In Marketing We Trust has engaged some of the world’s most prolific travellers, bloggers and writers to help our clients. We interviewed each travel blogger to get their thoughts on how to form influential and effective blog / brand relationships.
In Anna’s own words;
Each travel blogger has their own personality and our readers trust our recommendations because they relate to us. A travel blogger can reach people in a way that is more effective, engaging and often less costly than traditional media.
About Anna Phipps: Writer & Travel Blogger
Anna Phipps is a writer and travel blogger from the UK who has been on an indefinite journey around Australia, South East Asia and India since December 2012.
She shares her experiences and travel tips on her blog Global Gallivanting as she wants to show her readers that making travel your lifestyle is totally achievable. Anna is now based in India and is passionate about inspiring more women to explore this incredible country.
What has been your best experience working with a brand and what value was delivered to your client?
- The best experiences occur when the interests of the brand, the blogger and the blogger’s readership are closely aligned. If the blogger’s niche and audience is a great fit for the brand then it’s a win win situation for all involved.
- For example, I spend most of my time in India and therefore much of my content focuses on India and so my readers come to me for advice and recommendations about traveling in India.
- This means that the local tour operators that I work with in India get great exposure on a global scale and can tap into a highly targeted and relevant audience.
- My readers get useful information about brands they are they really interested in and I get to write about what I’m passionate about.
So, it’s a successful partnership for everyone.
There are so many ways a travel blogger can help brands and I really like to work with smaller or start up companies on a longer term partnership. I find it’s much more effective and I like to see their businesses grow and develop.
For an aspiring travel blogger or writer wishing to work with brands, what do you offer to stand out?
Have a niche. I think the days of the all round travel blog are numbered and there’s just too many other already well established blogs out there to compete with.
I think it’s better to become an authority on something and then you can really offer your readers your expertise in that area and in turn offer brands a highly targeted and relevant audience.
Also, think beyond trying to get freebies – there’s so much more that bloggers can offer. Think professionally and treat it as a business from day one.
Know your value and try to offer something different beyond sponsored posts, hotel reviews or social media exposure, to add value to your proposition and help you stand out.
How long does it take to research a great piece of advertorial or travel content?
It really depends but it usually takes longer than you think and writing great content cannot be done in half an hour by the pool.
I take pride in my work, I like to research and check my facts properly and try to provide a unique perspective or different viewpoint and add a personal touch to make my content stand out and be engaging and inspiring for my audience.
Sometimes it takes all day until I feel that the content is perfect. And to become an authority on something and to build up a readerships that trusts you takes a lot longer – 2 weeks in Thailand doesn’t make you an expert, sorry. For this reason I travel very slowly as I like to really get to know the country, the culture and the people.
Any strange requests from companies for promoting their products or services?
Sometimes companies reach out to me and they obviously haven’t read my blog at all as their pitch is completely unrelated to my niche.
I am picky about which brands I work with as they need to be aligned to my values and add value to the website. I’ve worked too hard to build my website and an audience that trusts me to lose that by aligning myself with a brand that I don’t believe in.
Are building relationships with other publishers / editors / writers important to increase your reach?
Yes, especially when starting out I think it’s really useful. I attend conferences like TBEX and trade shows whenever I can as nothing beats networking face to face both with brands and other bloggers.
I now have a lot of blogger friends that I’ve met through press trips and conferences and these friends have been invaluable when sharing advice or contacts but I don’t think it’s useful to write for other travel bloggers.
Why should a brand engage a travel blogger or writer, instead of using the reach of social media?
Travel bloggers are personalities and our readers trust our recommendations because they relate to us. A travel blogger can put the personal element into your marketing message and can reach people in a way that is more effective, engaging and often less costly than traditional media.
Many people still want and trust personal recommendations when making a purchasing decision and working with a travel blogger is like utilising this word of mouth marketing but on a global scale.
How important is content in building brand affinity or loyalty for consumers?
Useful, inspiring, engaging content can really set a brand apart from the competition.
Of course in SEO terms “content is king” and if utilised properly, can drive targeted traffic to your website. Content can show off a brands personality, it can help you relate to your customers and if your content is useful, it should keep them coming back for more.
If brands don’t have time to write content themselves then many travel bloggers like myself also work as freelance writers and can work with you on your content marketing plan.
For a travel blogger wishing to work with brands, is it wise to target a niche?
I think it’s wise to target a niche that you are passionate about. It’s easier to become an authority and build up a really useful bank of content around that niche which will attract a more loyal readership and provide better value for brands within your niche.
Yes, it can limit you a little but I think it’s better to do one thing really well than to spread yourself too thin and try and do 10 things in a mediocre way.
You have been on the road for a long time to some amazing destinations. Is it really a life of leisure?
Not exactly! I’m very busy, there is always work to be done and not enough time in the day. Travelling and working can get really stressful especially when you have a deadline to meet and the internet and power is not working, again!
And you don’t have a regular income each month. This lifestyle doesn’t suit everyone and there are definitely sacrifices you have to make but I love it – it’s exciting, diverse and rewarding. I’m grateful to be free to go where I want and everyday is different – you never know what will happen next which keeps it exciting.
Please tell us your favourite travel destination and why you loved it so much.
It’s no secret how much I love India!
Since I first set foot in this incredible country 3 years ago, it has taken me on a life changing, exhilarating journey – at first it was difficult and a little overwhelming but it captivated me so much and I’m totally obsessed with the country now and proud to call it my base for the last 18 months. I honestly don’t think there is any other country in the world that has so much to offer.
India is an amazing destination to travel in, so colourful with such a rich history and culture and diverse enough that you could travel in India for a lifetime and not see it all!
And India is not just an exotic land of forts and palaces, shimmering saris, wondrous deities and fascinating temples, spicy food, chaotic cities, wandering cows and the Taj Mahal.
India is the epitome of transformative travel – it’s one of the last remaining places on earth that you can still get a real dose of culture shock, discover something new about yourself and about the world, find yourself or just marvel in the diversity of the landscapes, the vibrancy of the festivals, the fervour of the religion, the rich history and the fascinating culture.
India can be one of the most challenging and frustrating destinations to travel in but it really is one of the most fascinating and rewarding!
Apart from India, I’ve explored much of Europe, Asia and Australia.
I spent a year in Australia where I worked in an outback pub and traveled around in my own campervan. I loved the wide open spaces, the nature, the laid back lifestyle and the sunshine filled days and wrote an ebook for others wanting to work and travel in Australia.
I also love South East Asia, especially Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia. It’s such an exotic, vibrant region with so much spectacular nature, fascinating history, amazing food and the people and religion really captivated me.
Theres still so much more I want to see but I like to travel slow, I’m not in any race to rush around visiting every country in the world unlike some other bloggers. I like to take my time and really get to know and fall in love with the country, culture and people – that’s more rewarding for me than country counting.
I’ve had some amazing experiences that come from getting immersed in the culture of from getting lost that probably wouldn’t have happened if I had been rushing through.
Thanks for your time and insights, Anna!