This article continues a six-part series about how to start a travel blog. You’ll find other parts of this series here:
- Part 1 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Find Your Brand
- Part 3 for How to Start a Travel Blog – The Email Newsletter
- Part 4 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Monetizing Your Blog
- Part 5 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Using Webcasts to Grow Your Audience
- Part 6 for How to Start a Travel Blog – Becoming an Expert Source
So you’ve taken the first step by declaring you want to start a travel blog or website. Excellent! Your next step is finding ways to drive traffic to your site which is our topic for today’s blog post. Here are my four tips for promoting your new blog or website.
Facebook – A Travel Blogger’s Best Friend
Social media is a cheap and effective way to direct traffic to your website and Facebook leads the way in this charge. The easiest way to start is by creating a page to compliment your website. Use the same title and try to keep the look feel and messaging similar to your website to help with your overall branding. Facebook has recently changed the rules for creating a page and now you will need a certain amount of people to “like” your page before your page goes public. Just send an email blast to close friends and family and you should hit the minimum, no problem.
Once the page is built, you want to create a unique and interactive experience for your user so they look forward to your updates and don’t ban you from the precious “news feed.” A few tips for this:
-Keep your content consistent with your overall theme and messaging. The last thing you want to do is spam your readers with an irrelevant post.
-Don’t over post. You may be super excited to get started but pace yourself with postings. A sure fire way to lose interest is having multiple posts dominate a reader’s news feed. I personally recommend no more than 4-6 times per day with a variety of types of content (links to your article, links to other sites, etc).
-Try to create an interactive experience. Don’t just post article and leave it at last; try to engage the reader and get them to comment. DIWYY likes to pose “Questions of the Day” which allow readers to voice their opinions and to get a dialogue going.
Twitter – A Travel Blogger’s Second Best Friend
Another leader in the social networking realm is Twitter. If you have been reluctant to join, bite the bullet, and create an account for your site. DIWYY has found that we get a different set of readers from Facebook and Twitter so it allows us to interact with a larger pool of readers. The micro-blogging experience also allows you to give updates, share links (using sites like bit.ly) and ask questions to others. Some advice:
-But, be sure to be actively engaged too as people like to comment and converse in real time. If it’s easier, try using your smartphone to allow for Tweets on the go.
-Use your hash tags wisely. (For Twitter newbies, writing #Rome will allow people to search for Tweets mentioning that keyword). This is a great way to broaden your Twitter community as you find users with similar interests or expertise in a particular place. Last October, when I went to El Salvador, I put a simple Tweet out with an #ElSalvador and got loads of tips from Salvadorian residents!
This day in age, press releases are not limited to big corporations…anyone can do them! My favorite tool to get the word out is PitchEngine. Instead of the standard text format, PitchEngine allows you to jazz it up with photos, hyperlinks, Twitter links and video. The basic plan is free and there is a nominal cost for additional features. We did a PitchEngine release when we first got started and got over 300+ press release views in one day! Not too shabby for starters!
Another common question is when to send out releases. My reply, anytime you have news! Your launch is obviously a great one but new contests, new site features, new staff all warrant press releases.
Shameless Self Promotion
You have to be your own biggest fan to get anywhere with your website! When Jerri and I first got started, we blasted our an email to our entire address books about our endeavor. We kept it brief but gave a little back story and threw in a few bullet points with suggested actions (ex. “Like” us on Facebook, tell your friend’s daughter about our site, etc).
You also need to get yourself in front of strangers as you never know when or where a partnership opportunity could grow. I actually learned about Tripping.com from a girl I met at a charity event! To be prepared for such situations, I recommend making business cards right from the start so you have something to pass along with your contact info. And don’t be afraid to pass them out. Sure, someone might go home and throw it out, but someone else could tell all their friends or open the door to a new opportunity.
Written by DIWYY Co-Founder, Kristina Wegscheider.