So You Wanna Be a Travel Creator…
When I first wanted to be a travel creator/travel influencer I had so many questions. I hope these give you the clarity 2019 Alexa was also looking for.
One year ago, on May 13th, 2022, I quit my full-time job in pursuit of my dream of becoming a travel content creator. It was quite the leap of faith. I had so many questions, with not many answers. Yet, I still attempted to navigate through this crazy world of self-employment and content creation.
So in honor of my one year, I want to share a FAQ answering some of the most frequently asked questions about my travel creator journey.
Q: How do you film your content?
I film all of my content on my iPhone 12 Pro Max in 4k 60 fps or 30 fps. And I shoot all my photographs on a Sony A7iii with a 35 mm lens. All of my gear is linked here.
When I'm traveling solo, I utilize a tripod to help me create my content which is also linked to my gear.
Q: How do you edit your content?
I edit all my short form videos in CapCut. I also record all my voiceovers in CapCut. And I edit my photos in Lightroom.
Q: Do you pre plan the videos and photos you want to take?
Yes and no! I try to get inspired before I get to the destination, but I can't make the magic until I'm at the location in mind. Though, I do like to wear outfits that have complementing colors to the places I visit so I really pop in my content.
Q: How do you earn income while traveling the world?
This is probably my most frequently asked question! Income will depend creator to creator but majority of mine stems from brand partnerships. I work with companies like tourism boards, hotel brands, and airlines to create high quality short-form video content that they can use across a stretch of different social media outlets.
Another way I earn income is through affiliate commission. One of my biggest income contributor is from Amazon, where I earn commissions off different products I share via social media and on the Amazon Website.
Q: Okay, so how do brand partnerships work?
Here's how it usually works, a brand or an agency representing a brand will reach out to me regarding a paid opportunity. In this email, they'll typically introduce the campaign, provide a few details, and indicate what deliverables would be required of this campaign.
Next we have the negotiation stage. Sometimes brands will indicate what budget they have for the campaign, and ask you if your rates fit within. But most of the time, brands will ask you to provide your rates for the specific deliverables. There's often some negotiation here to come to a mutually beneficial rate for both you,the creator, and the brand.
Once a rate is agreed upon (as well as other factors like posting timeline), then you make the partnership formal by reviewing and signing the contract. Once you've signed, you create that content and then typically submit it for reviews. Once it's been approved, you'll post the content to social media, send post insights, and get your invoice to the brand.
Q: So how do brands choose influencers/creators for projects?
I'm not on the brand side, so I can't tell you exactly but each campaign has different KPIs and goals. But overall, brands are looking to partner with creators who can create high quality, well edited, and very engaging content that can be posted or pushed out widely.
Q: How can I make myself more attractive for brand partnerships?
Work on the quality of your content I think what sets apart a creator is their ability to storytell and showcase in a compelling way. This can be enhanced by working on the quality of your content. Shoot on your iPhone in 4k, wipe your lens before filming, invest in good lighting. These are very easy shifts that you can do to attract more partnerships.
Post like you already have the partnership Aka, begin posting organically about the brands that you already love. Want to partner with a luggage brand? Share the luggage you already have! This shows them that you can successfully organically share about content that your audience will be responsive to.
If you aren't, consider niching down more I know this is a controversial take, but I do think it's actually important to niche down. Now I'm not saying you can't dabble in other content not related to travel, but I do think it's helpful. You definitely want a brand to recognize from your content that you are a travel creator.
Keep it professional Respond to emails in a timely manner, communicate any timeline updates, and treat your brand like it's a business, because it is. Something people don't often want to talk about is brand safety. Brand's do look into creators profiles and watch stories, posts, tweets, etc... to see if you are a good character fit for their brand.
Q: How do you find brand partnerships?
Very rarely do I pitch (I need to change that).
Q: How do you pitch a brand for a partnership?
Great question. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. Jk, I haven't really successfully pitched a ton of brands. What has worked for me though has been DMing brands on Instagram and asking for the right contact information so I can email them.
Here's an example of an Instagram DM you can send:
Hi there! My name is Alexa and I am a travel content creator from the DC area. I'm interested in working with you all on some content. I would love to send over a collaboration proposal to your marketing team. Could you please let me know the best email contact? Thank you so much!
You can also find the right contact information via LinkedIn or from the brands website. And the next step would be sending over an email.
Here's an example of a cold pitch email that I was successful with:
I hope all is well. My name is Alexa, and I'm a travel content creator based out of DC. I make creative short-form video content primarily on TikTok and Instagram, where I bring my audience of 18-35-year-olds along on my different trips, share travel tips and hacks, and eat good food.
I would love to partner with you by documenting my experience on (REDACTED) to show our audiences that you don't always need friends to go with and to have fun when you can travel with (REDACTED). In exchange for the experience, I can:
- Create excellent content for your social media
- Post stories of my experience to my Instagram
- Post Reels and TikToks about my experience to my audience of over 100K
I would love to know if this is something of interest to your team.
All the best,
This was not a pitch for a paid partnership, but rather a collaboration for a hosted trip. One of the best ways you can turn things into a paid partnership is getting a brand on a phone or zoom call to discuss their content needs and wants.
Q: How much should I charge and what should I charge for?
I wish I had the answer, Sway. But unfortunately I can't tell you exactly what you should charge as a creator. I will say when creating your rates you should take into consideration a few things:
Deliverables- what content and how many pieces of content do you have to deliver for the campaign
Timeline- how fast the deliverables need to be drafted, reviewed, and delivered
Organic Usage- how long the brand will have the rights to use your content on their social media pages r for say, their website, newsletter, emails, etc...
Paid Ad Usage/Whitelisting- how long the brand will have the rights to put paid ad spend behind your content
Exclusivity- what brands or products you can potentially not work or post about during the duration of the campaign or contracted time
Two resources that I find really useful in informing my rate are the Creator Calculator and this Influencer report, which shows what creators at different sizes have been charging for content on various social media platforms.
Additionally, I love the website FYPM. It's a platform where creators can report how much they were paid by brands for different partnerships. They also give you all the tea on their partnerships. I love using the resource to scope out how much I should be charging.
Q: How much do you charge?
I'm going to be as political as possible in answering this. One of the my biggest pieces of advice I've gotten is to not post what you're charging, as you have the potential to box yourself into one specific rate. I have 71.5k instagram followers, and 83k TikTok followers. My rates begin around $2750 for Instagram Reels and $950 for a tiktok video.
But remember, yesterday's price is not todays nor is it tomorrows. My prices increase as my audience, engagement, and reach does. These are also base rates, meaning they don't include prices for short timelines, exclusivity, usage, whitelisting, or other pertinent factors. I charge about 30-50% of the total deliverable cost per month of exclusivity, and 10-30% for organic and paid ad usage.
Q: What's the most you've been paid for a campaign?
My biggest deal for a one time campaign has been $10,000. My biggest deal for a long term campaign was about $37,000.
But I've also had plenty of campaigns that I've taken that are under my rate, or completely free just because I really loved the brand or the opportunity.
Q: How long did it take you to land your first paid collaboration?
FOUR YEARS. Someone asked if money in the influencer space is fast, and it's not at all. I always say if you're doing this to make money, you're probably doing it for the wrong reason. Your passion has to lead you or I honestly think you'll burn out.
Q: How do I get started? Do I need to already be traveling?
When I say I fell into this career, I mean it. This started with a passion for transparency and love for travel. I think it's important to ask yourself why it is you want to be a travel creator first. Then, start creating content. This doesn't mean you need to be booking trips to the Maldives for content, but rather, start with small and attainable trips and perfect the way you document them.
Whew, that was a lot of questions. I'll probably update and expand on this page in a few months, but I hope this was helpful!
All my love,