Make money with your own travel blog

If you love travelling, both locally and abroad, staying in a B&B, hotel, Airbnb rental and other types of holiday accommodation, then you could or should make money by starting up a travel blog, writes Angelique Ruzicka.

If you travel often to various destinations both within South Africa and abroad, have an opinion about everything you do from sampling the local cuisine, going on adventures and finding the best places in town to go clubbing then you may want to start a travel blog where you can boast about it all and even make some money on the side.

You can make money several ways when you have a travel blog, including advertorials, advertising, product reviews, affiliate partnerships, sponsored campaigns, freelancing, Google Adsense (which enables Google to place ads on your site and pay you for the exposure), and some companies will even pay you money to post on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter and to be their brand ambassadors.

While this all sounds very exciting, companies won’t just support any old travel blog. The content has to be good and you need to have a respectable following to attract any attention. You can’t just write about the good things you experience – a balance has to be struck. Your audience will soon work out if you’re simply reviewing products to make a quick buck or if you’re actually giving your honest opinion.

But collaborating with travel companies and getting paid is certainly possible. “With the recent adoption of more practical methods of marketing and the movement away from traditional media, we have seen an increased number of brands wanting to work more and more with the so called “Influencer”,” says Lyle Scritten, PR and outreach strategist of Travelstart.

He adds: “This has given birth to the phenomenon known today as Influencer Marketing. It’s nothing new but the recent adoption of the concept has seen many bloggers and influencers cashing in on the following they have amassed.”

For travel bloggers this is no different, brands want leverage off the influencer’s market and hence are willing to pay. You don’t have to have a massive following, but it helps. “The number of followers play a big role but these days even the micro influencer with under 1,000 followers can generate a little buck here and there,” says Scritten.

It’s not as simple as just creating a blog. Brands don’t just come knocking just because you write about going on holiday. Travel blogging is not always a lucrative, particularly in the early years. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

You also have to make sure that your blog has a unique selling point (USP). There are thousands of travel blogs out there and in order to stand out from the crowd you need to be different. Keep a journal where you record your content ideas and make sure you post and update your blog regularly to keep the momentum going. Brands and readers don’t flock to blogs instantly. Relationships and followers get built up over time. So don’t get disheartened when you start up and initially only have a trickle of followers.

You don’t have to sit back and wait for brands to approach you though. It’s possible to pitch for work, but you got to be smart and innovative when you do so. “When approaching brands for sponsored/paying (travel) campaigns, draw up a detailed pitch where you highlight what you are offering and how you see your campaign doing better than the rest. I get approached with so many offers,” says Scritten

So what’s the magic formula that will make your travel blog pitch stand out from the rest? “Be creative, be original, do your research, create a Win-Win situation for brands, stand out of the crowd and you will get paid!” says Scritten.