In January and February, I had the honor of co-hosting two Social Media & Blogging Retreats with Institute of Code. I enjoyed it so much that this past month, I hosted another with them.
Having had a ton of experience working with Institute of Code and having seen the impact the course has on its students’ lives, I needed to share this incredible retreat with you all in case you’re interested at all in becoming a full-time social media influencer, blogger or social media manager.
A.K.A. doing what I do!
The reason why I was interested in co-hosting this retreat in the first place is because I am extremely passionate about helping people realize their passions and create businesses from them. Too often, we get caught up in the expectations society has of us – to go to college, get a job and keep working up the ranks until we’ve made enough money to one day retire & travel. But most people – perhaps even yourself – have a dream or passion they’re setting aside because they think it is unrealistic or silly.
The moment I began pursuing my dreams of traveling the world & making money from it was the minute my life turned around for the better. Now, I am a full-time travel blogger, vlogger, and social media influencer with an audience of over 300,000 people getting paid to travel the world.
It took me around 2 years to get here, but boy do I wish I had someone at the beginning teaching me everything there is to know about making it in the blogging world.
That’s why I think the Institute of Code is so cool – because, in 10 short days, students learn everything it took me (and the other mentors) years to learn.
It’s also an incredible experience because you’re learning in a luxury villa in Bali with daily yoga, morning smoothie bowls, and excursions out to explore the island.
May student, Prue Long’s experience at Institute of Code
How to Become a Travel Blogger
But before I go on about what you can expect from your time at the Institute of Code Social Media & Blogging retreat, here are some tips that’ll help you start a travel blog.
Establish Your Content Buckets
Before you start writing your first post, you need to gain clarity on your content buckets. Your content buckets (or pillars) will help you focus on specific topics within the travel niche. It is a crucial part of building an audience and a successful travel blog. Your buckets will establish your unique strengths and expertise. It’ll also inform your audience of what they can expect from your blog. For instance, if you’re a luxury travel blogger, your content buckets may include hotel reviews, destination guides, and travel tips. But if you’re a budget traveler, your content buckets may include budget tips and travel hacking in addition to destination guides.
Consistency is Key
Most people start blogs only to forget them after a while, not realizing that the key to building an audience is consistency. If you aren’t showing up, you can’t expect your readers to as well. Growing a blog takes time and content. At the start of each month, sit down and plan out a content calendar, strategically. Using your established content buckets, brainstorm a few blog posts for each bucket and slate them in for the same day and time every week.
Network with Other Travel Bloggers
Travel blogging can be quite a lonely profession. It’s also a pretty unconventional job that doesn’t have a blueprint. Network with other travel bloggers. No one will understand the struggles of blogging more than other bloggers. Join a Facebook group for travel bloggers and start connecting with others in the field. This is also a great way to get links back to your blog, guest write for another travel blog, or find contributors for a blog post you’re writing.
Learn and Understand SEO
Learning and understanding how to optimize your blog posts for search engines will increase your chances of discoverability. Before you start writing your first blog post, you need to perform research on how in-demand or competitive your keyword is. If you want people to find your blog post on Google, you need to determine if the topic you’re writing about is something people are searching for. Most beginner travel bloggers make the mistake of writing diary-style posts. They run through a list of things they did in a destination without providing any valuable travel tips for their readers. It’s important to remember that a successful travel blog puts its readers’ needs top of mind. Think about how your blog posts can deliver the most value by providing travel tips and great advice.
Similar to SEO, Pinterest is a powerful tool that’ll drive traffic to your travel blog. Since every Pin is a direct link to your blog, understanding the platform can help you target niche-specific audience members and increase your overall traffic.
Monetizing as a Beginner
Monetizing can seem daunting when you start a travel blog. However, there are many ways bloggers can earn an income that isn’t reliant on sponsorships and brand collaborations. Consider outsourcing your skills through freelance writing work. Additionally, you can utilize affiliate links throughout your blog posts. The skills you learn as a travel blogger are applicable in many areas. If you have a good grasp and understanding of SEO, Pinterest, and social media, consider offering your expertise to businesses or entrepreneurs.
The Institute of Code Social Media & Blogging Retreat
Now that I’ve shared 6 important tips to help you start a travel blog, you might want to consider taking your skills to the next level through a course or an in-person retreat. Learning through a focused program will help you grow exponentially in less amount of time. Instead of piecing together information from free guides and blog posts, a program will provide you with expert first-hand knowledge on how you can start and continue to run a successful travel blog.
Here’s exactly what is covered at the Institute of Code Social Media & Blogging retreat:
- Advanced Instagram growth + tips for boosting engagement
- Advanced Facebook marketing, factoring in recent changes to the algorithm
- Growing website traffic through SEO
- Creating engaging, shareable blog content
- Using Pinterest to gain targeted followers + increase traffic
- How to establish yourself as a thought leader
- Advanced strategies to grow your email list
- Cultivating your personal branding, including media kit development
- Creating social media strategies + a content calendar
- The latest software to create, schedule, and share your content
- Photography & photo editing (iPhone or DSLR)
- Creating beautiful social media graphics
- How to find clients for freelance work
- Turning your audience into an income
- How to scope, price, and manage client projects
On a typical day at IOC, there are 7 – 8 hours of class with breaks for lunch and pool time. Some days, we take the morning to do hands-on photography and content creation in locations like Tegalalang Rice Terraces and the Monkey Forest.
On the last day, each student puts together an informal presentation that showcases their brand, their goals, and their plans to get there. The mentors and IOC founders provide feedback on everything in order to get you on the right foot after you leave Bali!
May student, Laurence Uvin’s experience at Institute of Code
Here’s what the students from our 2018 retreats have to say about their experiences:
Lexi & Hayden, Owners of Evolution Salt:
“Thank you. You exceeded any and all expectations. Your passion for teaching others shines through every single one of you and lights up the room with this creative, inspiring energy that is super contagious. The environment you have created is brilliant. I came to this course with very basic knowledge of social media and came out with a plethora of information for social media, marketing, photography and Lightroom, PLUS a tribe full of creatives. I feel so blessed to have learned from some of the most talented people I know.” – May 2018 retreat
Naina, Freelance Social Media Manager:
“A big shout out to out mentors who opened our minds further and taught us to see through the noise. This is an experience I will always hold close to my heart. I feel the change in the course of my life in profound and permanent ways.” – January 2018 retreat
Kaitlin, Travel & Food Influencer @travelonyourstomach:
“When I first heard about Institute of Code, I wasn’t sure about the idea of becoming an influencer and if it was really possible. It was definitely a risk and a lot of money to spend when you’re so uncertain about the outcome. After taking this course, there is no doubt in my mind that this was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made. I have learned SO much over the past 10 days and now have a very unique set of skills and I have met the most amazing group of people that I know will be life long friends.” – May 2018 retreat
One of the most rewarding parts of hosting the IOC retreat is seeing how much students evolve over the 10 days. At the beginning, everyone has a small idea that they aren’t exactly sure how to execute and by the end, all of the students not only have a larger dream, but a strategic plan on how to get there.
For example, Jacob Heston of @jacobhestonvibes doubled his Instagram following and has landed numerous partnerships with travel and clothing brands.
Naina was an aspiring social media manger and landed a $5,000 gig within a week of completing the Institute of Code course.
Caitlin Shey Spears (@caitlinsheyspears) grew from 3,000 followers to over 30k in the span of just a few months, founded her own social media marketing group and has landed multiple paid brand collaborations.
Ready to create your own success story?
The Institute of Code will be hosting another Social Media & Blogging Retreat in November of this year! Follow them on Instagram and fill out the form at the bottom of this page to keep up with announcements regarding exact dates and attending mentors.
Save this post: