Pommie Travels is the travel blog of British girl Victoria Brewood, otherwise known as a ‘pommie’ who set off on her own to explore the world. In 2008 Victoria graduated from university and decided she would be her own boss. So she packed her journalism degree into her suitcase to work remotely and live a location independent lifestyle. Since then she has been to over 40 countries and has had some pretty epic adventures.
Pommie Travels is a useful travel resource, packed with destination advice. Victoria has been nominated for “Travel Blogger of the Year” at the British Travel Press Awards, as well as being nominated for “Best Female Blogger” in the Skyscanner ‘Bloscars’.
Easyspace recently caught up with Victoria, to ask her some questions about her life as a travel blogger:
Q1. Victoria, tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to setting up your travel website PommieTravels.com
I left university in 2008 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism but I felt a bit lost and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I saved up some money and went travelling on a 6-week trip around Australia and then did some more travelling around Europe. My boyfriend at the time was a web designer and told me all about how people make money from blogging. I started the blog in Bali, which is an affordable place to live for digital nomads. The rest is history.
Q2. What equipment/resources/tools do you use for your “mobile office” which allows you to work while travelling?
My current mobile office consists of a Macbook Pro 15″, my iPhone 6, an external hard drive, a Panasonic Lumix G6 camera and tripod. That’s about it. I recently discovered ‘Wave’ small business software for my accounting as well as this expenses app called ‘Expensify’. Hopefully that will help me keep on top of my accounting in a more efficient manner! I couldn’t live without Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere for my editing and Dropbox for cloud storage. I also bought this handy little pocket Manfrotto light from Amazon to help me take pictures of food in dim lighting!
Q3. When you first decided to try to make a living online, how long did it take you before you earned enough to live off? What mistakes have you made while trying to earn a living online, and what would you have done differently?
I started making money from my blog after a few months but I started in 2008/2009 when there were only a handful of travel bloggers around. I worked as a bartender to fund my travels and I made event videos for a place called Ku De Ta while living in Bali. Then in 2010 I finally started making enough money to live off. Like most bloggers I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from them. You should think of your blog as a shop window- what are you selling? If I could do things differently I would have spent more time creating products like ebooks and really discovering how to properly implement affiliate marketing. I would have spent more time writing and less time travelling! Sometimes it’s hard to say no to new adventures and experiences but a blog doesn’t look after itself.
Q4. How do you make money from your website?
So many people say to me ‘So you get paid to travel?’ No! However I do make money from the work I produce from that travel. I make money through advertising and affiliate links on the blog, plus some money from YouTube advertising and stock photography. Some brands have also hired me to write for them or to become their brand ambassador for bigger campaigns. I do some freelance writing, consulting- a mixture of things really!
Q5. Via your website you have worked with numerous well-known companies such as Virgin Holidays, MGM Resorts International, Holiday Inn, etc as well as tourism boards, PR companies and tour operators over the years to promote their destinations and products on Pommie Travels. How do these partnerships arise and how do you decide who to work with and how you will promote them?
Most of the brands or tourism boards reach out to me via email and then we figure out the best way to collaborate. I’m not always sure how they find me but I have an Advertise/PR page that explains the type of advertising I offer as well as a downloadable media kit. I’ve also developed a good relationship with a couple of PR companies who manage the accounts for various tourism boards and organise group trips. Occasionally if I’m planning my own trip I’ll maybe suss out the PR contact for a particular hotel or tour operator and shoot them an email. I like to work with brands I admire and would use in day-to-day life.
Q6. Your website is set up using WordPress. Why do you use WordPress and what was involved in setting it up? How hands on are you with updating the site, blog, etc?
WordPress is what most blogs and websites seem to be built on these days and it’s fairly easy to use, plus there are so many ready-made design themes out there that you can buy for a few dollars. I certainly prefer it over Blogger, which is much more limiting in its design. Everything you see on the blog has been done by me- I bought the web hosting and installed the WordPress files, purchased the WooThemes Canvas theme and customised everything. For me it’s not too difficult as I love to watch tutorials and if there are any problems, I Google how to fix them! I don’t currently employ an extra pair of hands, so I upload all the posts.
Q7. You encourage people to join your email list. What are the benefits you get from having email subscribers? How have you grown your email subscribers and how do you manage them?
Email subscribers are very important and I wish I had realised their importance much earlier on. I create a monthly newsletter and have sign up forms at the bottom of each post, as well as on various pages. A great way to encourage people to join your list is to offer a free product, for instance an ebook. I haven’t done that yet but I have run various giveaways and competitions to encourage people to sign up. I manage them using Mailchimp and I have a paid subscription for that.
Q8. Your YouTube channel currently has over 395,000 views. Why did you decide to start making YouTube videos and how does it benefit your website?
I see YouTube as the second most important search engine after Google so that’s why I started my channel. YouTubers like Zoella, Jenna Marbles and Fun for Louis are now Internet celebrities and I think people are just realising the importance of YouTube, particular with younger audiences. I studied Broadcast Journalism at university so I’ve always had the filming and editing skills. In many ways I enjoy shooting vlogs more than I do writing, so it’s a great creative outlet. While it’s more time consuming to make, video can show so much more of a destination than an article ever could. More and more brands are wanting video so it’s a valuable thing to be able to offer. I’m making a little bit of money from the YouTube advertising but nowhere near what the big YouTubers are making yet- you need hundreds of thousands of subscribers for that!
Q9. Do you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, to promote your website? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how people can use social media to promote their website?
I use all of those social networks but I treat each platform differently as they have different audience demographics. For instance, someone might really love following me on Instagram but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like my page on Facebook. I’ve had a lot of success with Twitter and I really enjoy using Instagram because I love photography. While I do share my articles on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t see it as a way to drive traffic to my website. Each social network is just a way to promote myself and my brand. If they visit my website it’s just a bonus. My main piece of advice would be to really focus on the social network you like using the most. Better to be a master of one than of none. Don’t spam your followers, just engage with them and the rest will follow.
Q10. What has been the most effective way to drive traffic to your website?
I’ve found most effective way to drive traffic to a website is through plenty of content and SEO (search engine optimisation). That is my number one tool for driving traffic. I try to select topics and titles that people would search for in Google. Despite having a large number of followers on social media, I see social media networks as entirely separate entities to promote one’s brand and I don’t think they drive much traffic.
Q11. Where does that drive to be your own boss come from? Why did you decide the life of a 9-5 employee was not for you?
Well firstly I don’t like mornings! Getting up to an alarm and commuting doesn’t sound like fun to me. I guess I don’t really like rules, so being self employed means I get to be the boss and do what I want, when I want. There’s a well known quote “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” When someone hires you as an employee, their business needs to make money, so they are making profit from your time. I would rather make money for myself, than for someone else.
Q12. What’s involved with managing your website? Describe your typical day.
When I wake up I usually check my emails- these tend to include emails from readers and emails from various travel companies. Most bloggers will tell you that emails take up just as much time as the blogging. Then my day might involve anything from writing articles and blog posts, to editing photos or uploading videos to YouTube. As a travel blogger there is no ‘typical’ day for me though- sometimes I might be sitting in the airport waiting to catch a 12 hour flight, chasing the Northern Lights or eating street food in Southeast Asia. The possibilities are endless.
Q13. What advice would you give to somebody who wants to make a living by blogging?
The blogger industry is becoming quite saturated at the moment so it’s really important to stand out from the crowd. I receive so many emails from new bloggers who say ‘I’ve quit my job and sold all my belongings to travel the world, check out my blog!’ It’s always the same story. What sets you apart? Pick a specific niche or angle that you find interesting as you’ll be writing about it a lot- if you’re not really passionate about the topic it can be difficult to maintain. Networking is really the key to blogging success.
To get your name out there I would recommend connecting with other bloggers on social media and attending blogging conferences. For instance in travel the main conferences are TBEX and World Travel Market. Take lots of business cards, chat to people in the industry, talk to PR representatives and even apply to become a speaker. Lastly, if you’re looking to make a lot of money blogging, it takes time and lots of effort so don’t quit your day job straight away. The most lucrative niches are probably fashion & beauty, relationships, health & fitness and money…not travel.
Q14. You’ve travelled to many different countries – which is your favourite & why?
That is always a tough question! If I absolutely HAD to choose I’d say Portugal just because it was the first destination I really fell in love with. It’s relatively cheap compared to the rest of Western Europe, the beaches are incredible and the seafood is delicious. However I also love the Philippines, Cambodia, Montenegro, Italy, Norway, Brazil, the USA…there isn’t one country I haven’t liked.
Q15. What are your plans/goals for the next 6 months?
I’m sure there’ll be some travel in there but I’m now based in Manchester and trying to take shorter trips. I’m really enjoying rediscovering my own city and living a more settled life. My plans are to really focus on work and growing my YouTube channel, so I’ll be uploading vlogs much more frequently. I’m in talks with a few travel brands I love and hopefully I’ll get an ebook out there, so we’ll see!
Thanks Victoria from everyone at Easyspace.
If you want to find out more about Victoria and her travel blog, then click on the links below for more info:
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