Becoming a travel influencer on Instagram and/or other social media platforms is more attainable than many people think. What it comes down to is your passion and whether you have the drive to build a social media presence and whether you are able to generate engaging content.
Now, I wont’ start off by saying that if you’re ready to become a travel influencer that you need to immediately quit your job so that you can travel the world. If that is something that you’re wanting to do then go for it, but it is not something that is required. There are plenty of successful travel influencers that still work full time jobs – it just comes down to flexibility.
If you’re ready to begin your journey of becoming a travel influencer to share your travel experiences, there are a few things that you’re going to need to know and some things that you’re going to have to do begin. Even if you already have followers on social media and have established a presence as an influencer already, you may still need to cross some things off the list to become a travel influencer.
Influencer marketing is a space where you have to do your due diligence, and in this post, I’m sharing some key steps that you’ll want to take to begin your journey of becoming a travel influencer so that you can live your passion and travel around the world.
HOW TO BECOME AN INSTAGRAM TRAVEL INFLUENCER
PICK YOUR Unique NICHE
The first thing that you need to do when you are thinking about becoming any type of influencer is to narrow down your niche. Now, you may be thinking “Well, isn’t my niche travel?” And yes, that is part of your niche, but you need to “niche-down” within the travel niche to define what type of content you’ll be sharing and to identify your unique story that you’ll be telling through your content.
Maybe you’re going to showcase nomad travel or maybe you’re going with something more on the luxury side of traveling. But, what I always suggest when trying to find your niche is to identify what niche is sustainable and will take your brand and influencer business far and what niche can you kick off with tomorrow with photos and video that you may already have.
If you’ve traveled to any location before, whether it be domestically or internationally, look at your photos and see what type of niche those photos could fit in to help you be able to start generating content immediately. For example, if you have photos that show nature and adventure, maybe you want to focus on starting your niche with adventure travel and grow from there.
You may have the space and ability to shift you niche later, but it isn’t something that is always highly recommended. So focus on settling on a niche as a travel influencer that you’ll love being in for years to come.
Establish Your Brand ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Whether you’re specifically looking to be a Instagram travel influencer or if you’re ready to take on the various social media platforms and a blog, you’ll need to begin establishing your brand on social media. If you already have channels where you have a good following and have already began sharing content in the niche that you have chosen, keep building from there. You can always shift your handle later. An additional aspect to consider, and it’s something that many other established influencers have done when they are entering the travel influencer space is to create a dedicated travel Instagram account if their already established account is in a different niche. But if you’re new and haven’t generated any buzz on social media platforms, you’ll want to pick a handle and begin creating content on the various social media channels with any content that you may already have and content that you can create in some of the local areas around you. You want to make sure that your social media feed shows the travel aspect clearly. Even if you are someone who is including travel in your lifestyle content or showcasing fashion through travel, your feed should clearly show that travel is a part of the content that you create.
Established influencers who are getting sponsored partnerships on Instagram or partnering with tourism boards did not just start getting these type of partnerships without having anything established on social media. Brands look at social media platforms and blogs as resumes so that they can view what type of content that they will be getting out of the partnership and whether it matches what they are looking for.
CREATE Engaging CONTENT
As you begin creating content, you want to make sure that the content that you are creating is engaging. Will people who are viewing your photos or videos want to keep watching or see more from you? Will they like the post or even comment on it? Is it something that evokes feeling or the want to travel to that same place? Consider the type of content you see on your Instagram feed that makes you stop scrolling and want to watch the Instagram Reel or read the caption.
When brands and tourism boards are looking to work with travel influencers, they are looking to see whether that influencer can generate engaging content. Their goal, at the end of the day, is to have people visit their locale to boost their economy, because when people visit, people spend money, and that’s what they want and need. So when you see micro influencers getting invited onto press or FAM trips in comparison to macro or mega influencers, it, most likely, comes down to is that the influencer that they are choosing are creating engaging content that the brand wants.
MAKE IT SHAREABLE
Another aspect about creating engaging content is making your content shareable and worth sharing. For the most part, when you post something on social media and/or you blog, it’s able to be shared or saved for later. The algorithm in most of the social media platforms sees posts that are being highly shared and saved as valuable posts and tend to push those out more. When the post gets pushed, that’s a better opportunity for you to grow your community and even get the attention of brands our tourism boards that may want to work with you.
DEVELOP A Media Kit
As a travel influencer, or any type of influencer, you’ll need to have a media kit. The media kit is what any brand or tourism board will ask for in order for them to see what platforms you are on, your analytics, and to learn more about you. There are a variety of aspects that you’ll add to your media kit as you develop one and then more aspects as you grow. But what I do recommend to travel away from is using a media kit that is generated by another platform as those, in some cases, can be unreliable and you may often forget to update it or relink your platforms when the API key expires.
If you don’t have a media kit or you are looking to update yours, check out my ultimate guide on creating a media kit where I break down exactly what to put on your media kit and provide a downloadable template for you to use.
CREATE A Bucket List OF IDEAL DESTIONATIONS
While considering your niche and the places that you want to go to, create a bucket list of destinations that you would want to go to that you can start pitching and connecting with. This list will work for you as somewhat of a business plan so that you can keep yourself focused as to who you are pitching and what goals you want to hit throughout the year.
When starting out as a travel influencer, aim to work with your local city and metropolitan area and then expand out to areas within your state and then begin pitching domestic locations. Domestic cities and states enjoy working with local travel influencers because the influencer is able to tell the story from a local perspective and get those who are local to the area to travel there as well – especially when people can’t always commit to taking a long tip on a plane or train. Tourism boards also like working with local influencers because the investment isn’t as high as influencers who are out of the state. In most cases, especially within the travel niche, the tourism board and brand will cover all expenses including flights, but that comes out of their budget. So if they are looking to maximize that budget, they may seek local influencers or influencers who will cover their transportation.
GROW TO INTERNATIONAL BRANDS
International brands can be a little harder in securing partnerships especially if you’re just starting out and looking to get the entire trip covered. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, but you’ll most likely need little more clout behind you and offer a little more than other influencers may. International tourism boards takes on a big expense when bringing influencers into their country because they are covering flights, transportation, meals, experiences, accommodations and, in some cases, travel fees. With that in mind, they typically establish a list of requirements that the influencer should meet for them to even entertain the possibility of an all expense paid press trip.
If you’re looking to go international sooner, you may have to take a little more time and work with individual brands, hotels, restaurants, and tours instead of having everything arranged by the tourism board. Also, one thing to keep in mind, is that not all tourism boards are able to cover flights. They may have flight partners who they can send you information over to for additional coverage, but it is not guaranteed. So if you are set on going to a place, you may have to weigh whether you are able to cover the flights. P.S. This would be a great time to invest in getting a travel credit card to stack up those flight miles. Even if you don’t pay, some tourism boards and brands will use your membership number so you still get the miles.
Connect WITH OTHER TRAVEL INFLUENCERS
Collaboration is also the name of the game when it comes to being a travel influencer. Many of the top travel influencers that have gotten to where they are today, started out with connecting with others in their niche to collaborate and learn from. You can connect with other travel influencers through travel influencer groups online and on social media such as in Facebook groups. In some cases, you’ll find other influencers who have been engaged to go on a press trip and are allocated a plus one and they are looking for someone to join. In that case, you can make a connection and possibly head on that trip with that individual to make a connection with the brand, add a tourism board to your media kit of who you have worked with, and have the ability to create engaging content to post on your social media channels.
JOIN Travel Influencer NETWORKS
Though it’s not the most reliable way to get engaged in social media partnerships or connect with brands for press trips, travel influencer networks are great to join, but mostly to be able to connect with other influencers while also being on the PR list for when an opportunity arises for you to apply for.
There are a variety of different influencer networks out there and some are better than others. I always suggest that you pick a few to start with and then branch out, as needed, from there.
CREATE A Pitch STRATEGY
One of the best ways of making connections with tourism boards and travel brands is to develop a strong pitch strategy. When you are first starting out, you won’t have a lot of tourism boards and brands coming right to you to offer you press trips and sponsored partnerships, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t secure any. Rule of thumb is to not always wait for someone to pull out the chair at the table for you, you have to work to get yourself to the table and pull out your own chair. Get your self invited!
Your pitch strategy comes down to having a strong pitch and a developed way of finding the right people to pitch and pitching them at optimal times. When you pitch a location, make sure that you are sharing how you are going to show their locale in a unique way. What you don’t want to say is that you’re going to arrive to their part of the world and visit and take photos and videos. That’s what everyone is doing and that is already what they are expecting you to do. What you should be putting in your pitch is the story that you’re going to tell within the niche that you are in and how it is different than content that may have already been created for them in the past.
FOLLOW AND Engage WITH TRAVEL BRANDS AND TOURISM BOARDS
One of the final tips that I am going to give is that you need to be following and engaging with tourism boards and brands on social media. No matter whether you’re on Instagram, have a YouTube channel, create videos on TikeTok, or you dub yourself a travel blogger with a strong travel blog, you need to make sure that you are connecting with the brands and tourism boards to show your authentic interest in the location or the brand. The media reps at the travel destinations, when you pitch them, tend to look at your social media profile and see whether you are actually interested and match with their location. Additionally, if your name is brought up in conversation about possible travel influencers to bring on a press trip, the individual who runs the social media platform, if that person is different, may even second your name because they have seen you engage with them on social media already.