Becoming an influencer: Notes from a fledgling tour blogger

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Marion Payen is the founder and editor-in-leader of Hibiscus and Nomad, a famous online travel weblog.

Tour Blogger

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With over 29,000 Instagram followers and 1,500 blog visits in step with month, she knows an issue or two about influencer marketing. I latterly stuck up with Marion (even as she changed into a jealousy-inducing journey to Guatemala) to discover how she has generated a massive following, how she works with manufacturers, and her mind on journey influencers in trendy. Econsultancy: May you begin by using explaining a piece approximately your blog and how you got into the industry?

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Marion Payen: I, to start with, started my blog because of an interest in creating something more real than I saw somewhere else. I acknowledged that I Could offer more than well-known hints from huge groups like Lonely Planet. I suggest an emblem that could inform me to visit a specific marketplace – but how will I know if it’ll provide me with something precise or, without a doubt, exciting? I’m more inclined to agree with a person with a personal point of view regarding an ebook that’s been written for the hundreds.

So, I aimed to build something based on the perception that if you want my lifestyle and the manner that I am touring, you would love my hints.

E: Did you begin your weblog with any know-how of influencer marketing?

Regarding my heritage, I started in Florida’s hospitality and tour industry. I moved to London and worked in retail – mainly e-commerce and digital advertising and marketing.

This is how I knew I May want to provide something distinct from different journey websites because I already knew many hints of the alternative.

I had worked with influencers through affiliate channels and had general information about Search engine optimization, Percent, coding, etc. So I knew I Ought to use this for my gain, especially in comparison to different bloggers I saw at the time.

E: What are your primary techniques for constructing your target market?

MP: I manifestly have the primary internet site, but as I didn’t have a lot of cash to invest, I knew that to pressure traffic to it, I had to use every other organic channel like social media.

So, I started with Instagram, spending days and days simply acting on it, enticing the network, and making buddies with mutual interests.

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Bus Tours

Over time my presence grew. From final June to now, I have controlled to reach 29,000 followers, and that’s just organically, from being excellent lovely and building my very own community. Finally, this target audience has also found its way lower back to my internet site, so now we’re at about 1,500 visits in line with the month.

E: At what point did you start getting hobbies from brands?

MP: Quite these days. Earlier than that, it became me achieving out to brands via e-mail and social media, pronouncing. That is what I do if you are interested.

Then, about a month ago, it seemed to flip – I started getting emails each day from manufacturers and websites pronouncing that they’d determined me. As quickly as I reached about 25,000 fans on Instagram, it commenced appearing, after which I additionally was given Quite a chunk of press insurance from online and print magazines. Mixed, this regarded to ignite interest.

E: Do you simplest paintings with a positive form of an emblem, and how do you decide who to images with?

MP: Sincerely, for that very beginning, I’ve made a point of being picky. I’ve seen many bloggers on Instagram being Pretty blatant, posting images of a watch with a mountain inside the heritage.

I might never need to receive a commission to sell a brand I don’t believe in, so I work with people who I think are appropriate for me.

For example, I’m now operating with a logo that offers travel coverage because I’ve used it myself, and I recognize that my audience will find it useful. If I am protecting an expensive watch – why might a backpacker be interested? I’m not scared of saying no or explaining that it isn’t a good suit.

Blogger vs. WordPress

E: What is the high-quality way for a brand to approach an influencer?

MP: A brand can commonly get my interest if it’s far a customized message, so no longer just mentioning that they’ve seen my blog, but stating a particular article or photograph they favored.

I am getting infinite emails saying someone wants to work with me, so I want to sense a few non-public connections. I can also tell if it’s miles an email they have despatched to loads of bloggers – I can read between the traces.

Lastly, I have to feel love. It’s not pretty much them, that it’s approximately each of us, and that each party may be capable of enjoying the deal.

E: How do you spot influencer marketing evolving? Do you watch it’s going to reach saturation point?

MP: I do think it’s going to reach saturation point. You can tell this no longer simply from the number of influencers; however, they promote the type and pleasant content. You may commonly know that it’s not authentic, that they’re staying in a motel surely because they’re being paid to – it doesn’t align with their identification or technique to tour in any manner.

This weekend I was in the south of Mexico, in a hostel that paid for my entire revel in, and while the hostel is, in reality, a place I’d stay at (and sell), my article may even include targeted data approximately the day experience I went on and every single pastime I did. It’s constantly better to promote a story rather than just trustworthy advice.

Notes

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I think genuine influencer advertising will evolve this way, telling the tale and whole experience of a place in place of just one element. E: In the end, what’s the high-quality place you’ve been or revel in you’ve had a way to your blog? MP: The first-class feedback I’ve had has been from my Iceland experience – I was there for an entire week over New 12 months. I didn’t even truly plan anything; then I slowly realized that it became wintry weather, there might be 4 hours of daytime, and we’d be freezing. Who goes to Iceland in winter?

However, we embraced it and ended up taking tremendous snapshots. The remarks were outstanding, with people commenting that they now want to go all through the ickiness time instead of summer, ask questions on how we got there, how we traveled, and so on. Human beings don’t even suppose to go to a place like Iceland Earlier than see images after being passionate about it. For us, That is so worthwhile – it indicates that You can, without a doubt, inspire.