When we first started Green Global Travel in late 2010, we had NO idea what we were doing.
Sure, I had 17 years of experience as a professional writer and editor, running INsite Magazine and freelancing for publications ranging from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Rolling Stone. I knew how to generate and manage content, oversee a staff of writers and interns, and work with PR people. But I’d never even read a travel blog before, much less run one.
For the first year we ran the site as a side-project, focusing on my freelance career and our successful improv comedy business. We had no presence on Twitter. We didn’t do any SEO. Hell, we weren’t even on WordPress! But we knew precisely the sort of respected brand we wanted GGT to be, and early interest from WWF and Sustainable Travel International gave us hope that our labor of love would grow organically.
It was our press trip to the Galapagos Islands in October of 2011 (and some sage advice from Barbara Weibel of Hole In The Donut) that ultimately convinced us to dive into blogging head first. But, without any personal blogging experience, and without the funds to pay for expensive “How To Be A Better Blogger” programs or blogging conferences, we had to devise strategies to build GGT as a business on our own.
Fortunately, that’s where my professional experience came in handy. I’ve been managing businesses since I was 18, including restaurants, newspapers, magazines, and creative artists. I worked my way through college at Georgia State University and studied Music Business, learning about entrepreneurship, management, marketing, promotional strategy and economic theory. And throughout my career, I’ve used that knowledge to help me stay ahead of the curve by focusing on innovation rather than following established trends.
So, when we decided to take GGT to the next level, we didn’t approach it like a blog. We approached it like a business. In one year we went from 7,000 page views a month to over 50,000. We went from nobody knowing who we were to being one of the Top 30 travel blogs, despite our niche focus. We went from 1-2 press trips a year to a dozen. And, perhaps more importantly, we made money without sacrificing our brand integrity.
We’ve always tried to be transparent about how we manage our business. We’ve run posts about building traffic and working with interns. We started The Business of Blogging Facebook Group so people could ask questions and freely share info about everything from business plans and link building to improving writing/editing skills and SEO. But recently we’ve been approached by several people seeking more in-depth blogging mentorships. We did a few test runs, and the results turned out even better than we expected (see testimonials below).
If you’re a newbie seeking basic info on gaining traffic, building your link profile, best SEO practice, or how to monetize your site, our new mentorship program may not be for you. If you’re blogging just to get free stuff, this program DEFINITELY isn’t for you. This program is aimed at serious bloggers looking to turn their website into a sustainable business and take it to the next level. Blogging isn’t a “one size fits all” industry, so our mentorship is tailored to YOUR needs, based on where you want your blog to go in the long-term.
The mentorship program will consist of preliminary emails to discuss where your blog is, where you want to take it, and any obstacles you’re dealing with. From that point, we’ll take a look at your branding, media kit, writing and photography, and any other elements you’re concerned with BEFORE we have our first consultation. We’ll have three hour-long consultations via phone or Skype, each with laser-like focus on the problems you’re trying to address and offering actionable items to help you move forward. We can continue to discuss via email after the consultations are over, as we want to make sure you get the answers you need.
Here are a few of the things we can focus on:
• BRANDING- Our specialty. We can help you figure out how to harness your passions to create a core defining message that will connect with your readers AND help you get attention from the DMOs and sponsors you want to work with.
• MEDIA KIT/PITCH LETTERS- After 20 years as a journalist, I know how to create a media kit and/or pitch letter that will get attention by defining your brand and making a clear case for why people should work with you.
• NETWORKING- One of the keys to GGT’s success has been our networking outside of the blogging industry, which has led to opportunities with brands that had never worked with bloggers before. We can teach you how to expand your audience and influence by expanding beyond the blogosphere.
• WRITING/EDITING- I have a track record for helping aspiring writers become professionals. I can teach you how to sharpen your writing skills in ways that will draw more readers, establish you as an authority in your field, and make you very attractive to prospective editors and clients.
• SOCIAL MEDIA- Great content is important, but anyone who says it’s all you need is probably selling something. Our award-winning stories went virtually unread until we developed a social media strategy to attract new readers. We can teach you to implement a proven methodology that will help your business grow exponentially.
Based on our test mentorships, the bloggers we worked with suggested a price of $399 for our customized service. But, for the first 5 people who sign up, we’re offering an introductory rate of $299 in exchange for completing a customer satisfaction survey at the end of the mentorship. If you’re interested, just shoot us an email at info(at)GreenGlobalTravel(dot)com and we’ll get you started!
It’s a little weird trying to tell you why you should work with us, so instead we’ll let our testimonials speak for themselves…
Though it’s been 16 years, I can remember the moment when I realized Bret Love was more than just an editor. I’d penned a movie review for Mimic, a 1997 sci-fi snoozer. I was proud of it, but Bret felt some of the wording was shallow and not descriptive enough. He offered invaluable pointers that not only changed the way I approached every review after that, but altered my outlook on the art form of writing as a whole.
Since then, he’s taught me a number of things about tone, audience and proper interviewing techniques. Under Bret’s tutelage, I went from a wide-eyed journalist writing so-so movie reviews to a guy that ESPN, BET and Bleacher Report have entrusted with the creative controls behind their websites.
But beyond all of the advice that Bret offers, the man’s name carries weight. Other scribes respect him. Editors in the travel- and pop culture-writing industries know him. So it wasn’t the least bit surprising, when I got my current position as Forbes Travel Guide’s homepage editor, that people around the office knew who he was.
There’s an overused statement about career success: “It’s not just what you know, but who you know.” I can honestly say it takes a little of each to make it. Thankfully, as someone who’s been instructed and inspired by Bret Love since the mid ’90s, I found both in the same place. -DeMarco Williams, Forbes Travel Guide
• • • • •
I recently participated in GGT’s Blogger Mentorship Program. I’ve taken several other programs and courses similar to this, but I got more out of this than anything else I’ve done. At my request, Bret concentrated on the branding and marketing side of the business. During our first session, we came up with a wonderful new branding idea for my blog, which I am excited to implement shortly. He made me see the long-term potential of my blog through branding, and gave me ideas on how to attract the audience I want.
• • • • •
As someone who is not a particularly confident or skilled writer, having Bret as a mentor helped me to see ways in which I could sharpen my writing skills. He showed me where my strengths lied, and how to improve upon my weaknesses. Working through the editing process with him, I could see clearly how simple changes can improve the clarity of your voice and your message.
Bret was upfront and honest, while at the same time encouraging and supportive. That attitude helped me feel more comfortable in listening to his advice and then acting upon it. Bret is an expert when it comes to writing and blogging, and I recommend him as a valuable mentor who will help you achieve your goals. –Caz Makepeace, yTravel Blog
• • • • •
I’ve been working with Bret and Mary of Green Global Travel since July 2012, and everything I have learned from them in the past year has been invaluable.
I started out as a Social Media intern, learning how to increase blog traffic through using various SM platforms. I use the skills they taught me for my own blog to this day, and feel like I may never have had such an understanding of these tools if it hadn’t been for Bret and Mary! Now I’ve become a regular writer for GGT, and the hints, tips, and tricks that Bret has given me along the way have helped me to drastically improve my writing.
Bret and Mary have such a wide range of skills to offer those who are willing to learn almost every aspect of blogging imaginable. I can confidently say that every blogger on the planet has something to learn from them. –Emma Jane Higgins, Gotta Keep Movin’
If you enjoyed reading about our “How To Be A Better Blogger” mentorship, you might also like: