your personal blog hard to treat as a business? Then look beyond your blog to create opportunities. For example, start a second blog to build your audience, expertise and income streams.

– Brooke Schoenman (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Where to sell your content: print publications, online publications, in-flight magazines, business/special interest magazines, stock libraries (photo/video), tv-channels, companies, tourist boards, DMO’s, direct to the consumer (pdf guides, apps, ebooks)

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

7 Steps to Identify your USP (Unique Selling Point)
1. list what you know of your target audience
2. list needs your product could meet (all potential usps)
3. screen your list against trends/competitors – remove those being met by competitors
4. for each USP, create a page with words and visuals to bring the idea to life
5. does your USP convey one strong benefit? is it memorable? is your target market clear? it it unique, or could a competitor claim the same?
6. use this to develop a business and marketing strategy
7. monitor trends and new competitors that could affect how customers see your usp

– Sarah Lee (MATKA Helsinki – Jan ’16)

 

What would you still love to do that you can bring both on your travels or do while at home?

– Lola Akinmade Akerstrom (TBEX Stockholm – Jul ’16)

 

Making Money Blogging & Freelancing - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10] || The Travel Tester

 

FREELANCING

 

Don’t go into freelancing with a debt.

– Ian Cleary (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Know yourself, start saving and start planning before going freelance. You need a good amount of self discipline (from actually getting out of bed to dealing with deadlines) and organisational skills (time management, accounting, chasing down invoices) in order to make freelance work actually work for you.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

What are the income needs for your specific type of lifestyle? Set a (monthly) budget goal accordingly.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

With more outlets in your freelance work, the more press trip and partnership opportunities you can get.

– Brett & Mary Love (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

How to grow as a freelancer: 1) build relationships 2) source projects continually 3) think medium to long-term

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Networking and building a pipeline of work are of great importance when it comes to freelancing.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Pursue outlets where you can reinforce your brand identity.

– Brett & Mary Love (TBEX Athens – Oct ’14)

 

Think about who your key contacts are and who your potential partners could be and start lining up projects as soon as possible.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Everyone wants to work with you, but nobody wants to pay you.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Focus on the intersection of what you love and what pays.

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Never name your price first. You are then negotiating against yourself.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Decide on your work space (home/co-working space/hotdesking) and find your personal routine (time to get up/daily tasks/diary reminders/to-do list) to keep yourself dedicated to your work.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Register as self-employed, check monthly contributions and self-assessment (depends on your country) and perhaps consider getting an accountant.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Make sure to track your income & expenses, your projects (have people paid?), your pipeline (source different types of work and think about the long-life-cycle as well) and your time (make sure to write down how long certain projects take you from start to finish for future reference).

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Think about growing (build relationships, source projects continually, think medium to long-term), but also about expanding (leverage previous work, leverage growth and leverage partnership).

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Make sure to evaluate your success by reviewing your income, projects and passions. Find out where most of your revenue comes from and focus on that.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Find new opportunities by being open to trying new things.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Launch early and often. Don’t be late to the party by spending too much time on thinking about projects instead of actually doing it. When you launch, it doesn’t have to be perfect. There is always space for change.

– Julie Falconer (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

How to find freelance work: gorkana.com, mediabistro.com

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Check the site freelanceswitch.com for their freelancer rate calculator.

– Frankie Thompson (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

 

FREELANCE WRITING / PRINT PUBLISHING

 

How to get into print: Start with a ‘front of book’ articles. Find something interesting happening in the world, something special like new hotels and share that short article. Then you could move to ‘middle of book’ articles of about 1000 words, then perhaps features.

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Tips for selling text: look for publications that do accept content from sponsored or campaign trips. There are many publications that DO accept them more than those that DON’T.

– Lola Akinmade (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

Further break down your experiences from a trip and sell those mini-stories to other types of publications (lifestyle/design) that aren’t too travel-focused and thus, don’t care as much about travel campaigns.

– Lola Akinmade (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

In-flight magazines are still one of the highest paying markets and most of them don’t care about content from sponsored trips or campaigns.

– Lola Akinmade (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

When pitching to travel editors, try and go for unique stories (a strong angle), unusual takes on destinations (something new), transporting readers to a destination (rich, detailed descriptions) and a rich (first person) narrative (with a thread of an idea running through your story).

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

When pitching, make it clear to the editor WHY this topic should be published NOW and why you are the best person to write this story.

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Set-Up of Pitch:
1. attention grabber
2. angle of story, point of view
3. why this topic now? what peg? what section of magazine?
4. why me?
5. show writing examples (include links to your work), make sure it fits the tone/writing style of publication

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Pitching:
1. Get the editors attention in the first paragraph
2. State your angle of the story you want to write
3. Set the bigger picture in the following paragraph
4. Your personal connection to the story

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

In the US you never send a finished story to a glossy magazine (you always pitch first), while newspapers rather want a complete article. In the UK, however, newspaper always want you to pitch first!

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

Go to Wikipedia and look for historical events. They give a great hook on stories you can write and are easy to pitch! Keep looking outside your niche and pitch as many stories as you can.

– Alastair McKenzie (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

 

Charge approximately 50-95 GBP for 500-800 words. Charge higher for short term roles, be open to charging less for long term.

– Jane Meighan (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

* Writing: 100-200 GBP per post 750-1000 words
* Social Media: 100-200 GBP per day
* Competitions: 60-150 GBP per post
* Consulting: 500 GBP per day
* Twitter Parties: 100-400 GBP per hour

– Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes – Sep ’14)

 

Typical late fee is 40-70 pounds + 8% over Bank of England base rate. Check Late Payments of Commercial Debt Act (1988)

– Jane Meighan (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

After your initial pitch, make a short follow up after a week.

– David Farley (TBEX Dublin – Oct ’13)

 

 

 

Making Money Blogging & Freelancing - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10] || The Travel Tester

 

PUBLISHING A BOOK

 

Being an author can do multiple things for you: it can position you as an expert in your field, offers other opportunities to market your site, give companies another reason to work with you rather than another blogger, or even provide a platform for speaking engagements.

– Sarah Lee (TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Books have become the new business card.

– James Altucher (mentioned by Sarah Lee –  TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

Bloggers make great authors because they already have the discipline of writing & writing regularly.

– Tilly Walnes & Vicky Orchard (Blogtacular London – May ’14)

 

With over 500 posts, how was a newbie to my blog find the information they needed? I put it together in a book.

– Janice Waugh (mentioned by Sarah Lee –  TBU Rotterdam – May ’13)

 

The best book proposals are sold in just one sentence – so work on your USP (Unique Selling Point).

– Tilly Walnes & Vicky Orchard (Blogtacular London – May ’14)

 

Prove you have an existing audience and platform but also share your future plans when pitching to a publisher.

– Tilly Walnes & Vicky Orchard (Blogtacular London – May ’14)

 

Why not start drafting your book proposal on Monday?

– Tilly Walnes & Vicky Orchard (Blogtacular London – May ’14)

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTING

 

Bloggers have strong social media backgrounds and many consult, if you’re working with someone, organizing training around a trip makes sense.

– Aygelina Brogan (TBDI Italy – Oct ’13)

 

Accepted fees for sponsored content go anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds and on average these bloggers have about 10 to 15.000 followers a month. - Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes - Sep '14)

 

AFFILIATE MARKETING  / PASSIVE INCOME

 

Write for active travellers (people currently planning a trip), because they are the ones to buy via your affiliate links.

– Kate McCulley (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

Add affiliate links to your fact box & newsletter.

– Kate McCulley (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

Best passive income practices:
* Focus on readers who will be actively traveling (or otherwise converting) and cater to their needs
* Optimize affiliate-rich pages for SEO and Pinterest
* Disclose affiliate links – but don’t apologize for them or endlessly justify them
* Don’t push sales so often that you annoy your readers
* Tweak your pages/products periodically to make sure they’re up to date
* Assign busywork to a VA
* Create content that people want to read. Everything that generates income must be part of quality content

– Panel Discussion (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

With a blog campaign, add 1 normal link and 1 affiliate in fact box.

– Kate McCulley (STS Inverness – Sep ’16)

 

Things to look for when choosing an affiliate program:
1. COMMISSION – What percentage of the sales prize do you get?
2. COOKIE CAC – Time of the cookie that is placed on someone’s pc through your link, can be anything from 24h (Amazon) to 90 days (GAdventures). The longer the cookie time, the better, because when a reader doesn’t buy something directly through your link, but comes back after a couple of days, you can then still get paid, even if they buy any other item from that website
3. EPC (earnings per click) – You want a higher earnings per click
4. TOOLS – What banners or other (visual) material do you get to use on your site?
5. Most affiliate programs pay out based on sales (when someone actually buys something through your link) or leads (when you just drive traffic to a site, they don’t have to buy anything). Commission varies depending on the product being sold and they can be tiered, depending on the volume you drive.

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Accepted fees for sponsored content go anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds and on average these bloggers have about 10 to 15.000 followers a month. - Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes - Sep '14)

 

Links generally convert a lot better than banners.

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Cardiff – Apr ’16)

 

Banners are on their way out: they don’t work on mobile, flash is especially bad on mobile, half of the affiliates don’t update their banners, they aren’t responsive, they are often generic… so best tip: go for links only!

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Use deep links, where you can create your own links and give them a reference so you can track exactly which one brings in the most.

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

When you use affiliate links, make sure to mark them as no-follow, as such: <a href=”http://www.examplewebsite.com”; rel=”nofollow”>text</a>. There are also WordPress plugins for this, so you just have to tick a box to mark the link as nofollow.

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Tool Suggestions:
* Convert-a-Link by Affilinet
* AffiliateWP
* Bit.ly (to make your affiliate links look better/shorter)
* Pretty Links WordPress Plugin

– Simon Heyes (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

 

SELLING PHYSICAL PRODUCTS / PRINT ON DEMAND

 

Platforms for Print on Demand: Zazzle (design), Redbubble (desing), Teespring (money), Zippi, Cafepress (money), Fine Art America (art), Society 6 (art), Greeting Card Universe (cards), etc.

– Betsy and Pete Wuebker  (TBEX Stockhom – Jul ’16)

 

By print on demand, always think about what would sell in bulk.

– Betsy and Pete Wuebker  (TBEX Stockhom – Jul ’16)

 

Making Money Blogging & Freelancing - The Best Insights from Travel Blogging Conferences in the Last 5 Years! [3/10] || The Travel Tester

 

 

CREATING ONLINE COURSES

 

Step 1: Email List Campaign:
Make your list used to weekly free valuable content, such as a mix of unique content/blog posts or valuable videos. During pre-launch period, broadcast to entire list that you are going to host a free webinar / training related to your product and send people to a page where they can sign up for this. This will place them on a new list marked in the backend as ‘interested in product’.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

You don’t need a big list to start making money from it.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Step 2: Live & Recorded Webinars
For 1 hour (or 45/30 minutes, but enough to bring value), host a value-packed webinar on a topic related to your product. The first 45 minutes is just bringing value, value, value: tips that people can use right away to see results. The last 15 minutes is sale time, where you tell people that while they can already see results with the tips provided, there is more that they can purchase.

Record this webinar (if you do this via Google Hangouts (that you have set to private before recording), this can be done automatically), download it and upload it to Vimeo Pro to embed on a dedicated page on your site where it will be available for replay for 2 weeks only. Then it will disappear! For the rest of the launch period, you send traffic to this page.

After the 2 weeks, you do a live Q&A Webinar that you promote to your list at least 4 days before the launch of your product. In that webinar, you send them again to that landing page with the 1st webinar, as on the bottom of that page, there is a link where they can say YES to buying your product. Make sure to send at least 3 emails to your list about the webinar (as people are busy and will always forget): one that it’s on today, one that it’s on in 1 hour and one that it’s on in 15 minutes.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Step 3: Weekly YouTube Videos + Blog Post Content:
During the 2 week launch, you create weekly YouTube videos and blog post content in which you send people to your list. Make sure to let them know that the price they’re going to pay now for your product is the lowest price ever and that it’s never going to be this cheap again. (And stick to that, never, ever lower your prices. Your product will only increase in value over the years as you keep adding and/or updating content)

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)
 

Step 4: Instagram + Periscope Daily Series:
Post one picture to Instagram each day announcing a live lesson on Periscope that they can go follow for 20 minutes (remember that 20 minute of content here will be about a week of content in your course!) + 10 minutes of Q&A. This will be done for 30 days in total. All these Periscopes will be saved and packaged up to add to your product as bonus material. Don’t forget to also here prompt people to sign up to the free recorded webinar and let them enter the funnel.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Step 5: Facebook Ads:
You can set Facebook ads up 1 week before the live webinar. Make sure to select the ‘increase conversions’ option. Choose at least 4 different graphic options for those 2 weeks and adjust later to stop running the ones that perform less. Target at 10.000-15.000 people. All of the people that sign up through this ad will go in your ‘people who are interested in my product’ list, and they will probably buy later, not right away.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Accepted fees for sponsored content go anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds and on average these bloggers have about 10 to 15.000 followers a month. - Sally Whittle (TBU Nantes - Sep '14)

 

With a money-back guarantee, always let people know that if they want their money back, they’re going to get a lot of questions to find out why. Make sure in your landing/sales pages, you actively prevent some people from buying, so that when they do buy, they know it’s going to be valuable for them.

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Membership plugin: S2 Members Plugin for WordPress (s2member.com)

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

Bonus gift ideas: Access to a secret Facebook Group and Monthly live calls with members, or a “Sandwich Bonus”: 1 bonus that makes them ready for the course (your bundle of Periscope videos for example) and 1 bonus that will give people something for after that course (something that answers the questions ‘what now?’)

– Ximena de la Serna (Traverse Newcastle – Feb ’14)

 

 

 

The Travel Tester - Bookmark Time for Action
I hope you read something interesting that you can turn into an action step for your own blogging business. Let me know what your favourite insight was!

 

 

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4 Comments

  • A new and interesting topic, I didn’t have any clue about this subject but once I started to read up I felt it very interesting and gained knowledge. Now I can spread the word about this one to my friends and neighbour.

  • This is one great read especially for those who are just starting up with freelancing. People who just started up usually get demotivated because they think their blog will fail. Thanks to people who continually gives us advice. Cheers!

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