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 on a jealousy-inducing journey to Guatemala) to discover how she has generated the sort of 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 like 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 totally on the perception that if you want my lifestyle and the manner that I am touring, you would love the hints I make.

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

In terms of my personal heritage, I started within the hospitality and tour industry in Florida. I moved to London, wherein I 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 alternate.

I had worked with influencers myself thru affiliate channels and had general information about Search engine optimization, Percent, coding, and so forth. – 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 the primary techniques you have used to construct your target market?

MP: I manifestly have the primary internet site, but as I didn’t firstly have an awful 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 with 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 basically 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 regarded to flip – I started to get 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 really ignite interest.

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

MP: Sincerely, for the reason that very beginning, I’ve made a point of being picky. I’ve seen many different 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 that I don’t believe in, so I simplest work with people who I think are absolutely appropriate healthy 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 in that? I’m not scared of saying no or explaining that it ain’t be a good suit, both.

Blogger vs WordPress

E: What could you say 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, however stating a particular article or photograph that they favored.

I am getting infinite emails saying that someone wants to work with me, so I really want to sense a few types of non-public connection. I also can tell if it’s miles an email they have despatched to loads of different bloggers – I’m able to 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 one party may be capable enjoy 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’re promoting the type and pleasant content. You may commonly tell 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 within the south of Mexico, in a hostel that paid for my entire revel in, and whilst 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

Online Notepad

I think genuine influencer advertising will evolve in this manner, 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 handiest be 4 hours of daytime, 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.