Hey everyone, I know I know, I’m due for a Travel Blogging Life post! So this is probably the post you have all been waiting for. How to make money blogging? Before you read any further I need to disclose something – I’m still trying to figure this out! Making money from a blog is a tricky business, because frankly when you factor in the amount of time it takes to do all the things you need to be doing as a blogger – are you really making any money in the end?
My Travel Blogging Life – Part V
This is a post that is part of a series of posts about my life as a travel blogger and how Dream Travel Magazine has grown into the successful blog it is today. Be sure to read Part I – The beginning of the site, Part II – the travel conference that changed my life, Part III – my very first FAM trip and Part IV – When the wrong Opportunities present themselves. In this post I will talk about when the legitimate companies, tourism boards and travel brands contact you.
Opportunities is not making money blogging. This I have to explain. I get subsidized on some of my trips but getting a free hotel stay or ticket to an event does not pay grocery and heating bills. Making money blogging takes time and dedication and frankly requires a lot of people visiting your blog and then big companies will pay you for space on your blog! For now, I’m happy to just enjoy life and experience new things and share it with all of you! So let’s talk about the opportunities that will knock on your email door eventually as a blogger!
I remember when I got my first email asking me if I was interested in visiting a resort here in Ontario. Honestly most of the people contacting me were the spam or link advertisers – you know the ones I warned you about in last month’s travel blogging story. So when I got the email asking me about this resort I was like what’s the catch? I almost didn’t reply because I didn’t understand that people would just contact me out of the blue asking me to visit somewhere, they would pay all the expenses and I would just write about it.
It’s silly really because I saw all the other bloggers were getting opportunities like this but somehow I just didn’t believe I would ever be one of them. Thankfully after reading the email a few thousand times I decided to reply. I discovered the person sending me the email was from a PR agency that represented the property. I just had to drive up there with a girlfriend, enjoy a free weekend and write about it.
Soon after, more opportunities like this came to me. I was invited by Central Counties Tourism to guest blog post on their website. They sent me to many events in my own backyard and I wrote about them on their blog. Each weekend I drove around Ontario and visited fairs, small towns and art exhibitions. I took photos and came home and wrote about it all for their blog.
Then I realized something. I was taking on so many of these opportunities I didn’t have time to write for Dream Travel Magazine. This is the challenge when building your blog as a business. Weighing which opportunities you take to make some money, or get some travel perks and which ones are the right ones for your audience.
When you are new and trying to figure out what your blog is, what your voice is, and frankly when not everyone is beating down your door to find you, well, you tend to take what you can get. The problem with that is your readers will tell you how they feel about that! So after a summer and fall season of driving all over Central Counties I had to figure out what I wanted to do with Dream Travel Magazine.
What I discovered was I love traveling to local Ontario towns. In fact a few of them have contacted me directly asking me to visit them. If I can afford to make the trip I will grab my girlfriends split a tank of gas and make the trip! The more local spots I visited and wrote about…well you guessed it the more opportunities started flowing in.
Opportunities will come but eventually you are going to have to ask yourself “is this a good story for my blog?” I have turned down many opportunities like this. Primarily “please review our travel app we think it the greatest travel app ever!” I will download the app and after 15 minutes of trying to just set up a profile I realize how many of you have the time to set up an app, and how many of you are going to load photos into the app while you are on vacation…” and well I just say no this is not going to work for my readers – because frankly it doesn’t work for me!
My best advice is that when opportunities start flowing in, sift through them. Pick the ones that are relevant to your blog. I will review travel luggage and bags, especially if they well made and offer great value to my readers (and let’s be honest me). I will go on press trips to different locations, experience different things, visit restaurants that write about it all. However, I also need to weigh how much time do I have between these trips, how much content do I owe these sponsors and how much sponsored material is just too much. Most importantly – will my readers like this activity, location etc.
I love my blog, I love experiencing new things and writing about it. I love reading your emails and comments and getting tips on places to visit that I missed. This blog has literally changed my life … but aaaah that is for another episode of My Travel Blogging Life!
I would love to hear your thoughts on the blog! What do you like, don’t like, anything you’d like to see me write more on? Tell me in the comments below!