“You’ll be amazed at the value you create.” During my participation in this year’s World Travel Market session on “How to measure the Return On Investment of travel bloggers”, I learn of an animated discussion to secure the monetary value of what exactly means x amount of tweets published by x amount of bloggers. How do destinations wishing to work with (professional) travel bloggers go about justifying the sum invested into bloggers?
“Travel bloggers are writers first”, writes Oliver Gradwell. Besides, travel bloggers are also SEO & marketing specialists, publishers, speakers and Social Media savvy online journalists. So how do you facture it all in?
One interesting issue that Melvin Böcher, of Traveldudes.org has come up with, is that travel bloggers still sell far below their value, be it the value of CPM for advertisement space on their blogs or correctly charging for their (publishing) work. Part of the problem is that so far, no real accounting model seems to fit in a market that is, on top of it all, still evolving rapidly. Together with Keith Jenkins, of VelvetEscape Travel Blog, they have developed an Online ROI Calculator that looks at closing the gap. Its aim is to integrate the exact number of readers on any viral output – something that online travel media wins over traditional media, a fact that might well become its single most important competitive advantage in the nearby future.
Every blog has a different value, no matter how small it is.
Niches are important! So we are told. A niche blog may perhaps have less, but better targeted readers – something partners in the travel industry are looking for in a cooperation. In addition, Tweet, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook impressions may well add up to millions of impressions including feedback in real time “as you post/go”. No other media can do that.
People literally follow travel bloggers on various channels, and industry panel members confirm during the London discussion that “there’s a huge amount of value for that”. It is even recommended that travel bloggers should include case studies in their media kits of followers immediately talking about a photo shared by the blogger on Facebook. Or of tweet feedback claiming real intention of travelling by fans. Ultimately, this is exactly what travel destinations are looking for in justifying the expenditure of working with travel bloggers.
“Search ‘Travel Bangkok’, and you will get results by people you are already connected to.”
As online search engines are increasingly incorporating Social Media in their results, “bloggers lead the way”, concludes Keith Jenkins in his talk, “cause they are already doing it.” 80-90% of users do their (travel) research online, i.e. on websites and social media channels, with only about 5% claiming to look at blogs. However, with blogs being incredibly dynamic, they “show up really well in search engines”: Contrary to users’ ideas that “blogs are personal diaries written for family and friends”, they become relevant as professional and appealing websites offering travel resources, news and photography / videography to any interested traveller.