The following words of a study colleague in tourism recently reached me concerning the “Relevance of Blogs in Tourism“: Dear Elena, I’m studying tourism management in Vienna and am currently writing my final Bachelor thesis. The topic is “The relevance of blogs in tourism”. Since I am very interested in social media and blogs and also have a background in tourism through our family business, I would like to ask experts from the tourism and advertising sector, as well as the perspective of influential bloggers in terms of cooperation. My supervisor, Christian Lendl, gave me your contact and recommended me to check out your blog. Are you happy to participate in an interview on the above topics? You would help me a lot with my work.
I am looking forward to your answer!
Best regards, Jil
I love e-meeting people, and particularly students, like that. Almost every month, young, motivated students contact me with questions about influencer marketing, professionalization of the (travel) blogger scene, creative tourism and much more. I am happy to answer their expert interview questions and would like to share some of them today with Jil’s permission (you can track the results of her work by contacting her here: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Elena, what’s the name of your blog and since when do you run it?
My blog, https://www.creativelena.com, is a bilingual travel blog in both German & English (I speak a total of seven languages fluently, my social media communication is actually in all of those seven languages!). I started my blog in 2012; so “Creativelena” is actually six years old now, almost ..!
Why? What’s your background? Your motivation? Your goals?
In July 2011, I started my own business and already knew that I needed a “company website”. Due to my many (business) trips, my participation in numerous congresses and professional tourism training events, I knew from the beginning that this would not be a static website. Inspired by some first (international travel) bloggers I met at the time, I decided to have my website as a (travel) blog, which would revolve around my current experiences, travel tips and professional insights: In my “project space“, I share insights about professional issues within the travel industry, in my category “travel blog“, I talk about my experiences, tips, and ideas on trips around the globe. Goals and motivation are closely linked: My readers and fellow human beings inspire me to see the world a bit more colorful, rich and positive every day, and it is my mission to also introduce the people I’ve met traveling who, in turn, have contributed to this bright world vision of mine.
Do you run your blog as your main business, or do you work on it part-time?
Absolutely full-time and as a central pillar of my entire professional communication. I always say, my blog is my “digital business card” and my “creative playground” at the same time. It is wonderful to be able to communicate both authentically and personally, as well as being professionally relevant: In this gift, I think, lies my greatest happiness in life! Sounds cheesy, but that’s the way it is for me 😉
Do you work with other authors on your blog?
I employ about half a dozen guest authors on my site, but I only work with them from time to time. Out of 1.200 published articles on my blog, about 60-70 have been written by guest authors. It is simply a segment that I have not yet greatly expanded, but one that definitely has more potential for me in the future.
What’s your main content and where is the focus of your blog?
My blog focuses on the three axes of “Creative Travel“, “Food Travel“, and “Traveling with the locals“. Many times, however, these topics overlap. When traveling, I like to get the kind of inspiration that lies at the heart of an active cultural exchange, for example in the form of photo walks, food tours, painting, herbal or wine seminars, etc. It is wonderful to be able to learn so much while traveling: not just about the host country or guest culture, but above all, about yourself. All of this, then, is reflected in my writing, my pictures, my videos and my thoughts shared online.
What’s your target group / readership / reach?
My target group grew slowly and organically. After all, I have not (yet) invested any paid advertising in my blog over the years, currently averaging around 5.000 unique readers per month. Across all social media channels, there are another 10.000 to 15.000 subscribers. For me as a blogger, this fits perfectly, both in terms of numbers as well as feedback cycles. If you want to know more, here is my current media kit: https://www.creativelena.com/en/contact-elena-paschinger/media-kit-pr/.
Which other Social Media channels do you use besides the blog?
What is your blog’s USP?
Creative travel. As in, I do not know any other (travel) blog that has such a strong niche focus on “creative travel”. That honestly makes me a little proud! Many of my work commissions are now in this area, too; I have also written and published a book on this topic, which is very important to me: https://www.creativelena.com/en/my-book/.
Why do you work together with other organizations (and vice versa)?
Because first and foremost, it is fun to advise them and thus to step in for a better understanding and communication of “organizations” (in tourism, marketing, social media etc.) and bloggers. And of course, to earn a living. However, I find that money comes and goes: building sustainable, better relationships in business and private life is, in my opinion, what really matters.
How relevant are cooperations for you?
Very important. As I said, as a self-employed entrepreneur I create my main sources of income from mutually beneficial partnerships, thus (successful) cooperations are truly vital for me.
How do you go about working together? What are the steps involved?
Most of the time, it’s due to previous personal contacts. After so many years of being self-employed, people now mostly reach out for me. I hardly ever had to do cold calls: A wonderful feeling that every entrepreneur / blogger will be able to confirm.
What are your criteria for selecting professional partners (also bloggers) to work with?
I am fortunate that my closest blogging partners are pursuing exactly the same goals and values as myself: To be authentic, reliable, professional, and flexible. Respect and manners (especially in the digital age) are most important to me – far from the absolute numbers or reach of a cooperation partner or blogger. I have to trust my partners (bloggers), otherwise there is no form of cooperation for me.
What are the main advantages of working together?
Alone you may be strong, but together, you will definitely reach further!
What are the main challenges, issues and problems there?
I hardly see any disadvantages, really! If I had to name any, I’d say time management, coordination of “egos”, annoying and sometimes time-consuming coordination between all parties, etc. But that’s part of the game – and honestly is what my work is all about, in some way, too! I try to make it fun, and most of time, do succeed in it, too.
(How) Do you measure success?
Yes, absolutely. I think that this is absolutely necessary for the sustainability of professional relationship management. In other words, after every kind of cooperation / campaign, we do a numerical and content-driven evaluation for everyone involved, both from and for us bloggers, and for the organization commissioning us. It is very important for me to be able to give a personal, final presentation, where we all have the opportunity to clarify all questions and present the success of a campaign satisfactory for all.
How does it pay into your brand, your blog, your work?
Awareness, reliability and trustworthiness are increasing and can quickly lead to more ideas for cooperation, referrals, new assignments, etc. I also tell “the young ones” again and again: Everything you do creates a reference. Everything. Just. Everything. It is up to you to make this reference positive, so that you can receive further commissions, cooperations, contacts, etc.!
What is your recipe for success? Do you follow a particular strategy?
Yes, absolutely. My strategy is to continue to develop what I am best at, both in terms of the society that surrounds me, as well as my own time and development. For me, this always includes critical self-reflection: Are the projects, areas of work, or cooperation partners still suitable? Does the way I lead my blog fit? What do I want to change, what do I want to maintain? What is my long-term strategy and goal, both on a private as well as on a professional level? Etc. etc. I believe that good and successful entrepreneurs are always, with one eye, focused on the “tasks at hand”, and with the other on the mid- to long-term future. Not to lose sight of either two, is what I strive for in my daily life. People who succeed there, are real role models for me.
Has there been a particularly positive, or negative, experience from working together with other bloggers in recent years?
Many of my collaborations are considered successful or very successful. In my nearly seven-year entrepreneurial journey, I have not had a single, colossal negative experience, which makes me really, really happy! I love, and make sure, that every participant and “employee” in a campaign I run, can unfold in ideal ways and let their talents run wild. This feeling of creating these basic conditions is my greatest entrepreneurial pleasure, as well as the recommendation to all partners with whom I work with year after year!
Thank you so much, dear Elena, for taking the time to answer my questions!
Thank YOU, dear Jil, for making me think (and share) what this particular #LifeOfATravelBlogger is, or can be, all about!
You can read more here:
- “So how do you make money out of this?” The #LifeOfATravelBlogger as it is
- #STSKitzbuehel Social Travel Summit: Improving Rleations between Travel Publishers and the Travel Industry in Kitzbuehel, Austria
- Keeping Blogger Relations fresh: #CreativeTravel, Social Media Marketing & Networking #inCostaBrava.