Here at Travel Blog Success, we’re constantly impressed by the progress of fellow members.
Whether someone is building their blog from scratch and gaining traffic or they’re landing press trips and freelance assignments, we love to hear about the exciting successes in our community.
Which is why we’re launching this series — TBS Member of the Month — where we’ll be showcasing the accomplishments of amazing travel bloggers doing great things in our field.
Our very first TBS Member of the Month is Béatrice Bernard-Poulin of Eille la Cheap!
Béatrice recently landed some new freelance gigs through her blog, so we picked her brain on her recent work and how she got there.
What inspired you to get into travel blogging?
I’ve always loved to write (I studied journalism!) but struggled to keep a consistent blog.
When I graduated University, I started working in social media and realized just how important your online presence is in the communications/marketing world. So I decided to launch a new blog – and people advised me to have a “niche” to get people hooked and coming back.
I told them I just couldn’t choose what I wanted my niche to be – I love everything from travel to cooking to fashion to music – and someone suggested I write about how to do all those things without being rich, because well, I’m kind of poor myself.
Tell us about your blog Eille la cheap! What’s your niche and who is your target audience?
My blog is all about women living the life of their dreams with the budget they actually have. Too many women think they can’t afford to travel, eat in nice restaurants, have lovely pairs of shoes – I show them how to do it. Without crazy budgeting or couponing… or any effort, really.
My target audience is women 18-50 living in Quebec, Canada.
(Editor’s note: Beatrice blogs primarily in French, but you can use this handy Google Translate button if you’re looking to view it in English!)
What has been the biggest challenge in gaining traction on your blog so far?
Quebec is a really small market, and the way I write is very informal, which doesn’t really translate well in other French-speaking regions. I tried SO many things to get readers – photos of the day, posting five days a week, even launching an English-language version of the blog. It didn’t work.
No matter what I did, the market appeared to be over-saturated, and I’d come in to the game too late – there was no space for me.
Until the redesign and BlogHouse. BlogHouse was a fantastic way to pick the brains of people who’ve succeeded – and a chance to get fantastic one-on-one feedback on what I was doing wrong – and what I was doing right.
I also signed up for TBS through a link found on Alex in Wanderland & thought the lessons would help me figure out this whole blogging thing as I’d just purchased a self-hosted domain on WordPress and didn’t really know where to go from there.
I’ve actually found the webinars and the Facebook group to be most helpful: they are as good for inspiration as they are to learn new things. I also got to know the people behind BlogHouse through the TBS Facebook group.
What came first for you — freelance writing or blogging? How has blogging helped your freelance writing career, and vice versa?
Blogging came first. My aim has never been to live 100 percent off my blog – I love variety too much, that is why I freelance.
I would love for my blog to provide a bigger income, but it’s a fantastic way to get my name known and find work. I have a portfolio to show whenever I am asked, and some brands ask me to write or do other promotions in association with them because they want to be associated with my brand (aka my blog).
How did you start writing for Air Canada Vacations blog?
This is a new one! Their blog was just launched, and I got the gig because I’d entered my name into a freelance writer database for a local marketing agency.
An opportunity came up with this new blog, we met, it clicked, and now it’s online! It’s a fantastic contract.
Can you offer some advice for those who want to start writing for publications other than their blog? How did you get your first freelance travel writing gig?
My best advice (which I totally do not follow) is to pitch, pitch, pitch. If you are serious about making a living freelancing, you should pitch a story at least once a week. Before you start sending emails left and right, however, keep a few things in mind.
First, make sure you are pitching the right person.
Second, spell-check your email seven times!
And third, read the publication/website/blog.
I actually got my first travel writing gig after answering an ad in a newspaper – they were looking for reader contributions for one-page stories, and were willing to pay! I ended up doing three stories for them.
What does “success” as a travel blogger mean to you?
Out of all things I do professionally, I earn the least when I blog. But when I meet someone and they say “I love your blog!”, it is probably the most rewarding thing ever.
My blog is written from my personal experiences, with my own photos, my own thoughts, my own personality – so when someone says it speaks to them (whether they are “regular” reader or someone wanting to work with me), I feel most accomplished.
Thank you, Béatrice, for sharing your insight on travel blogging and freelance travel writing! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish, next!