Are you a passionate traveler whose mission is to see the world and share everything online? Studying abroad transforms you either in a storyteller or a photographer. And one part of our heart will always be on the road. But what happens when real life hits us and we need to come back home? We can start a blog or a photography website in order to feed our daily motivation and inspire others to travel.
But once you decide this, it won’t be easy! You got to be disciplined in your posts, build quality content and do it out of passion. I started my student traveler blog after my 5 years of University studies. I just felt I have too much valuable information to share. And since then, it’s been a success. It’s called Word Traveler and it is a student community where we share travel and scholarship information. But I am not going to talk about Word Traveler here. I just want to share the strategies behind building it. I put together the Ultimate Guide to Building an Online Traveler Exposure. Also, you can find out about:
- the 4 FREE online contests to participate in
- the strategy you need to implement before even taking pictures
- the 30-second method which catches attention and hooks up readers
- the tool which will take away your social media worries
- the platform you cannot miss if you are a photographer
Most likely, when you create content, you pour your heart out into your craft. Hitting the “Publish” button is one of the most decisive steps in sharing your vision with the world. Will it reach the people you want? Will it engage? Can it make money? Will it inspire? You probably know by now that if you take photos and nobody knows about them, you are spinning the wheels instead of driving the car.
Building exposure for your articles and photographs is perhaps the job you should be focused 60% of your time as an “influencer” online. And that’s because it takes a lot of time and the sooner you start the better. Building a community of consumers for your content involves social networking, link networking, PR, editorial visibility, and even know-how about WordPress. But don’t be scared, I will explain everything to you and if you will apply at least 1 of the following ideas, you will see the difference.
Let’s jump into the 9 easy steps to build your online exposure:
- Create a Brand and a Story behind your Photos
Nowadays, it is not enough to only have good content and photos. Creating a story behind the photos, introducing you, presenting the circumstances upon which you started to take the photos, your passion for a niche etc., can be a good way to start bringing some attention. People listen to stories, they want to reflect on them and they will buy them. Perhaps, this is the first thing you need to do when you decide to expand your online presence: create a branding strategy. Find a funny name, design a logo, choose your colors and use those in the whole marketing communication: Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Blog.
This story behind your photos can be summarized in your elevator pitch or USP (unique selling proposition). This is a 30 seconds presentation method where you give out your best. Take your time and summarize what you do from the customer’s point of view, engage your listener and include your best results so far. We’ve put up an example to give you a start:
“I am the only Travel and Lifestyle photographer who focuses on capturing portraits around the world and putting them into the context of everyday life and cultural differences. My images highlight the subtleties of the human body, the feelings that can be read from the eyes and the beauty of the soul who persists as we age. I am best known for my project “The Atlas of Beauty” which was started as a crowdfunding project and has now been printed and sold more than 10.000 copies around the world.”
- Make a Content Plan and Post Regularly on Social Media
Once you have an amazing story and a brand behind you, it’s time to show the world who you are. It is not enough to post on Social Media occasionally. Like all the content online, it needs a plan. You need to notice when your audience is the most active and what type of photos have the most success. After doing your research, you can start expanding your online presence on Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You might be already overwhelmed by these platforms, but there is a solution to integrate them all and post everything at once: www.buffer.com
- Advertise like a PRO
No, I’m not talking about hiring a whole marketing department. I’m talking about simple ads to boost your posts on FB, in order to reach a wider audience. Don’t be afraid to invest some money in the Facebook tools, especially if you are in the beginning. You might be reluctant to take out ads because it is hard to justify the cost. However, experimenting with a small cost of sponsored updates can be a good way of getting your name out there. A test is better than rest.
- Roll the dices in a Photo Contest
No matter if you win or not, getting your work out there is the most important thing for your exposure. Of course, you need to invest time in making and writing the applications, however, the exposure you can reach after winning such competitions can be priceless. Here are 4 photo contests that you can join for FREE:
- Nikon Photo Contest International
- National Geographic. Your Shot
- Smithsonian magazine Photo Contest
- Network with other Photographers & Bloggers
Minds who think alike will always support each other. Taking part in a group is the third need in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That’s why connecting with people is crucial for exposure. Joining photography communities can be a good opportunity to make friends, offer feedback and tips & tricks. You will learn, ask for feedback, receive critiques and all this activity will help you increase your network.
We recommend you join Intelligent Travel, a National Geographic blog which runs a Flickr photo pool, where photographers can submit their works.
- Create Personalized Business Cards
Want an original way to show cast your work! Offline is the new luxury J We can’t compare the power of networking online with the power of a real event. Join conferences, exhibit launches, meet-ups and introduce yourself with a well-designed business card, which contains your best shot. Add a hook in your copywriting and you’ll surely attract attention. Who wouldn’t want to know more about a business card saying:
I will shoot you.
(It’s OK, I am a Photographer)
- Create a Landing page with an Opt-In
This is more marketing related, but if we are talking about exposure, it’s all marketing. A Landing Page is not the same as a blog or a web-site. The Landing Page is supposed to sell, or gather e-mail addresses in exchange for free useful content. Even if you are working in a creative area, you can put up a cool E-book (for example “The 7 Tips I wish I knew before becoming a Professional Photographer”) which can educate the market on specific issues in exchange for an e-mail address. This will give you the opportunity to create a database interested in your subject to which you can eventually sell in the future.
- Ask for Testimonials and Reviews
How many times did you work with somebody, because it was a recommendation? Or how many times you bought a product just because your friend told you it was good? As in real life, your online presence also needs social proof. We are all now accustomed to looking for online reviews of products and services. Therefore, we suggest that any time you deliver a work to a client, ask if they can provide a few sentences about their experience in working with you.
- Design a good eye-catching Portfolio Website
Many people chose to sell their photos via Flickr, which is indeed a cheap option. If you master the art of “tagging” words and phrases, you can share amongst some major travel pages and wait for customers to approach you.
However, the most professional option to gain exposure is to invest in your own domain and website. It doesn’t need to be an extensive catalog with all your images over the years, but a simple site which shows a balanced selection of your imagery. With the addition of a landing page, contact details and links to your social network profiles, you’ve got yourself a platform which can act as a hub for potential clients. The easier platform which can serve you in this direction is WordPress.
I hope this list will help you once you decide to go online and share your travel experiences. It is hard, but worth it so much…
Author Bio: “Hi, I am Ioana Manciu. If Brian Tracy, Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Gilbert and Penelope Cruz had a love child, that could be me. That’s because I am part business & marketing oriented, part IT geek and part a copywriting fairy with the air of an exotic Latino dancer. I also believe that copywriting, storytelling and photography are the greatest “happiness making” skills on the Planet. That’s why I put them in my soul project, Word Traveler“.
*The information and views set out in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and standpoints of Mladiinfo International. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the text/pictures/video therein lies entirely with the authors.