I am super pumped to share this episode because I am joined by Jen Ruiz of Jen on a Jet Plane. Jen is a phenomenal travel blogger, travel influencer, content creator, and overall business genius.
Jen shares the story of how she decided to take 12 trips in 12 months in the lead up to her 30th birthday and how that decision completely transformed her life and opened up a career in travel blogging, with her now having a lot of success on TikTok.
She’s such an inspirational person, with such a positive take and approach to life and to business. Jen is a dreamer, like so many of us are in the travel industry, but she’s also incredibly strategic and practical in her approach to growing her business.
In this episode, Jen shares loads of really practical tips and strategies in this conversation. I particularly enjoyed our deep dive into TikTok strategies for travel brands. TikTok is such an important platform nowadays because it’s where people are seeing the best return on time investment and overall effort right now.
It’s been great to chat with Jen about how she’s grown on TikTok, the types of posts that she’s creating, and some of the challenges of the platform like dealing with haters. TikTok is pretty notorious for being a bit of an uglier platform when it comes to nasty comments, but Jen’s take on how best to handle and treat those kinds of comments is just really fascinating and inspiring.
I hope you all enjoy this episode, and that you can take away some really practical tips to help grow your own travel business.
Becoming a travel blogger
Jen started travel blogging back in 2014 when she was still practicing law full-time as well. Blogging was a hobby and creative outlet to begin with, but then it evolved into a side hustle and then eventually a full-time business.
The year before her 30th birthday, Jen did a 12 trips in 12 months challenge, and it made her realize that “travel has a way of empowering you, making you feel present in the moment and reminding you that there’s so much more to life outside of your daily bubble.”
Going on these trips was a big wake-up call that she didn’t have to stay on the traditional path if she liked something else better. She realized that we live in this perfect time where blogging, being an influencer, and working remotely are all possible. For the first time in history, this is a viable career path for people and Jen is really happy that she took that leap.
But she also shares that none of this was intuitive, and it wasn’t easy because it was all unfamiliar. She rebranded twice before deciding to become a travel blogger. And then it also took her some time to start learning about SEO, or search engine optimization, so she could really start to serve her audience with content they were looking for.
Jen explains that if you want to monetize your blog, it isn’t really about you. “The minute you switch that pivot from, this blog is about me and my stories, to this blog is about the people who are searching for information, then I think you really are onto something,” she says.
TikTok strategies to grow your travel brand
For the last two years, TikTok has been Jen’s biggest focus when it comes to social media because she believes it’s the best platform to get her content seen right now. She covers a variety of topics related to travel or remote work, and she believes that with a more specific niche you could see even more growth on TikTok.
Something that Jen has seen work very well on TikTok is controversy. She doesn’t seem particularly happy about this, but if your video is a source of controversy, people will be watching it several times, sharing it, and having discussions in the comments. This can lead to your post going viral, but often it does turn negative with hateful comments, and that can be intimidating and stressful for creators.
Dealing with negativity on TikTok
Jen shares that she takes mean comments as a good indication because it’s a sign that her content is getting seen by people outside her circle. “No matter what you post, somebody will find something wrong with it,” Jen says. “Don’t take it personally when they do. Take it as a sign that your content is getting seen and take that as a necessary evil that comes with content creation.”
Jen tries to focus on creating content that’s going to be useful, and if it has a bit of an edge that will start a conversation, it will help your content get seen. Jen thinks that on social media you’re either the one being sold to, or you’re the one using social media to your advantage to sell your product. That way, “you’re not on there just wasting time, but you’re on there actually making money and doing something productive.”
More from this episode
- We discuss a different way of looking at SEO, this is a great reframe if you’re currently struggling because you don’t like writing to the algorithm.
- Learn about Jen’s approach to figuring out what to write about.
- Is it better to create long-form content or multiple shorter articles? Jen shares her strategy on this question in relation to SEO.
- How did Jen first start making money with her blog, and how does she make money nowadays?
- In what ways can you use TikTok to make money as a content creator?
- How often should you post on TikTok?
- Can you reshare content on TikTok and also on other social media platforms?
- How do you come up with ideas for content to share on TikTok? Jen shares her approach.