Alex Waltner, also known as the Swedish Nomad, is a photographer and travel blogger from Sweden. He’s running the biggest travel blog in Scandinavia and has been to more than 50 countries in the last two years. He’s currently on a round the world trip with his girlfriend Christine Wedberg (www.alienchris.com), on the mission is to showcase the beauty the world has to offer.
In an exclusive interview, he tells about how he started growing his blog, and how much you can really expect to get paid for sponsored posts on Instagram and more.
You run the biggest travel blog in Scandinavia with more than 100k visitors a month. If someone asked you how they could follow in your footsteps and start a travel blog, what advice could you offer them?
Find your niche and focus on what you’re passionate about. Create a brand if you don’t already got one, it’s very important to build trust and make people recognize you, otherwise they might not find their way back to the blog.
Also, make sure to network with other bigger bloggers. Offer them something valuable and be helpful, and chances are that they will help you in return. This is true all the way, even if you become successful or not – networking is one of the major keys to success.
Work hard, and make sure to have your ears open to knowledge. There’s a bunch of articles out there that will help you in the beginning and you can learn plenty from other bloggers mistakes.
There are so many travel bloggers out there right now. What should someone who is just starting out know about the travel blogging industry?
It’s pretty competitive these days, so you need to plan ahead a few months unless you have a big spending for marketing. You can’t just start a blog and expect readers to come to you. In the beginning you will have to introduce your content to them.
But even though it’s competitive, I would say it’s one of the more friendly industries to work within. People share similar interests and there’s a super big community out there in the world, so definitely don’t be afraid to reach out to other travel bloggers.
You define yourself as a digital nomad. What it is like to be a full-time traveler? What are some common myths when it comes to being a digital nomad?
The most common myth is probably that we’re all just chilling at the beach with our laptops and a beer in our hand. While some days might be like that, I would say 99% of the days aren’t like that, at least if you’re serious about your business.
The most successful digital nomads is always finding new ways to increase their revenue or find a new niche to conquer. No matter what’s your business, there is always room for improvements and growth.
Another common myth is the fact that you need a big saving to start pursuing a life as a digital nomad, but to be honest you’ll only need food, a laptop, wi-fi and some skill that will allow you to make money online. Of course, things will be easier if you do have some money, but that’s not the most important factor.
Your Instagram posts and blog posts are always packed with color. Can you provide some essential tips for aspiring travel photographers? What piece of photography equipment could you not go without?
Be curious and experiment when you’re taking pictures. you don’t have to be a specific photographer, but it will help you to find the style and theme you need to stick out from the crowds. Just as travel blogging, the photography industry is saturated and there are so many amazing photographers out there, so you need to do your own thing and preferably come up with something new and innovative.
For me, that’s colorful places and quaint villages/places, and photos where I place my girlfriend with a cute or beautiful dress in front of nice backgrounds. While this is not unique, you can put your own style into it as well as edit your photos in a certain way.
I always bring my camera, a Nikon D500 along with a lens from Tamron 16-300 mm. I also have other lenses but that’s a pretty good travel lens for most purposes.
You have worked with brands like Nikon, GoPro, and The Ritz Carlton, amongst others and you are also the brand world ambassador for the flight search engine momondo. How did you start your collaboration with these brands and what advice you would give to aspiring young travel bloggers to start a collaboration with them?
I started small and reached out to some hotels to see if we could work together. I saw that I could improve their social media channels and offered them packages with photos.
After a few successful collaborations, one by one, bigger brands started to reach out, and now I frequently get proposals from bigger brands as well as hotels and tourism boards who want to showcase their hotels and destinations.
My advice would be to not sell your self too cheaply. It’s important to gain respect, and if you offer companies to work for free and give them a lot of things, then you won’t be taken seriously. The majority of bigger companies knows that quality work is not cheap, but it’s worthwile in the long run, and if you want to be succesful this is a great reminder.
If I were to start out today, I would try to find local companies and study them and see how I could improve something for them. If your expertise can help them get more revenue, there is a good chance that they want to work with you.
if you don’t have any experience you will probably have most of your proposals declined or ignored in the beginning, but if you’re determined, you’ll be closer to a yes for every no you get as long as your pitch and offer is valuable.
How much can bloggers expect to get paid for travel content for brands?
This can range between millions of dollars to just 50 dollars or even less. It really depends on what kind of work you’re doing for the brands. But if I talk about photopgrahy you should get at least 25-50 dollar per quality photo in high-resolution when working with brands.
Of course, if you’re delivering 1000 images, you might want to offer a bulk discount, especially if you’re new in the industry, but as said earlier, don’t sell your services too cheap.
For an Instagram post a general number is said to be 100 USD per 10 000 followers, but the influencer industry is currently changing as engagement rate is becoming a much more important metric.
For articles you can receive as much as 500-1000 USD, but some brands only pay 50-100 USD per article, and some businesses pay a certain amount per word instead.