Wondering how to become a paid travel influencer? Thinking what steps top travel influencers took to become what they are today? In this article, I am going to share some useful tips to help you learn it all.
But, to understand how to become a paid travel influencer, you first need to have a clear understanding of the term Travel Influencer. So let’s start with…
What Is A Travel Influencer?
A travel influencer (or an influencer of another industry: say, fashion, adventure or automobile) is basically a person, who, over time, has gained followers online.
Now, these followers can be following the travel influencer on a social media channel (like Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest) or on a blog-website or youtube. As long as the person has some sort of influence over the online community and people show interest to follow the influencer’s footsteps, the person is an influencer.
Having said that, here’s a hard truth, and a simple equation: more than what you write or the kind of videos you produce, a brand will be interested in sponsoring you or working with you the basis on what kind of exposure you can offer them. And by exposure, I mean total reach and engagement in the form of comments and views.
For example, when I started blogging back in 2016, I had no online presence. No one knew about me. But with time, as I kept travelling and writing about my journeys, I gained a follower base (on my blog and my social media channels). Now there was no set score bar that, when crossed, made me a travel influencer, but with every follower gained, I only became more influential. Meaning, brands were less interested in working with me when I had 10,000 followers on Facebook then compared to today, when I have nearly 50,000 followers on Facebook.
So, long answer short… how to become a paid travel influencer? By increasing your follower base!
Having said that, I repeat the hard truth once again: more than what kind of content you produce, a brand is more likely to sponsor you if you have a higher number of followers on social media channels and more readership on your blog, than your competitors.
But this doesn’t mean that the kind of content you produce has no value because think of it this way — if your content isn’t good, catchy and unique enough, you’re not going to get any followers in the first place. And if you won’t get followers, you won’t get any work. You fail before you even start!
For my readers and followers, I am a travel blogger; for brands, I am a travel influencer!
Instagram Travel Influencers
Over the years, Instagram has positioned itself as the most useful social media channel for advertisers and promoters. And this has resulted in many top travel influencers working hard to have a strong Instagram presence. But is it possible to survive as a travel influencer by only relying on Instagram?
Well, to honestly admit it, yes. It’s possible! I know a few influencers (particularly the fashion influencers) who have no blog no Youtube channel, but just an Instagram profile to promote their work. And they get sponsors or even paid campaigns.
So yea, if you’re still thinking how to become a paid travel influencer, you can do so by using Instagram too.
You can very well live off by having a strong presence on just one platform, and Instagram happens to be the most powerful among all. But the more presence you’ve (on different channels) the better!
Become A Top Travel Influencer
Now that you’ve got the idea that travel bloggers and video-makers of the digital age get sponsors because they work as influencers, let’s take the next step, and learn… How to become a top influencer, travel the world for free and even make money traveling!
The following 4 tips will help you become a paid travel influencer:
Just like in any business, your success as a travel influencer depends on how well you position yourself. Think about why someone would want to follow you (and for brands to sponsor you) over someone else producing similar content. There may already be a dozen ‘motorbiker/rider travelers’ out there but what distinguishes you is important. Calculate what additional value you can offer to a sponsor, other than providing them with a bigger audience base.
To start with, choose a name for your blog and social media handles that synchronizes with your style. Additionally, when thinking of a name think about the future – is this a name you will be good within a few years. I’ve seen people using names like ’20 Something Traveling’ or ‘Traveling The Himalayas’ and restricting their work before they even start.
The next important thing is designing your website, blog and social media channels. When it comes to Instagram, think of it as your magazine cover. Keep your online channels impressive.
Work As A Freelancer
As I said earlier, more than what kind of content you create, it is your reach (in terms of your followers) that motivates a brand to work with you. But this doesn’t mean that no one is going to sponsor you if you had just started yesterday.
A smart way to increase your followers from Day-1 is by start writing (or producing videos) for other already established channels out there. For example, until last year, I was writing for a couple of offline magazines on a regular basis to keep brands interested in working with me. Because if GoPro didn’t seem interested in work with Footloose Dev as it had a monthly readership of 10,000 blog readers, the monthly readership of AirIndia’s in-flight magazine coupled with 10,000 monthly blog readers of FootlooseDev will certainly do.
I hope you get the idea!
Have A killer Media Kit
When I started blogging in 2015, I had no idea what a media kit is, and how crucial it is to have one for me as a travel influencer. If the term Media Kit sounds unfamiliar, imagine it as your portfolio or your resume that you will take to an employer while applying for a corporate job — a brief document speaking about you. All top travel influencers have a media kit. And if you want to become a paid travel influencer, you need to have one too.
A Media Kit talks about you and your blog’s market value. It includes mentions of your skills, interests, your blog’s statistics and the value you can add to a sponsor if they decided to work with you.
So make a Media Kit, and make it look killer! Hire a graphic designer to help you out or if you want to do it yourself, use Photoshop. If you’re not aware of Photoshop, use websites like DesignBold or Fotor, to help you with designing.
Further Reading: How To Create A Media Kit For Your Travel Blog
Invest In Your Business
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day and Taj Mahal took thousands of men to set its foundation, you can not do it alone either if you want to progress quickly. So I recommend investing in yourself and your business. Invest some money in taking a course on SEO or in hiring an agency to do it for you.
Similarly, invest in good photo-editing and video-editing tools. Buy a great camera from day 1. Own technology that can help you cut long processes short. Invest in good travel products. Listen to smart podcasts or spend time reading free articles on how to grow as a travel blogger or an influencer.
If you think about it, every profession has a professional training course, but not the influencer industry. In this business, it is hard to find someone to “train you” and give you exact formulas on how to grow. There no such thing as “influencer school” but there are ways for you to learn the important aspects of the industry like SEO, social strategy, business, branding, pitching etc.
So invest in yourself and your business and escalate the process towards success!
I hope these tips helped you understand who is a travel influencer and how to become a paid travel influencer.