Influencer Landscape

Influencer Collaboration and Brand-Building Tips with Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

If you think you’re busy, meet Jessica Festa—professional blogger (x 2), magazine writer and editor, teacher and consultant, media network founder, and tour company operator. Got all that? (We’re not sure if she sleeps.)

You may know Jessie’s work from Jessie on a Journey, Epicurean Culture, or NYC Photo Journeys. She’s also on the Perlu Advisory Board (Yeah!). Suffice it to say, Jessie is an online influencer extraordinaire. She agreed to share a few tips of the blogging/posting/pinning trade with us to help you hone your skills, maximize your time, and build your brand.

Jessie on a Journey

Jessie’s Secret Weapon: Influencer-to-Influencer Collaboration

“I am one of the founders of the Impact Travel Alliance Media Network,” Jessie explains, “and it’s basically not even just influencers but bloggers, influencers, even boutique brands, pretty much anyone who publishes content on responsible tourism can join. We have a slack channel where each week we all put our newest posts and we use a hashtag to keep everything grouped together.”

Jessie’s collaborations run from promoting travel apps and gear to sharing paid and unpaid brand opportunities. “It’s like a safe space to share rates and things that maybe sometimes people might not want to share in a big Facebook Group, for example.”

For larger, less selective collaboration opportunities, Jessie still uses Facebook Groups with other influencers, particularly Pinterest re-share threads. Just be aware that Facebook Groups tend to be very large (100’s or 1000’s of members), with many requests to share / cross-post articles so the feed for the group can become voluminous with non-relevant, low-quality requests, and a few “gems” interspersed.

“The great thing about Pinterest,” according to Jessica, “is it’s more of a search engine than a social media platform, so your pins—which link to your posts and can help you build traffic—can be found for years to come. Having people share your pins on their accounts can help you spread your reach, too. I’m a big fan of the Ultimate Pinterest Group For Travel Bloggers, as there are daily threads for sharing each other’s pins, specifically in the travel niche so I can ensure I’m sharing pins that make sense for my brand.”

Jessica also loves the Female Travel Bloggers Facebook Group, where sharing info and encouraging other members is encouraged. Many influencers are part of this group, and Jessica has seen “hundreds and hundreds of new eyes” on one of her posts in just one Saturday, for example.

Seek Influencers with Similar Passions & Audience, but Not Too Similar

“I love finding other bloggers targeting a similar audience, and swapping shares to get in front of each other’s audiences.”

Jessica has her trusted blogger network and that is key—finding your supporters, with similar passions, while also making sure you’re not encroaching on their turf (or vice versa). So when you make a partnership, you know it will benefit every party.

Jessica says, “For bloggers that sell products, it can be beneficial to find others selling products that target a similar audience, but who aren’t direct competitors, to cross-promote each other’s launches, or even bundle products together to offer a more valuable package to readers.”

For example, a fellow female travel blogger published an e-book on Goa (in western India for the geographically challenged) and reached out to Jessica to link to it in one of her posts on India.

The offer? An affiliate link so Jessica could earn a commission on any sales made through the link. Bingo! The two bloggers also swapped shares on Facebook, including a promotion of Jessica’s upcoming webinar—which led to a large spike in sign ups.

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Jessica’s Favorite Tools of the Trade for Building Her Brand

Collaborative Posts

Collaborative posts are a given for maximizing productivity and increasing reach. A recent blog post Jessica penned was how bloggers work with brands, and she reached out to 10+ bloggers for their contribution of one tip each on the subject. Jessica then linked back to those bloggers and shared their Instagram accounts. She gained unique content, and her contributors gained eyeballs. Win-win.

Instagram Takeovers

Jessica has taken over brand accounts (recently she partnered with Forbes for a takeover) as well as other influencers. Instagram takeovers are popular among influencers because it’s a simple, effective way to get your brand in front a new audience that shares similar passions. And that is the trick: make sure your potential audience shares your passion, so you can nurture new followers.

Jessie Festa in Cuba

Press Trips

Press trips are one way to meet new influencers and collaborate on branded content, and when Jessica does group trips the various individuals tend to share each others’ work. “I just went on a press trip, and I was able to get extra eyes on some of my content,” Jessica explains.

Email List Growth

Growing her email list is one of Jessica’s most important goals in the next year. It’s a powerful tool for acquisition and retention. Not to mention, it’s an inexpensive way to boost profitability. (For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.)

More and more influencers are collaborating through shared email promotions to their respective audiences. It’s an easy way to introduce a new voice and opportunity to your audience, and a simple, powerful way to grow your email list.

Building Rock-Solid Relationships

Among all the activities you can do as an influencer, being authentic and real, and building relationships with others in the creation of a network is really the foundation for success. “There are certain bloggers I’d say that I know I can rely on, that if I’m like, ‘Hey, I really need to get this out, and get some extra eyes on this’ for whatever reason, maybe it’s promoting a new product I’m selling or I’m trying to grow my email lists with a new freebie, or it’s branded content, I can count on them.

“I just went on a press trip, and I wanted to get extra eyes on something. I have my personal friends that are influencers that I can reach out to, which is really nice. At this point I know who I can reach out to and who I’ll actually see results from reaching out to. I had a friend promote a training that I had just launched and she shared it on Facebook, and it led to definitely over $1,000 in sales for me just from her sharing it.”

Bundling: The Ultimate Influencer Collaboration

The sum is greater than the parts. Especially when it comes to influencer collaboration through bundling—which is, at its roots, simply a collaboration of knowledge and exchange of sharing.

Just recently, Jessica was one of the bloggers of a content bundle. There was a videographer, photographer, and other specialists, and they all combined their talents to create content. The group then shared the content bundle with their respective audiences, while also linking to the other collaborators.

The result is one group of many influencers working as one to grab eyeballs and improve their status.

Jessica says, “If you can put together a group of bloggers with a similar interest, you can collaborate by sharing each other’s stuff and strengthening your mission. For example, myself and another blogger, Maria from The Culture-Ist, had an idea to create a media network of bloggers focused on responsible tourism.

“To have a greater impact, we approached the Impact Travel Alliance—a non-profit and ‘the world’s largest community for impact-focused travel professionals’—to act as the umbrella organization. Today, the Impact Travel Alliance Media Network is composed of 25+ content creators who work together to amplify our overarching goal of making sustainable tourism mainstream. We share each other’s content, unpaid and paid opportunities, work together to host events and conferences, syndicate each other’s content and share ideas.

Impact Travel Alliance Media Network

Go Find Your Fellow Influencers

You could skim through Instagram. You could search Medium for a fellow blogger with a shared passion. Or you could spend a weekend hunting through Facebook.

Or you could join the only professional networking platform for influencers: Perlu, where thousands of influencers are already categorized by their passions and ready to collaborate.

Perlu brings influencers like Jessica together, so they can collaborate, learn, grow, and share like never before. Go ahead, you can find Jessica in the Perlu network right now.

Join a Perlu Pack and collaborate today. Or start a collaboration on your own. Survey the team. Start a bundle. Grow your brand. All with Perlu.

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