Can a Blog Network Really Benefit You?
Many travel bloggers are aware of the benefits of a Blog Network, and may belong to one, or more than one.
For those unfamiliar, a Blog Network can be anything from an informal alliance of bloggers (who support each other through commenting, guest blogging, and cross-promotion) to a more structured membership platform that offers additional benefits.
Over the coming months I’ll be seeking out and writing about Blog Networks to help you decide which, if any, are a good fit for your travel blog.
First up is a Blog Network I’ve recently been invited to participate in (more on that later), and founded by two very well-known travel bloggers, Keith Jenkins of VelvetEscape, and Janice Waugh of Solotravelerblog.com. Their newly created Blog Network is called Global Bloggers Network, and they’ve agreed to sit still long enough to answer a few questions, so without further ado, let’s dive in!
How did you and Keith come up with the idea for Global Bloggers Network?
Janice: Keith and I had been meeting via Skype since last May, supporting each other as we grew our blogs. In November, we met at the World Travel Market in London. We chatted about all sorts of things, including the value of mentoring each other. At that point we decided to meet weekly rather than monthly.
Somehow, out of the those weekly meetings, the concept of the Global Bloggers Network emerged. Essentially, we’ve developed the type of service that we wish was out there. It’s the type of service that we want to help us become better bloggers.
GBN is very different from other blog networks – what inspired you to come up with the structure of different membership levels?
Janice: There are lots of opportunities online to learn about blogging from guides or a series of lessons. I’ve used these and they are helpful, to a point. Personally, I learn better by being interactive with material.
GBN services are not about offering information through downloads but about giving people the opportunity to participate and exchange ideas as they learn. This is possible with the Blogger Buddy mentoring program, our webinars, our “Ask the Experts” program where people can ask their specific questions, and the Blog Hop. There are three levels of membership to allow people to participate how they want.
Keith: Our three membership levels are designed to allow everyone access to the network, based on their preferences. Bloggers can subscribe to our monthly newsletter for free. Our newsletter features our favorite blogging and social media tips. For a $12 monthly fee, bloggers can become Continental Members and gain access to our webinars and our Expert Panel. In addition, Continental Members benefit from our blog marketing service and revenue earning opportunities. The highest membership level, Global Membership, costs $20 a month. Global Members benefit from all GBN services, including the Blog Hop and the Blogger Buddy program.
Can you explain the mechanics of the Blog Hop for novice bloggers?
Janice: The Blog Hop is travel contest for the public that is designed to drive traffic to our participating members blogs.
Essentially, all participating blogs will post about and promote the blog hop. To win, people travel to each blog to pick up a piece of information. They add the information to a form which they submit to qualify to win great prizes like a $2,000 cash prize from Contiki, 3 night’s accommodation from Splendia and another 3 nights from EasytoBook.com. There’s also $100 gift certificate for hostel accommodation and an iPod nano with video, both sponsored by Travellerspoint.com
What’s in store for the future of GBN?
Janice: Whenever you have a group of people or companies with shared interest there are opportunities to leverage the power of that group. We will be adding more webinars as speakers are now requesting to talk to our group. We will also be working with companies that want blogging content. GBN can act as a hub making it easier for members to sell their writing and easier for companies to buy it. This will take time but we already have our first agreement.
Please tell us a bit more about your “Ask the Expert” service
Keith: Our Expert panel consists of well known names in the travel blogging and social media fields. These include Chris Garrett, Chris Guillebeau, Trisha Miller and Gary Arndt. Every month, our Global and Continental members send us their questions which we then forward to our panel. Our experts provide answers to the questions from their own perspective. We collect the answers, compile an ebook and distribute it among our members.
I’m impressed with the amount of effort that Keith and Janice have put into GBN to ensure that it offers real tangible benefits to its members. In the interest of full disclosure, I do participate in this particular Blog Network. I was honored to kick off their series of webinars with a presentation on strategies for monetizing a travel blog, and am privileged to serve on their Expert Panel.
Thanks Keith and Janice to taking time to answer our questions!
Do you belong to a Blog Network? Share your experience!