The 3 Essential Marketing Strategies That Get Bloggers More Money & Traffic

Is “marketing” a dirty word?

To a lot of travel bloggers, there seems to be this strange perception that once you add marketing to your blog you are a “sell out” or you are letting your readers down. That bloggers should be “artists” producing fine work and it shouldn’t be corrupted by marketing. Some bloggers even see marketing as sleazy.

But, in actual fact EVERY professional blog does some form of marketing, even if they don’t like to use that word.

Here are some examples:

  • If you write an article about a destination, you are marketing that destination. You are typically encouraging people to visit and do the things you feature. Are you making money from doing this? We regularly do. As do most bloggers who know how to monetize. More on that later.
  • If you promote your photography and writing to companies and tourism boards in order to get free or paid trips, or write for publishers, you are “marketing” your creative services in order to make money. A portfolio is a marketing tool. The better your portfolio, the easier it is to get paid for these services. Are you marketing your freelance service in the best way to get paid?
  • If you accept sponsored posts on your blog, you are using your blog as a platform to market other people’s products & services.
  • If you share content on social, you are doing social media marketing. But most bloggers struggle to really turn “sharing” into “marketing”. That’s why we’ve enlisted top bloggers and marketers to offer proven strategies for that.
  • If you send an email to your subscribers, that’s email marketing. Again, you should be making money from email. There are both direct and indirect ways to do this.


As a blogger, you already do marketing. The question is, do you do marketing at a level that gets you a ton of traffic & revenue? Marketing is not a dirty word. Marketing is the tool pro bloggers use to promote and make money. It’s just important to learn quality, modern digital marketing, and stop associating the word with some sleazy 1980’s used car salesman stereotype.

Marketing is the language that your potential brand / tourism clients use. If you want to get paid to work with those sorts of companies, knowing how to speak their language is going to give you an edge in this competitive market.


But, didn’t some bloggers get rich and successful without using marketing?

When I hear this question, two of my favourite bloggers jump to mind. They are two of the most non-salesy bloggers out there.

Wandering Earl

I’ve been a fan of Earl’s blog since long before I became a blogger. He is simply one of the best writers in the travel blog sphere. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and he’s as friendly in person as he is in his writing.

He became hugely popular simply by writing amazing content that people wanted to share. Some say, he didn’t use marketing to get where he is today… but I say this:

He uses content marketing (he creates great content that gets people to his website – and by building an engaged audience, he has created income options). And social media marketing – people share his stuff like crazy because it’s very “shareable” stuff.

All pro bloggers, even if they weren’t marketing so much in the old days, certainly market to grow their income. Earl has a “working on cruise ships” guide – he has a number of other bloggers sell his product for him – this is “affiliate marketing”. In order to get affiliates to sell his product he has a marketing page that explains how to become an affiliate.

Is Earl marketing aggressively? Of course not. Do you have to use a more aggressive form of marketing than Earl to succeed? Not necessarily. It’s really up to you how you apply marketing to your blog.


Whether you agree that Earl’s content is really “content marketing”, Earl uses marketing in one form or another to make money from being a travel blogger. Being as that is the goal for 99.9% of people reading this post, I hope you can see that improving your marketing skills is an essential step to more travel blog income.


Jodi Ettenberg

Another top writer. Jodi is a queen of creating engaging content. She writes for a lot of major international publications and has become a huge authority in food travel.

Jodi doesn’t sit around “selling” in her blog posts. And you don’t have to either. But Jodi does use marketing to her advantage.

Jodi markets herself by using her blog as a portfolio – traffic and quality content make her someone worth hiring. And she gets hired a lot.

She also has Maps & T-shirts for sale on her site. She has a sales pages (marketing) and a link to “shop” in her menu bar (marketing). If she didn’t use marketing to make it easy to find her products, and to showcase them on her sales page, she would be far less likely to ever make sales.


One of the main goals of Jodi’s blog marketing is to get her paid work from clients. This is a great business model. Her choices about the ways she markets are defined by the core goals of her business. Defining the revenue options and goals of your business, before choosing your marketing strategy is really important. It’s something we’ll cover at this year’s Travel Blog Virtual Summit.


The Difference Between Casual Marketing & Modern Digital Marketing? Faster Results.

Both Earl & Jodi started a long time back and slowly established themselves as top names in the industry. They used a more casual approach to marketing – but are both very professional in their business dealings with clients.

Some newer names on the scene, use marketing very differently.

Examples are Sharon Gourlay (Wheres sharon), Yeison Kim (My Tan Feet), Nick & Dariece (Goats on the Road).

My Tan Feet actually turned over 1.1 million in revenue in 2016, with over 100k of that being profit – 2016 was their third full year as bloggers, before that they didn’t even know how to use wordpress.

As relative late comers to the blogging party, these blogs realised that a targeted content marketing strategy was needed to cut through the noise.

With a super crowded blogosphere, I personally believe it’s hard to make Jodi & Earl’s blog growth model successful in 2017. It worked well for a few bloggers in 2011. Good content may rise to the top, but with so much good content out there, having an edge to get your content found is necessary today in 2017, if you don’t already have the audience size Jodi & Earl do.

So Let’s look more in depth at the 3 essential marketing strategies that every travel blog looking to grow traffic and revenue, should be implementing.


The 3 Essential Marketing Strategies For Travel Bloggers

Use Content Marketing NOT Content

You may have realised by now that “content” and “content marketing” are not the same.

All bloggers create content. But the ones who make more money from content are the ones who do “content marketing’.

Content marketing is a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant content which can drive revenue.

So the key differences between content and content marketing is that regular old content simply exists to inform or entertain. But content which has marketing as a goal, is created strategically to inform, entertain and move readers or potential clients towards an action that will ultimately make you money.

This does not mean filling your blog with sales pitches. Not at all. It means continuing to write quality content, just like you do now, but having a financial purpose somewhere behind what you choose to write about.

For Jodi Ettenberg, her content’s purpose as a portfolio, get’s her paying clients (As well as a loyal fanbase who will share her content – some free social marketing). She writes the perfect content for her niche, which conveys her expertise to clients, while simultaneously engaging a large audience which she can further use as proof of success when negotiating for work.

The other element of content marketing over content is that you should actually market the content. Instead of writing journal entries about your trip, you should be creating informative, interesting or helpful posts that you can easily promote to your followers, and to the followers of bigger influencers. It’s easier said than done, but teaching this is one of the core goals of this year’s summit.

Travel blogger Sharon Gourlay has gone from amateur to a 6 figure blog income in 3 years simply by creating content that follows the principles of content marketing – high quality, informative articles that lead to sales. Unlike Jodi, Sharon uses SEO to get targeted traffic and sells directly to readers with commission generating affiliate offers. Sharon will be speaking at this year’s Travel Blog Virtual Summit about how her strategy works.

Both models work on the same principles, it’s just that the end profit method is different.


For blog content to make you money it needs to serve a profitable business goal. Plus, you need a strategy to get your content seen, so it can do it’s job. That’s why content marketing must be an essential part of every pro travel blog.

Common Concerns:

If all my articles are selling something, won’t that turn my readers off?

If you produce high quality, useful content, that really helps readers, why would they be upset about then be offered relevant products that can solve their problems and questions?

Will a few people be pissed off that a product is for sale? Maybe. But if spending all your time pleasing readers who will never buy anything is your goal, you will never make any money. So focus on people who do want to spend money instead.

I don’t have anything to sell?

There are thousands of products and services in the travel industry. If you don’t have your own books, services or products to sell yet, you can sell other people’s. Sharon makes almost all her revenue in this way – with affiliate marketing, a topic we cover in depth in our monetization course, and will discuss regularly as part of the 2017 summit.


Stop Just Sharing. Start Promoting – Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Everyone does social… but successful bloggers do strategic social marketing

When you publish an article, what is your full promotion strategy? How do you ensure your article gets thousands of readers, rather than 10? Watch this video clip. If you are not following the 30/70 method, you are letting your content die.

So, it’s time to build a social media marketing plan. Get influencers to share your stuff. When you release content, contact relevant companies with big social presence and get them to share too. Write less posts and spend more time promoting, so the content you do produce get’s better results.

Janet’s full 1 hour talk covers a full set of options for promoting in unique ways that most bloggers aren’t utilising.

Pre-Register Now And Get More Clips From Our Guest Speaker Talks


Don’t Just Send Monthly Newsletters, Start Email Marketing Like The Pros

Do you have an email list? Do you make money from it? With a targeted email list you could be making $2 profit or more, for every person that subscribes.

It’s simple maths. If you provide the right offers, to the right subscribers, and 5% (a typical sales rate on a targeted list) of your subscribers buy a product worth $40 in commission per sale then you make $200 per 100 subscribers. That’s $2 per subscriber. Now, you just need more subscribers, right? More on that later.

But, for most travel bloggers, they have an email list that makes them no money – or no list at all. Why is that?

The simplest use of email marketing is the newsletter broadcast. Sending out updates weekly or monthly about the latest posts on your site. For most bloggers who have an email list, this is pretty much all they do with their email list.

Statistically, readers won’t click through all the articles in your round up. They might click one.

If you are sending general info to a general subscriber list, you’ll need a lot of subscribers in order to make money when you send out offers. Plus if those offers are buried half way down your newsletter, it’s way too easy for users just to miss them and read one of the shiny articles instead.

Plus, with monthly broadcasts, it may take a month from the day a user signs up until they even hear from you. By which time they may have forgotten why they signed up!

So, what is the more effective alternative to newsletters?

Well, the way to make money and engage readers with email follows a simple process, yet very few travel bloggers ever bother to implement it.

Guest speaker Richelle Gamlam set up her first targeted, automated email list in 2016 and within 5 months she was making $600 a month, consistently and on autopilot – yes, its all automated once set up – no more writing monthly broadcasts.

PLUS That’s on a small blog with 20,000 visitors a month. Do you get traffic like that? Or more? If you are not using email marketing to make money, you are wasting your traffic. Even with half the traffic, she would still be making money. That’s why it’s so crazy that small blogs choose to persist with making $0 a month from newsletters, rather than setting up a simple email campaign.

An email sequence like Richelle’s can be setup in a matter of hours. Every user who signs up gets the emails automatically, in the order you set. They get them one at a time, spaced out, so they get the info they want and you engage them straight after signing up. This process not only generates revenue more effectively than random newsletters, it also engages more as it’s targeted and perfectly timed.

Here is a simple process for designing an email sequence that makes money:

1. Choose a popular article on your blog that already gets traffic
2. Identify the target audience of that post – what are there interests, needs and problems.
3. Identify products (affiliate products perhaps) that would be useful to that target audience
4. Create an opt in form and incentive which offers a specific sign up bonus, like a cheat sheet or mini guide, that would be super useful to visitors reading that post.
5. Create a short email sequence that first offers value (like useful info on the topic), but then eventually recommends the product as something that could help the reader.
6. Monitor and tweak
7. Make commissions from those sales.

This is just one option – there are others.

We use Convertkit email marketing platform because it’s designed specifically for bloggers and is 100 times better than mailchimp. You can get a free 30 day trial with our link if you want to check it out.

The process is simple. Knowing how to implement it is of course, more complicated – for beginners some of the above terms may also be unfamiliar. Which is why we have an entire module on email marketing for travel bloggers at this year’s summit. From novice to pro. Exactly how to setup a profitable email list that people want to subscribe to.

Common concerns

I don’t know what to sell?

This is exactly why identifying your target audience is so important. Once you know your audience, you can search out what they want to buy. You don’t have to have an audience yet in order to figure this out. You can plan your blog content around the audience you want to reach, rather than the audience you have (This comes back to “Content Marketing”).

I don’t even have 100 subscribers yet?

We hear ya. Starting out is hard. But, if you have even moderate traffic to your site, it’s possible to convert 3% or more each day, into subscribers using good opt-in forms and incentives. That’s why we enlisted Syed Balkhi, 7 figure business owner and CEO of OptinMonster, to speak at this year’s summit – He’ll get you on track to getting way more subscribers out of your current traffic.

Pre-register now and we’ll send you a part of Syed’s talk for free as well as some other training lessons from guest speakers.

So, How will you grow your blog traffic & revenue this year?

In this year’s Travel Blog Monetization Virtual Summit we’ve broken down these 3 essential marketing strategies into 3 modules.

Each module runs from foundation to advanced and features expert talks from Travel Bloggers & Digital Market Pros. These are the strategies that are working today and can be applied to your travel blog to help turn it into a full time business that can support your preferred travel lifestyle.

Pre-register free for more details, discounts and video training lessons from some of our guest speakers.