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From Wanderlust to Influencer: 3 Steps to Growing Your Travel Brand with Smarts and Style

From Wanderlust to Influencer: 3 Steps to Growing Your Travel Brand with Smarts and Style - Get Clear on Your Niche

Getting clear on your niche is one of the most important steps when starting out as a travel influencer. With over 1 billion Instagram users worldwide, the competition is fierce. Finding a specific niche and owning it is key to standing out and growing your audience.

Rather than casting a wide net as a general "œtravel influencer", identify a particular type of travel that resonates with you and that you have expertise in. This could be anything from budget backpacking to luxury hotels, cultural experiences to adventure sports. Think about not just destinations but also styles of travel, types of content, and your personal brand.

For example, Hilary Rushford built a successful niche around positivity and ethical sustainability in travel. She focuses on cultural immersion, connecting with locals, and promoting eco-friendly brands. Meanwhile, Annette White centers her brand around family travel, creating content that inspires other parents.

Take an inventory of your skills, interests, and travel experiences to date. What do you love photographing on your trips? What topics could you create tutorials or advice content around? Your niche doesn"™t have to be extremely narrow, but it should communicate what makes you unique.

Do your research to ensure there"™s demand for the niche you"™re considering. Search relevant hashtags on Instagram and Facebook groups to gauge interest. Connect with others in the niche to learn more about their content and audience.

Once you"™ve identified your niche, commit to it. Create content consistently around your chosen specialty and resist the urge to stray outside of your lane. Consistency helps you become a recognized authority.

That said, don"™t limit yourself too narrowly early on. You may find your niche evolves over time as you create content and learn more about your audience. Many influencers expand or pivot their niches years into their careers. The key is starting with a clear direction that excites you.

From Wanderlust to Influencer: 3 Steps to Growing Your Travel Brand with Smarts and Style - Curate High-Quality Content

Once you've defined your niche, the next step is curating high-quality content that resonates with your audience. In the oversaturated world of travel influencers, creating standout content is essential for growth. From photos to videos to captions, every piece of content represents your brand.

When curating content, focus on quality over quantity. Carefully choose images that are visually striking and on-brand. Invest in a good camera, lens, tripod, and editing tools. Learn photography techniques like the rule of thirds and leading lines to elevate your images. Scout locations methodically and wait for ideal lighting conditions.

Be strategic when editing. Enhance your photos but avoid going overboard with filters and presets that detract from authenticity. Add captions that provide context, tell a story, and showcase your personality.

Keep up with trends but avoid inauthenticity. For example, Christopher Kopp took the popular "wanderer above the sea of fog" shot but added his humorous twist sitting on a ledge eating Subway.

Go beyond pretty photos to also create engaging videos. Short-form video content can help you connect with your audience. Try vlogs documenting your travels or IG TV tutorials aligned with your niche. Invest in video editing skills and stabilization tools.

Always keep your audience top of mind. Jennifer Heck creates content to inspire families to travel more together. Courtney Scott focuses on budget tips for broke millennials. Think about what your niche audience wants to see, learn, or be entertained by.

Partner with relevant brands that allow you to create authentic co-branded content. Work with hotels, tourism boards, and activity companies that align with your specialty. Be upfront about sponsored content.

While high-quality content is vital, don't obsess over perfection. The occasional blurry iPhone photo in an album still adds to the storytelling. Share behind-the-scenes clips to showcase your personality. Authenticity trumps perfection.

From Wanderlust to Influencer: 3 Steps to Growing Your Travel Brand with Smarts and Style - Optimize Your Instagram Profile

Optimizing your Instagram profile is crucial for portraying your personal brand and connecting with your target audience as an influencer. From your profile photo and bio to highlights and links, every element of your profile should be intentionally curated to tell your story and engage your followers.

Start with choosing a high-quality, on-brand profile photo. This will be the first impression people get of your account, so ensure it visually represents you and your niche. The photo should feature you prominently and complement your bio description. Travel influencer Jess Whitby recommends using a consistent editing style for your profile photo to match your feed aesthetic.

Your bio is prime real estate for succinctly communicating who you are and what you do. Leanne Sims, founder of travel blog Leanne Loves, suggests "your bio should read like the back cover of a book." Include your niche, your mission, and a call to action for visitors to check out your content. Limit emojis and include relevant hashtags.

Link highlights are an often overlooked area to showcase your content diversity. Group your best photos and videos into creative, searchable highlights like "Eco-Friendly Travel Tips" or "Budget European Getaways." Organize by topic, destination, or other categories relevant to your niche.

Leverage your link in bio by linking out to important pages like your blog, online shop, contact info, and podcast. Travel influencer Oneika Raymond creates custom landing pages that mimic her Instagram profile for a cohesive experience.

Stay active by posting new content frequently, responding to comments, engaging with others in your niche, and participating in relevant hashtags and challenges. Consistent activity keeps you top of mind.

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