Blogging

Best Travel Vlogging Camera

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Pin Me!

Last year, I wrote about the Canon vlogging camera I swear by and use for all my travels. Almost an exact year ago actually! I used my previous camera, Canon G7X, for two years and it is still functioning well, but my needs as a vlogger developed the more I created travel content and I felt that it was time to upgrade. Canon has released the EOS M50 in March and after reading about it and watching the available video reviews, I decided to go ahead and get it to improve my filming game.   

Travel Vlogging Camera requirements: 

Most of my videos are about my travels and explorations around the world, so I have a set of requirement that any camera of mine should have. These are my own personal choices that I feel help me with videos. 

  • I wanted something light and compact.
    My second camera that I ever bought back in 2013/14 was the Nikon D7100. Although the quality was fantastic, the heavy camera meant that I hardly use it. It was also big and bulky.
  • A Camera that Can go without notice.
    I travel a lot of places solo and I didn't want to be a target because of my big fancy camera. My big DSLR has always given me the wrong kind of attention and with a little mirrorless camera it wasn't a problem. People only notice it when I add the mic, but I take lots of footage especially in crowded places without it!
  • Flip Screen is a MUST
    As a vlogger, I HAVE to talk to the camera and see myself to make sure I am presentable and more importantly "in focus". Pervious Canon cameras that had a mic input, had the screen flip where the mic would go. Although I watched lots of hack videos that work around this issue, I feel like the flip screen possibilities in the M50 are much better especially that I can close the screen so it doesn't get so scratched up!  
  • Mic Input NEEDS to be there
    This was my biggest issue to change the whole camera. Having a real mic seriously makes a difference to the audio quality and now with the light Rode mic (pictured below) this doesn't have to be a heavy set up at all!  
  • Camera with Great Quality  
    Good video quality is essential if all you are creating is video and I love the colour that Canon gives me and the over all quality. 

The Canon EOS M50 ticked all my boxes and I made the decision to get it and I can already see the difference and hoping that you can too! I know I sound like an advert, but when you spend nearly £700, you make sure you love that product already before investing! 

Below are some unedited photo examples from the Canon EOS M50:

Added bonus of the EOS M50: The viewfinder!! Which means I don't always have to flip my screen and waste the battery life to take photos. Also I can switch up the lenses! I don't think I would any time soon, but planning on that for next year! 


Booking.com

Featured Gadgets: 

If you are planning to buy any of the mentioned products and my review has helped you, please consider buying them through my affiliate links below. These links will give me a little commission with no extra cost to you. This commission helps me maintain the blog and supports the content. Thank you for your support! 

Canon EOS M50 unboxing and test video: 

Over to you: what do you think of the Canon EOS M50? And what would you say a very important requirement to you in terms of travel vlogging? 


Travel Photography and Videography Books: 


More posts you might like: 

Travel Blogging is harder than you think and here's why

Travel Blogging is harder than you think and here's why

What does it really take to become a successful travel blogger generating an income? By Income I mean enough money for the basic living expenses: rent, bills, food on the table and more travel. Some people actually do that, which makes it even more tempting to make it as a successful blogger. The longer I am in the travel blogging field, the more I realise how difficult it really is. I have been a travel blogger seriously since 2015 and I am still not living off my blog. I did however get very rewarding opportunities that I wouldn't have if it wasn't for travel blogging, such as, the collaboration with Skyscanner and Philadelphia Arabia (yup the cheese company). I also got to work with small, local business in the countries I travelled to. These perks are very encouraging and keep me going. However, it is still really difficult to make a consistent income to fully support myself. Travel blogging in general is very difficult and have many sides to it that are not apparent to most people who are not blogging themselves.   

In this post, I want to tell you about the reality of travel blogging. 

There are two parts to this: the visible part that you can see on this blog and the invisible part that you probably don't know much about unless you blog professionally yourself. Don't get me wrong, this post is not a rant about travel blogging, it's about the reality of travel blogging that people might not fully be aware of. In fact, I myself as a travel blogger was not aware of all these points and considerations until I made the decision that I want my blog to generate an income! I thought it was just a matter of going on a trip and writing about it, but it's much bigger than that. 

Part One: Visible Blogging Work

The visible side of travel blogging is what we get envied for. People see this side: a blogger on a trip, laughing in their photos, exploring gorgeous destinations and having lots of fun. This is true. This happens. This is the whole point of this new field that emerged in the past ten years. There are three main visible parts in a blogger's life: their fun trip, the blog post they have written and all the social media sharing.

Going on a Trip

The best part about being a travel blogger is going on a trip! After going on a few international trips and living abroad for years, I decided to blog about my travels to share stories, advice and inspire. Exploring the world is truly magical and my only regret is not travelling enough previously and not taking all travel chances I had. Being away "on holiday" is what people notice the most and that's the most visible. 

Writing a Post

This is what people expect from you as a travel blogger and rightly so. This is also what people get to see. This written documentation is the evidence. The spoken writing style of my blog make people think that it is very easily done. 

Promoting on Social Media

It feels like this is the only thing people see from travel bloggers. The pretty photos we post on Facebook and Instagram. Some bloggers actually make their income by being visual ambassadors for companies, but that's only a very small percentage of travel bloggers. 

Part Two: Invisible Blogging Work

This is the part that most people are not aware of. The part that really exhusts me. This is why I am busy all the time and why I stay home when I am not travelling. When I tell people that I have a lot of work to do, they are always puzzled and I get comments like: "what do you mean? Didn't you just write about your last trip?"

Take a look at my humble Travel Blogging Posts Checklist to see what I mean by all the invisable blogging work. All the details are below the photo! 

Travel Blogging Checklist

Emailing Companies

Emailing companies is the first thing I do while I am planning a trip. As a full time student and a part time blogger/vlogger, the finances are usually very limited. So, I contact companies, accommodations and tour operators in the destination I intend to visit to provide them with services and marketing options. This takes a lot of prior planning and can be soul sucking! I don't do it as much now because it requires a huge amount of work and sometimes all of that work is not appreciated. It also turns the holiday into a work venture because you will be required to record everything, promote it on social media instantly and later on and photograph everything. It gets really intense and I end up with only a little time for myself. This is also dependent on the company. Sometimes they are such a joy to work with, but other times they get too much.  

Documenting The Trip

This could be part of the visible part of blogging because people see some of the documentation on social media. For example, I usually post one or two photos on instagram daily during my trip with some highlights and a location. Off the social, I document everything there is to know about that location and place because when I write about it later I want to have every possible info to help my readers. This is basically travel journalism and since this was not what I studied in university (I studied/studying design hence the Designer Esra name), I have to really prove myself even more. 

How to Be A Travel Writer (Lonely Planet)
By Lonely Planet, Don George

Editing Photos  

Photos are a huge part of blogging. They are just more enticing. Imagine a post with photos verses one without. Personally I am put off by websites that hardly have any pictures. I like to see the place I am going to! I use the photos I take in the cover for the post, in the content and on social media. 

I usually take lots of photos to edit after every trip! Let me give you an example, on my two-week trip to Iran, I took over five thousand photos! I am not even exaggerating. Editing all of them was not an easy task. I ended up reducing that number to 100 because my blog would have exploded if I uploaded all of the photos I took. That 100 was divided on various travel posts though. 

Ps. I use Adobe Lightroom CC to edit all my video. Check out their packages.

Editing Videos

I also do vlogs, which means double the work! I don't make it easy for myself now do I? Editing video can be a lot of fun, but it is the longest process ever especially that I am teaching myself as I go along! I can easily spend 16hours on a 4minute video. Shocking, but 100% true! I use Adobe Premier Pro, which is really helpful. I love Adobe products because I use them all the time for my design work, so trying the Premier Pro was an good transition. I watch a lot of Youtube videos to help me figure out the settings and edits. I feel like I am improving slowly. I think even if you go to film school, you will take a while to get the hang of it and develop your style. 

Ps1. I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit all my video. Check out their packages.

Ps2. If you are interested in becoming a travel vlogger, you might find the how to become a travel vlogger online course useful. It is run by two of my favourite travel Youtuber: Hey Nadine and Kristin Sarah. I would only recommend the course for beginners. If you have previous video experience and you have done so much research then you would have most likely already come across most of the content.

Read: The Vlogging Camera I swear by (Review for Canon G 7X)

Creating Social Media Content

With every blog I write, I have to have at least one pin-able photo (like the one at the start of this post), which means creating something like a poster that has an attractive photo related to the subject plus a written title for Pinterest, which is considered a really good visual search engine. I use Canva for that. It's a free website that requires signing up. It's really good because they have the exact sizes for everything and it's super easy to use. Alternatively you can use Photoshop or Illustrator. 

There are also the other social media outlets like twitter, instagram and Facebook. Each is slightly different, which means creating something for each is not the same. Not to mention all the engagement you have to do with others to notice you as well!    

Blog post Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) 

Now that I have followed the list above and prepared everything: the information, the photos, the poster and the video in some cases, I am ready to write the post. For years I have been writing useful travel advice posts with high quality photos, but I have only realised recently that my website traffic is so low! I thought that was because I was still new to the game, but it turns out, my blog lacked good keywords that optimise search engines! I even did a little test for a post I wrote about clothing in Iran. The previous title was "Outfits I wore in Iran" and had zero search. Literally, no one looked up that term. So, I spent three hours revamping that post using the suggested and searched terms. I changed it to "Iran Women's Clothing + What to wear when visiting Iran" and that is preforming much better. I find the SEO to be the hardest thing about blogging. SEO is crucial for travel blogs and anything written online. This is basically what makes strangers on the internet find you! Otherwise your blog will only be visited by family and friends forever. 

The tool I currently use to help me find searched-for keywords is called Key Search and I pay for it monthly. It is kind of easy compared to other tools, but learning it is still hard and needs lots of focus! Here's a very useful blog post from Digital Nomad Wannabe that tell you about everything you need to know when it comes to Keywords.

Adding Affiliate links

One of the way to make an income from blogging is to share affiliate links meaning links to products or services that you endorse resulting in a very small percentage. For example, I am an affiliate to a number of companies like Amazon, Adobe, ShopStyle and a few others. Although, I want people to use my links so I make that tiny percentage, I am always aware of what I am telling people. I am very honest in my reviews and opinions. When I usually hate something I don't even mention it on my website unless I am warning people against it. So, after I write my post or during writing, I find ways to add these links in a "natural way".    

Read: How to Monetise Your Travel Blog?

An extra step must be considered if adding affiliate links: the nofollow link. Again something I only recently learnt about and it's causing me a lot of pain to go back to all my previous posts to fix. There are many tips about this subject, so a quick search online will tell you all you need to know. This is very important otherwise Google gets annoyed with me and my site gets blocked.

Ps1. If you want add a nofollow link on SquareSpace (the platform I use for this website), then use the markdown block and this: <a href="the affiliate link" rel="nofollow">Name/Sponsor/title </a>

Ps2. To avoid adding nofollow links on SquareSpace, use the Amazon block instead, but make sure you enter your Amazon ID in the external links in the settings, so you can get the rewards.  

I also add Google AdSense inside the posts and other types of affiliates in the side bar and within posts in the hopes of generating an income. The money I made so far using every possible affiliate is below $25 -before you start thinking I am making a crazy amount of cash-.

Working really hard and getting such a little financial return is not too fun and sometimes very discouraging. I have to remind myself that I am blogging to share my tips and routes rather than to make money. Although, some money is always nice because we need it to stay alive! 

 Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald. Thanks Mollie Makes

Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald. Thanks Mollie Makes

Sharing on the web

After following all the checklist above, you now have some content. As Sharon says (the lady behind Digital Nomad Wannabe) says: Content is king, but market is queen. So, marketing the post is a MUST! It's not as simple as tweeting a link or posting it on Facebook and Instagram, but this also means finding Facebook groups and communities that care about your content or want to exchange shares. For example, I am part of Blogtacular and everyone shares a new blog post every Monday. I am also part of Female Travel Bloggers and participate in their #BlogPostSaturday. These are the two specific FB groups designed for bloggers that I use. I am also part of three other female travel groups -that are not for bloggers- for any female traveller. I frequently check them and respond to other members who are looking for advice and posts about certain destinations such as Muslimahs Who Travel, Girls vs Globe and Girls Love Travel

Why am I still a travel blogger even with all of these difficulties? 

The short answer is I really enjoy all the aspects of travel blogging and the travel blogging community and TRAVELLING! 

Yes some parts can be tedious and difficult, but I don't mind doing them as long as I see the result and impact of that. Every time I get a positive comment from a fellow female traveller who was inspired, I get a kick of happiness and a sense of purpose. I love it more when people use my practical tips and find them really helpful! I find travel blogging rewarding and enjoyable. 

 Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald. Thanks Mollie Makes  Spot the green scarf that's me!!

Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald. Thanks Mollie Makes
Spot the green scarf that's me!!

Useful resources to make your blogging journey easier: 

  • Digital Nomad Wannabe
    This website and Facebook group have been really helpful
  • Video Influencers
    I have learnt so much from this Youtube channel. Their advice and useful tip are wonderful not to mention FREE!
  • Blogtacular
    They really helped me and started me on the right path of blogging. 

Another amazing resource is other bloggers. Make sure you go to blogging events and make blogging friends. I learnt so much from my friends plus they make blogging an even more fun field to work in!

Over to you: Are you a travel blogger? What are the hardest things you face while blogging? Do you have any tips to make the process easier? Even if you aren't a travel blogger, feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below!  

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to make posts like this. Thank you for the support! 

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

I am very excited for you that you are taking a trip solo! And pictures are really important! Even if you don't like your photo taken, it's really nice to have a few pictures just to remind yourself of the trip and to share with your friends and family. We all appreciate a good view but when you are in it, it's more personal and truly yours. You might have wondered how can solo travel instagrammers take pictures of themselves. It's actually not too hard! The photo below was taken by myself in Sri Lanka

Here are the four tricks I regularly use!

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

1- Mini Tripod and Timer

I use the Joby tripods because they are so versatile and can be twisted and places in random spots. I think most cameras would have a timer. Look into how to set that before you trip! You don't want to be fiddling with your camera and figuring that out on the spot. 10 seconds is the most common time, but you can set the duration. Possibly 20 seconds so you don't have to run to the spot. 

Ps1. You can do that on your phone too! 

Ps2. You can take a proper tripod with you if you like but that might be too heavy to carry. 

2- Remote shooting

This is done by connecting your wifi enabled camera with a phone application and using your phone as a remote. If your camera doesn't have an app from the manufacturer then it might be worth purchasing a remote. I absolutely love this feature on my Canon G7x and its own app Canon Camera Connect. I can see the photos on my phone before shooting as well!  

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

3- Selfie stick

I know. You probably know that, but just in case! It looks slightly funny, but everyone is doing it now it became very normal. I actually use a selfie stick for my travel vlogger rather than still photos! Just like the two photos below!  

4- Asking others

You can start this conversation by asking others if they want their photo taken then ask nicely for them to do the same. Everyone loves that! You can ask them straight if they would take yours and offer to take their as an appreciation token. Sometimes people just offer when they see me struggle setting the tripod and timer. 

Relevant posts: 

How to stay safe while travelling solo

The Vlogging Camera I swear by (Review for Canon G 7X)

Over to you: Which of the tricks above do you use to take your own travel photos? And do you have any other ways I haven't mentioned? Share away! 

 

Making the most of Instagram stories

Instagram stories have been the highlight for a few months now. When Instagram came out with that new feature, many resisted because it was a rip off of snapchat. I really wanted to stand by Snapchat and just ignore the Instagram stories, but I couldn't! The appeal of them was too strong and my audience is much bigger on Instagram. The thing I like the most in the Insta stories is the option to see who exactly is viewing the stories and seeing their interests and profiles. A few features have been added a few weeks ago such as the location and the hashtags. Those two have really helped me reach to more people that I thought I was losing!

I found five useful ways for using Instagram stories and I thought you might make a use of them too!  

1- Post something on your story at least once a day

With the very annoying algorithm of Instagram that makes you see only the people and the posts it thinks you are interested in, I stopped seeing many posts from the 850 people I follow. When the stories pop up on the top of the page, I remember those people exist.  I see the stories of people I haven't seen in my feeds in ages, which is good because then I click on their profiles and find that I haven't even seen their last 10 photos! My insta story views are significantly higher than my post likes. The most likes I have been getting lately on my travel instagram is 150, but my story views reach to over 400, which is massive to me! 

Ps. Don't over share though. The more stories you have, the more people you will loose. 

Impression of Instagram Stories
Instagram Story Viewers

2- Make it interesting

The Instagram stories need a little more thought unlike snapchat. Some avid instagrammers even go to the lengths of editing videos with an editing software such as Premier pro to create a much more engaging story. You can certainly do that, but you can also be interesting without spending too much time on there. I especially love the Boomerang option! It only needs a slight movement and it gives more life. I generally prefer sharing videos on insta stories and keep the good photos for the feed. Another thing people seem to enjoy is process! My art instagram gets so much love when I share a process for a new piece of art. I also get more views and engagement out of that. 

3- Add a location

One of the coolest, newest things about the Instagram stories is the public story based on a location. All you have to do is to take a photo or a video then add the location and Instagram will automatically add you to the public story. I am not sure what's the reasoning behind who gets shown or not, but it's really cool when it happens. I got 100 views once from a specific London location. This also means that your story will show up (for 24 hours) when someone is searching the chosen location.   

4- Add a hashtag

A hashtag is the key to be found on Instagram and I am so excited that Instagram has added this to the story features. I have been using relevant popular tags and it's been working. For example, I used #Ramadan2017 a few times this month since I know many people are looking it up. I got a good amount of views just out of adding that. Instagram tells you how many views you are getting from a specific location or a hashtag. Worth adding for sure! 

Instagram Stories Hashtags

5- Call to action

Call to Action on Instagram

This is what makes your story shift from an individual's point of view to an engaging story. Talk to your viewers. Don't only give them orders to check links, but also attempt to have a conversation. Ask about their days, favourite activities and recommendation. It's fun to see what people have to say and it gives you a more personal view of your followers and their interests. I posted once asking people if they are interested in visiting unusual locations like Uzbekistan and after few minutes I got five responses from people who were intrigued. Not many, but it's still something!  


More Instagram posts that you might like: 

Instagram Tips and Highlights from Polkadots Passport

Instagram shadowban and how to get around it

Instagram Fully Explained 

Instagram as a Research Tool

Over to you: Do you have any ways to use the Insta stories to their fullest potential?

How to Monetise Your Travel Blog? Seven ways to make money blogging

When I tell people that I want to make it as a travel blogger, many still ask HOW. How would you live off it? How would you earn and pay bills? Well I am still asking these questions myself. I am still not making actual cash, but I did get a hotel stay for a review in the gorgeous Heritance Kandalama for example. I think that is a good start for where I am with my blog anyway. Slow and steady wins the race they say. I am still working on it and trying to dip my fingers in all the pies.

One of the things I thought might help me get some direction into HOW I could possibly monetise my travel blog was attending travel related conferences such as the World Travel Market, Blogtacular, Summer in the City by Youtube and Traverse. All were held in London. I went to their educational sessions and social media panels. I also read a lot of blogging websites and e-books such as Digital Nomad Wannabe. I learnt a lot from each and it's a matter of putting everything into motion to earn, which takes longer than you might think! 

In this post, I want to share the things I have learnt from everything on all the possible ways to make money from blogging. 

How to Monetise Your Travel Blog?

How to Monetise Your Travel Blog?

Method One for Making Money Blogging: Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are when you endorse a product or a service and add a link to them and getting a percentage. This is a very slow way, but it builds up over time. It is also known as passive income because you can make money without getting involved after posting about it. The percentage you get back can be between %2 to %8. There are many programs. Unfortunately, there is not only that for everything, so you might find yourself part of a few. I have an excel document to keep up with them! The ones I use are Amazon, Adobe, Booking.com, Itunes, Shop Style and Skim Link. If you want to find a specific one just look it up with the word Affiliate. If you want more information, watch the video below because it talks about this in details. Although it's mostly about Youtube, but all the information applies on blogging too! 

Here are previous examples I have written with affiliate links that might give you some ideas:
Santorini Hijab Friendly Look book
The vlogging camera I swear by
My travel tech kit
 

Method Two for Making Money Blogging: Brand Sponsorships

Brand sponsorships are great, but they are not easy to get especially when you are starting out, but once you have an established online presences you can start approaching brand you love or you might get lucky and be approached. The company will either pay you to represent/ mention/ use/ place/ model a product or sponsor a trip/ activity/ flight or stays. Brands usually collaborate with bloggers to reach to a new audience or to spread the awareness of their brand further. Sometimes the brand wants the information only shared as a blog post, sometimes a video and sometimes on social media. More information on how to work with brands as a blogger can be found here. 

There are some companies that connect bloggers/instagramers/influencers with brands such as the Australian company Tribe. You will have to be approved though! This was recommended to me by Polka Dot Passport from personal experience. It's an app and I just started using it. Watch their video to know more. There are other companies that appeared when I looked up similar companies such as Revfluence

Method Three for Making Money Blogging: Content Creation for others

Bloggers have trained themselves in so many skill sets and they are able to produce written and visual contents for their own blogs and others. For example, I do some freelance writing on the side and I get paid per article. There is a lot of hustling involved in this one. Sometimes you have to pitch yourself and tell the company you want to write for that you are a valuable influencer that will enhance their brand. Since I started my Youtube channel, I have had a few video making requests. Have you seen my video collaboration with Skyscanner? 

Method Four for Making Money Blogging: Providing services/e-courses

When a blogger has an audience interested in something then it's only logical to create an e-course that satisfies the markets needs and bring in a steady income that will also be considered as passive income. here are a few examples of bloggers and vloggers that created e-courses that generate an income. 

1- Normadic Mat and his various ecourses such as: travel blogging, travel vlogging and travel photography on the Super Star Blogging platform. I myself took the took the Art of Travel Vlogging e-course. I would only recommend it for complete beginners though.

2- Thomas Norman with his The Travel Video Academy
3- The Travel Hack and her Blogger course. 

Method Five for Making Money Blogging: Selling merchandise

This has worked for some bloggers or vloggers where they collaborated to sell a product like (t-shirts etc) to generate some income. Examples of vloggers who have sold merchandise: 
1- Mr.Ben Brown
2- Zoella 
3- Psycho Traveller

I feel like this method requires a lot of work and someone to actually be in one location to package orders etc. I am all over the place for this to be an option for me, but it might work for you. 

Method Six for Making Money Blogging: Writing and selling books

Blog posts are all written content, so it makes sense to turn that into an e-book. Especially if there is a a useful story or some valuable advice. If you are interested in this, I would recommend reading the book Authority by Nathan Barry. I really enjoyed reading the book and he is very encouraging. I haven't written an e-book yet though, but it is something I would love to do one day.  

Method Seven for Making Money Blogging: Speaking engagements

Speakers get paid at conferences and if you have an inspiring story to tell you will be invited or you can just pitch yourself to be a speaker. If you are a blogger or a traveller there are plenty of events you can go to such as Blogtacular or Traverse.  

As you can see most of these methods are even more work than just writing posts or making videos. Making an income is not straight forward, but some people love the challenge.  

Another amazing source of information is Video Influencers' Youtube channel

Over to you: Do you have any other methods to monetise your blog or vlog that you would like to share with us in the comments below?

Lessons I learnt from Traverse17

Last week I went to Traverse 17 and after attending the weekend sessions, I got a few useful tips that I thought I will share with you all here. 

 Photo of the Traverse 17 London Venue&nbsp;

Photo of the Traverse 17 London Venue 

Lessons I learnt from Traverse17

Traverse 17 London

This are some of the tips I learnt from the sessions I attended: 

PR YOURSELF AND YOUR BLOG – HOW TO STAND OUT THROUGH CONTENT AND CONNECTIONS
Speakers: Alexandra Delf & Susan L. Schwartz

  • When communicating with the PR team, be honest about how you feel about things.  
  • When pitching, bring new ideas to the table and be very specific on what you could provide. 
  • Have a set schedule that is clearly communicated to the PR team you are working with. For example, how long after a trip are you planning to post about the venue? 
  • When approaching the PR team for a pitch or a collaboration, be clear and give them your media kit! 
  • Media kit pointers:
    • One page concise PDF that is easy to send to a client 
    • Pictures
    • Who are you? (intro)
    • Tag lines
    • key words 
    • Add logos of people you worked with or places you stayed in even if they haven't paid 
    • Bullet points of key strengths 
    • Add interactions and feedbacks
    • Mention specific numbers 

HOW TO GAIN FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF
Speaker: Nicola Easterby

Nicola aka polka dot passport is a brilliant blogger and instagramer and she shared some of her tips with us after three years growing her audience on instagram. 

I did a whole post for this one! >> Instagram Tips and Highlights From Polkadot Passport

MONEY MAKING GAME CHANGERS
Speaker: Monica Stott

I attended a talk by Monica two years ago at Blogtacular and I found her to be very insightful. Her talk was honest and filled with tips to get people started in making money in the field of travel blogging especially that she has been a full time blogger and depending on her blog for income for a while. 

  • Charge for everything or charge for nothing

  • Set usual rates and even do packages: Video + blog post + social media 

  • Don't be scared to turn down unpaid opportunities 

  • Be clear with your deadlines 

  • Write detailed reports after collaborations to prove your influence and reach

  • Send reports to brands: After camping finishes, 2 months later, 6 months later and even 1 year later if you are tracking the reach. For example: use bitly to track links to show brands. 

  • Instead of trying to figure out your niche, ask yourself: What do you want to be the expert at? 

  • Keep on writing. You can even write 15 blogs about one destination - 1000 words each to have more content in your blog.  

  • Get you personality out there. Bloggers are different from copy writers. People want to read about people so don't just write about the facts. Write about the experience.

  • Group projects together to make the most out of your trip. 

Full Presentation slides. 

HOW TO TURN YOUR VISITORS INTO LOYAL FOLLOWERS
Speaker: Sabina Trojanova

I was very excited for this talk because of Sabina the presenter also known as Gil vs Globe. She is the creator of one of my favourite online travelling females communities Girls vs Globe. 

  • Create sharable content 
  • Be motivational 
  • Guide others and be generous with your advice 
  • Have something valuable to say 
  • Build your expertise and become an authority in your field
  • Take your audience offline and be open to arranging meet ups 

ADVANCED VIDEO EDITING WORKSHOP
Speaker: Greg Brand

This was a very cool talk about specialised video editing techniques using Adobe Premier CC such as colour grading, matching sound with video and so much more. 

  • Organise all your files before you get into Premier 
  • Create a proxy from a free software to save time 
  • Try using the "key frame" editing style 
  • Shooting flat and raw
  • You can get colour grading effects online from free softwares 

The sessions were great and had some useful gaudiness. I think the best outcome of these conferences are the connections and the blogging/vlogging friends. Content creating and digital story telling could be really lonely and having people in the same circle who share the same struggle is extremely useful. 

Over to you: Are there any other travel conferences that you loved or tried going to in London or other locations? 

Instagram Tips and Highlights from Polkadot Passport

This was on of the talks I enjoyed in Traverse 17 conference in London. 

HOW TO GAIN FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF
Speaker: Nicola Easterby

Nicola aka polka dot passport is a brilliant blogger and instagramer and she shared some of her tips with us after three years growing her audience on instagram: 

How to post on Instagram

  • Only post high quality relevant photos

  • Photo orientation should be portraits or square. They take more of the screen, which leads to better engagement 

  • Hashtag photos. Also, find official hashtags and tag for feature accounts. 

  • Post at peak times 

Tips for better photos on Instagram

  • Content is key! 
  • Shooting during golden hour 
  • Finding unique perspectives 
  • Adding a subject to your photos 
  • Having both a foreground and a background 
  • Capture a sense of movement 

Making money on Instagram

  • Sponsored post- promote something for a brand 
  • Disclosing with a hashtag 
  • Creating product into your feed to tell a story that relates to your audience
  • Gifting / Contra exchange - only good when starting but after 10k you should get paid! 
  • Instal takeovers for brand accounts 
  • Long term ambassador roles
  • Hustle hard when you are starting. You can pitch to you dream brands 
  • DM brands asking for the PR contacts 
  • Find platforms to get noticed and to find work opportunities
    Example: tribe group for influencers. 

Let's getting gramming!
You can find me on instagram on Designer Esra

Over to you: do you have any useful tips and highlights for instagram that have worked for you?