In today’s episode, we hear from Claire Robinson, a woman who has paved her own path. She founded her business Zig Zag Road Trips a few years ago, and while it started as a side hustle, it has now evolved into a full-time business. Claire publishes road trip guides in French, German, and English, and she covers destinations as diverse as Oman, Scotland, Slovenia, New Zealand, Iceland, and more.
I’m so impressed with Claire’s ability to grow this business as a solopreneur without using social media to promote her business. Claire is very upfront from the get-go that she does not like Instagram, and she doesn’t even have an Instagram account. Instead, she’s used strategies like SEO and content marketing to build a strong following of clients who keep returning to buy her road trip guides.
Claire makes money in a few different ways as well. She goes into a lot of detail on how she’s grown her business to what it is today, the various ways she makes money with her business, and the advice she wished she had when just starting as an entrepreneur.
This is a really interesting interview, and Claire is just so honest and genuine. When she speaks about her business, you get a sense that she’s got some real morals that she has stuck by and that have guided her in a lot of those business decisions, which I really admired. I hope you like this fascinating interview with a woman who has found a completely different way of making money in the travel industry.
Starting a travel blog
Claire found her love for travel thanks to a career in engineering. She’s from France and moved to Australia for her job, where she started traveling a lot for work and found that she loved it. When she was planning her own travels, she got frustrated that she couldn’t find the information she wanted on the internet. After she’d gone on her trip, she decided to write about it so other people could get the information she struggled to find.
That’s how she started her blog in 2013, as a hobby. But two years later after a trip to Iceland, she started getting more readers and people were thanking her for her writing. Claire decided to write a travel guide because she doesn’t like the ones you find in shops. “I think they have 10,000 locations, no pictures. And after reading it, you still don’t know where you want to go,” she says.
She thought that perhaps there are more people like her, who don’t like those travel guides you find in shops. So, Claire wrote her first travel guide, and that’s how her blog became a business.
Claire explains that she writes three different types of content on her blogs. She writes listicles, planning articles, and more location-oriented content. She goes into a lot of detail in her writing, with information about toilets, car parks, and more, because she is targeting a reader who loves planning in detail before their trip. In her eBooks, she includes some of the same information, but everything is organized in a way that helps to plan the trip.
To create all of this content, Claire does a lot of research before her trips. She spends time on Google Maps, looking at pictures and reviews. Then while she travels, her days are very long because she wants to cover as much as possible. She does all of this with her readers in mind, so she looks out for specific things that people like to know.
Marketing without social media
There is a clear strategy behind the way Claire approaches her content and marketing. “It often makes people laugh, but I’m a travel blogger who is not active on Instagram,” she laughs and explains that the people she targets have already decided on their destination. They are planning their trip and find her content through search platforms, while on Instagram you find people who are still deciding on their destination.
Writing free articles and optimizing for SEO is the focus of Claire’s marketing efforts. She writes around 15 to 40 free articles per destination, which is a lot more than most other bloggers.
Pinterest used to be part of her marketing strategy as well, but it has changed lately as they have started to focus on keeping people on their platform rather than sending them to websites. For that reason, Claire decided it was no longer worth her time.
More from this episode
- Find out more about Claire’s approach to SEO and keyword research.
- How many eBooks does she sell, and what are the best months in terms of sales?
- Claire’s approach to affiliate marketing.
- How much content does she create in a month, and what is her writing process?
- Claire’s advice for people who want to start their own travel business.
- Her plans for the next few years.