In our regular Member of the Month series, we love to highlight members in the Travel Blog Success community who have unique and compelling blogger stories to share. This month, we’re highlighting Jen Seligmann, who runs the blog The Trusted Traveller.
We sat down with Jen to talk about her blogging journey and her successes so far. Read on to gain insight into Jen’s story, and her top tips if you want to step up your Pinterest performance.
When you first started The Trusted Traveller, what were your goals as a blogger and traveler?
My first thought for creating a blog came almost 4 years ago now. I was feeling lost in terms of what I wanted to do with my life and thought finding a hobby might help me figure this out. It then took me 6 months to actually turn this idea into The Trusted Traveller.
With travel being my biggest passion and something I thought about almost constantly, the obvious choice was to create a travel blog. I wanted to share all the knowledge from my travels and research I had been doing for future trips. Ultimately, I wanted to help people discover some of the amazing places I had seen.
As for my goals as a traveller, I travel to places that interest me the most at the time. I don’t focus on whether a place is popular or a “hidden gem”, I go with what I think I will enjoy and get the most out of.
How have your goals changed over the past three years?
The way I travel hasn’t changed at all however over the years my blogging goals have developed as my popularity grew and I realised my potential.
My main goal is still to inspire and inform my readers. Without them we as bloggers are nothing, so I personally believe that they should always be in the forefront of our minds with every blogging decision we make.
My other main goal these days is earning money from my blog. This become important to me over the years as I started to learn about different monetisation methods and the real potential my blog actually has. While I don’t currently make enough to live off, my goal is to one day be self-employed with income from my blog and other related income streams. It’s a work in progress which I am happy to say moves closer to my goal each month.
Can you share one of the more challenging obstacles you’ve overcome as a travel blogger in building your blog as a business?
The two biggest obstacles I have faced, and still do, are time and change.
There just isn’t enough of time in each day to do everything a blogger is required to do. Producing quality content just isn’t enough. You then need to know how to market it so that the right people see it and share it.
And then the rules get changed on you, like changes to algorithms, and you are back at the beginning again trying your hardest to learn about new process and ways of working. Technology and the internet moves at such a pace it is almost impossible for a single person blog to keep up with it all. I do my best, as we all do, but it has been a real challenge for me getting my head around so many changes all the time.
When did you first hear about TBS, and how did you hear about us? When did you join the community?
I heard about TBS through another blogger, Amanda from A Dangerous Business. I recall she posted a blog that mentioned the course back in 2014 and after doing my own research, found that it was something I needed to be a part of if I wanted to take my blog to the next level.
What is the top takeaway you’ve gotten from TBS?
Access to the community has been the biggest help for me. The Facebook group (and the old forums) is invaluable. Having access to some of the brightest travel blogging minds, tapping into their knowledge and learning just by flicking through my Facebook feed has helped me greatly.
I have learnt more from TBS and the community than I could have on my own.
Your Pinterest has been really successful for your blog and traffic. Can you provide some tips for bloggers looking to grow their Pinterest presence and traffic from that source?
I got traction early on with Pinterest and credit it as my biggest blogging success. I used it long before I started blogging and I think one of the factors to my success on the platform is that I truly love using it (unlike some of the platforms which drive me mad!).
Apart from the obvious tips that I’m sure most people have read in the many Pinterest guides floating around (vertical pins with text overlay etc), here are a few things I do that I think make a real difference:
1. Pin because you want to, not because you have to.
Create boards that interest you and are relevant to what you are blogging about and then add pins to those boards that lead to information you find valuable. It is likely that your audience will find it of value too.
2. Pin your posts frequently.
Don’t just create one pin for each blog post, pin it to one relevant board you own and few group boards and then forget about it. You need to keep pinning it regularly to have a better chance of it being repined and ultimately clicked on.
I create two pins initially, pin them to relevant boards (both mine and group boards) and then 2-3 months later I will repin them to the same boards, sometime more.
And each year when I am updating my blog posts, I create two new pins to replace the old ones. This keeps things fresh and keeps your content out there ready to be discovered.
3. Tailwind Tribes!
I’ve been using Tailwind to schedule my pins since 2014 and love it. But last year when they came out with Tribes, I think it really took my Pinterest to a new level.
Basically, it is similar to Triberr but for Pinterest. You join tribes that have a theme and then add your content to those tribes and share other tribe members content in exchange. Each Tribe has different rules depending on the owner but usually you are obligated to share one pin for every pin you add. This means you don’t end up pinning things that aren’t relevant, retaining the authenticity of your boards.
One thing to note about Tribes is that not all tribes are equal. Make sure you are getting a reasonable amount of repins in return for what you put into a tribe. I usually give each new tribe two months or so to grow and then leave the tribe if it isn’t performing as well as it should be.
Let’s talk about your fear of flying. You’re up front about it on your blog, but you still keep traveling. What helps you keep pushing past that fear?
It does sound odd to say I am a travel blogger and terrified of planes but surprisingly it is very common. I think everyone who has a fear of flying but keeps doing it like me will say that it is the desire to discover new places and immerse yourself in different cultures, that makes us keep on doing it.
Do you have any tips for fellow travelers in facing fears while traveling?
I’ve tried prescription medication, herbal tablets, meditation, an online fear of flying course, distraction, even alcohol to get me through my fear but the one thing that works the best for me is mantas and mindfulness.
Just a simple manta like ‘I am calm’ or ‘I am safe’ helps to put my racing heart at ease. This coupled with some mindfulness visualisation techniques has really helped me.
And one thing I have started doing recently which helps too is to watch the faces of the flight crew when I’m nervous. If they are calm, there is honestly nothing to worry about because they do this every day and know what they are doing.
Thanks so much, Jen!
You can follow Jen on her blog, The Trusted Traveller, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
If you have additional questions, feel free to leave them for Jen in the comments.