No Dave, you link selling shyster, I’m not interested. But thanks for asking.

Subject: Ref Content Placement Aug 2012


I have a name, it is Stuart McDonald, it is listed, beside my photo, on our homepage

I hope you do not mind me contacting you like this but I have just been on your site and found your posts really engaging.

Well I do actually. I post fairly rarely, so I’d love to know which ones you liked — especially as you don’t appear to know my name.

I was wondering if you would let me write a post for you?

No thanks.

I am looking to get my work placed on high-end sites such as yours and would be happy to write a unique article just for you.

Why thank you. Still no.

I can come up with a title – or if you have something that you would like me to cover I can work from a brief.

I bet you can. No I don’t sorry.

What’s in it for you, you are probably thinking?

Let me think. Probably nothing.

I place a sponsor in the post, which could take the form of a linked word to a reputable client relevant to the article.

Undoubtably a nofollowed, clearly marked paid-for link right?

Your free article would be 500 words or more in length and completely unique to you.


If you would like me to get an article started please just drop me a line.


I am constantly looking for partnerships, so if you like the first article I would love to place more with you.

I bet you are.

I look forward to hearing from you and speaking to you in the near future.

Thanks Dave, no need to contact us again.


Editorial Manager

A better kind of press trip (part of my $7,000 series)

News of a few press trips run by national DMOs and focussed on travel bloggers have landed in our email/gossip box over the last few weeks and I think they’ve really got it so wrong.

One, run by or somehow remotely facilitated/related to a certain Southeast Asian tourism board and a third travel website is simply too wacky to go into and is more a tacky link buying exercise than anything else, so I’m not going to bother with it here. No doubt it will serve as fodder down the path for some case study in what not to do.

But another, associated with another country’s tourism board, is more conservative and typical in structure. A mix of local and foreign bloggers get flown and shuttled around the country on a “best of the top shelf” tour of the country. Inbound flights and all expenses are covered — so the airlines, travel agents and hoteliers are all in the mix. In return the bloggers are required to blog regularly about what they are doing and push their work out through social media and so on — thus introducing the country to their varied readerships.

It’s no different to when a bunch of newspaper hacks get flown around the shop to fill the next few months of Sunday supplements.

Regardless of the bloggers all forming their own opinions/not being influenced blah blah and what not, everyone who put a comp in wants a piece of the pie. The airline gets a mention, perhaps the hotels do, and, of course, by writing about top shelf displays, the various travel agents who can organise these various jaunts will hopefully get a bit of business as well.

At the end of the day, the bloggers have all become copywriters for the various vested interests and that kinda sucks.

What is perhaps a better approach?

Tourism board does its research. Finds six prolific writers — whether they call themselves bloggers, travel writers or journalists — from around the world who have readers in target markets. Gets in touch. Asks about stats, readership and so on. Finds out more about their personal interests, what they know about the country and what they don’t know but want to learn.

Sorts the writers out with a return ticket. For whenever they want.

Gives each of the bloggers say US$7,000 and says:

Come to my country.
Travel for as long as you want.
Where you want.
How you want.
To grow your site.
To serve your readers.
To present the destination country, warts and all.

Then, they give the blogger a phone number and say:

If you need a hand organising something, give us a call and we’ll put you in touch with the right people. You’ll pay for it (out of your kitty) of course, but we’ll use our contacts to help open the doors you need opened.

There is zero editorial oversight.

The writer is under no obligation to write anything.

Surely that’s a better result for everyone on board?

How to make $7,000 per month travel blogging

Making money online is kinda modern day snake oil – just buy my book and you’ll know too. I hate that crap. So, here’s one way you could make $7,000 per month travel blogging.

1) Come up with a snazzy brand.

2) Make a snazzy sticker (at least as snazzy as the brand) that includes the domain name and logo and have 1,095 stickers printed — or go crazy and print 1,100 just to be safe.

3) Set up a blog that supports multiple authors – 1,095 in fact. Start with WordPress — or whatever tickles your fancy.

4) Plan a trip. It’s a comprehensive one — it goes for three years. (In case you haven’t figured that out, that’s 1,095 days).

5) Do a writing course.

6) Do a photography course.

7) Read a lot. A Lot.

8) Start travelling.

9) Each and every day, for the next three years, find a single place that is better than anything else you found that day. The highlight. Could be a hotel, a bar, restaurant, a bike mechanic, an accupuncturist. You get the idea. Something great.

10) Write about that single thing. In depth. With photos. Explain why it was great. Help your readers to reach them.

11) Go to the place you wrote about. Give them one sticker and tell them to value it. Set them up on your WordPress site as an contributor with permissions on their specific post. Explain to them that they’re responsible for keeping the page up to date.

12) Tell them you’ll run the page for free for them for three years. Afterwhich it will cost them $10 per month to keep going. (Don’t forget to mark any links “nofollow” once they are paying for them)

13) Use Twitter, FB etc etc to promote what you’re doing. Obviously also have blog posts that are more personal as you develop your voice and readers begin to identify with you. You know, build a brand.

14) Repeat for the next 1,095 days. Day in day out. If you can’t build a brand in 1,095 days, you’re in the wrong industry.

15) Alowing for say 25% of businesses to go go bust or not see the value in what you’re doing (pick your favourites carefully), in around 2,000 days you’ll be seeing around $7,000 per month in income. Is this for everyone? No. I’d hate to do something like this!

16) That’s it.


Would the above really work? Perhaps. If you’re a highly motivated, self confident individual with the gift of the gab, why not?

But what I’m really trying to illustrate here is that if you really want to make money travel blogging, you need to be thinking — and planning — along these kind of timelines.

Three years is a short time, but you can do an awful lot in 1,095 days.

PS., yeah I know they’d be costs in getting the money off people etc — just travel for a fourth year to cover those 😉