Believe me when I say, I get it. I feel the pain 100%. All trips and contracted work has come to screeching halt.
Our websites are being battered each day, we actually OWE money to affiliates for cancellations and the outlook is grim.
Campaigns are cancelled, virtually no money is coming in .. what do you do?
Stay positive. We can work through it.
Here are 11 things you can do during the outbreak
First and foremost, we are all taking a hit right now. Figure out how you can support others.
Whether it is through sharing posts on social media, helping them with things they don’t know how to do, engaging posts, easing burdens in whatever capacity we can, etc.
I have a link posted on Twitter where you can share a blog post and I will read it. Hoping others will too, since it is the nice thing to do.
In addition – if you need help with something or have a question, just send me a DM on Instagram and I will see what I can do.
Be kind to yourself
This is something that is out of our control. We need to take each day in stride.
I know most of us are without work and a paycheck, but please be kind to yourself. If you want to eat pizza, eat it. Love cookie dough? Great, eat it. Need someone to talk to? send me a DM – I have nothing but time right now.
I will listen.
Talk to your audience
Whether you are active on one channel or 20 – talk to them. It’s a confusing time for everyone. None of us know what to post, what to say, anything – we are just hoping to ride this out.
Now is a great time to connect with your audience and let them know your hardships. Social media has created this bubble of filtered perfection and people look at us like we have no problems in the world. They have seen you at your best – and now let them see an unfiltered side, of what could be your worst.
You do not have to sugar coat anything to your audience. They will respect you for being relateable.
And I get it – everyone wants to continue their lives as usual. I know there are a lot of weddings, babies, house buying, engagements, you name it.
I posted today on Instagram and it was not travel related – and a lot of people messaged me thanking me for NOT trying to promote travel.
Believe me when I say, it may be a distraction right now for people to continue seeing beautiful destinations, designer handbags, etc – but eventually if this gets worse, it will no longer be an escape for them. It will turn to sadness and anger.
Don’t isolate your audience right now.
If you can’t find the words, say that. None of us know what to say and are just trying to do whatever we can.
Start a blog
In the past I have been very preachy about having more than one channel in case one of them would end for some reason. In retrospect, I didn’t look far enough ahead to predict a situation quite like this.
However, if you are a brand with an audience on any platform, you should branch out and have multiple channels. Now is a great time to start writing about your trips, packing guides, anything you have done in the travel space.
Let your audience(s) know. A lot of people are sitting at home right now and don’t know what to do. There is absolutely no shame in planning for the future.
Pro tip: it feels a bit insensitive to actually promote travel right now. So if you do start a blog, I would just let your audience know to sign up for your newsletter or let them know you have a link in your bio. Personally, I would not try to push travel for the time being. BUT you can be ready when things clear up.
If you think about it, a lot of people work 8-10 hours a day. We are now sitting at home doing whatever we do with probably no work. Use those 8-10+ hours and write. You will be shocked by what you can get done.
I use WordPress for all three of my blogs and love the layout. It is very user friendly.
IF you already have a blog, why not start a niche blog or secondary blog? I have two additional blogs I have been working on for a few months and hope to see them thrive in the coming year or two.
Bonus: brands and destinations love bloggers. When you have multiple channels, you have multiple ways to monetize!
Work on updating old content.
If you don’t know SEO, now is a great time to learn it. Although I want to be completely honest – a lot of us took a huge hit when Google did core updates last year and we are competing against them and large travel brands now.
We are also taking a bigger hit from the impacts of this.
However, that doesn’t mean you should not work on it – just write the article better, find more unique keywords and longer keywords. You can write content and get it out there to start ranking on Google.
*I do want to say in the same breath, it feels a bit cheap to actually promote travel right now. So if you do update posts, I don’t know if I would promote them on social media. Not right now anyway.
A great group to join on Facebook is: Make Traffic Happen. You can ask questions there, take their courses (which are great by the way) and just browse the threads for information. It’s truly a great resource!
I am by no means an SEO expert, but I love that group because I have learned so much.
I read blog after blog about “how I grew my Pinterest to 1 million VIEWS.” Views don’t mean anything if they don’t convert to actual clicks.
Here is a couple tips about Pinterest:
- It is unlike most platforms and followers aren’t the key to your success – so you don’t need to shake people down for a follow
- Views do NOT equal traffic – focus more on clicks than actual views
- Pinterest is like Google in its own way, and is a search engine.
I am not a Pinterest master – but I do get about 60,000 page views a month on my blog from it, so that is something.
Here is what I know – you should optimize your boards (something I am working on), learn to put keywords and hashtags in your pins and make sure you have pins on your blog that people can pin when they read it to save it.
You could spend days online learning tips and tricks on Pinterest. I know I plan to dig deeper into this because there is no reason I shouldn’t have 100K+ monthly blog clicks from the platform.
If you have already mastered Pinterest – now would be a great time to stock pile new pins. This is one of those tedious tasks that get away from us.
My tip about creating pins: I batch make them for each post. I will do 1,2 and 4 photo layouts, and just use all the same images from my post. So in total, I usually make about 10-30 pins for each new blog post and keep them in a folder.
*I don’t know if pins will perform that well right now. My traffic is down.
Work on your media kit
When this does settle, the travel industry is going to need a lot of help and work will restore in time.
Companies are going to want to hire great people to promote their destinations. Have your media kit perfected before this time comes. You can make FREE media kits on Canva and there is a wide range of templates or you can build your own. But make it yours.
Just know, pretty much every campaign has been shut down, so for the first time, everyone is going to need work at the exact same time. Make yours stand out.
Perfect your pitch letter
I want to say upfront, now may not be the time to be pitching travel brands because they are suffering as much as we are. If they reach out to you, that is a different story.
One of my top tips for pitching brands is not to make it about me. Because the reality is, it’s not. My job is to create content that inspires people to want to visit their destination.
In that breath, I want to create a pitch that offers more than 1-2 Instagram posts. When I reach out, I offer a well rounded pitch that hits most, if not all, of my platforms in some way.
Open a TikTok account
Honestly, I am sick of people saying they are “too old for TikTok.” I see 90 year olds THRIVING there.
When Victoria from Followmeaway, got me to sign up, I was confused at first but she showed me the way. Honestly, it is a great way to share anything. It does not have to be travel.
You can sit there and tell jokes, cook, dance, do voice overs, whatever – it is an open platform that gets at least three hours of my time everyday.
If you are using it for travel, I use these hashtags: #foryourpage #fyp #feature #foryou #tiktoktravel – AND if you just hit #, trending hashtags will pop up and you can select any.
Work on your e-book
The best part about an e-book is that it is digital.
You can create an e-book on Amazon for free, if you want. You can also self publish it there.
AND it doesn’t even have to be about travel. My friend Amy from Twodrifters wrote a relationship e-book and it only took her about three weeks. Imagine if you dedicated a week or two to writing about whatever you want and then being a self published author.
You can do anything. And I will tell you – I recently read Girl on Fire – by Cara Alwill Leyba and she talks at length about this and how she was a success.
BONUS: it is FREE right now on Amazon for Kindle download.
Figure out how you can support your local economy and travel partners when this passes
Believe me, people are going to be needing promotion from reputable people in the coming months/year(s).
Sit down and make your list of brands and places you enjoyed working with. There are some brands I will be promoting at no cost locally to help stimulate travel back to my city.
I also need to make money like everyone else, so I will be taking on paid campaigns as well. Obviously I want to help as many people as fast as I can, in whatever way that I can.
I have already created a list of people I am planning to work with and people I want to email, but only once things are ok to do so.
*Please do not inundate brands right now as everyone is being impacted by this.
Plan to circulate old content
When things are ok and I feel comfortable promoting travel again – I will fill up my Buffer account with tweets to blogs of all the places I love and have written about to help them in any way that I can.
Same for Pinterest. I will be pushing out pins for destinations, hotels and brands that I have worked with as soon as I feel comfortable doing so.
Personally I won’t be charging for this (but that is up to you) – I am keeping it on Pinterest and Twitter as to not clog up my other channels, but it is something. This is how I am giving back to my wonderful partners that I have collaborated with before this happened.
Pin for Pinterest: