Ever wondered how to turn your passion for travel into a thriving online venture?
Ben Aston is joined by Kyle Kroeger—Founder & CEO at ViaTravelers—to talk about the secrets behind transforming a personal blog into a global travel platform.
Tune in for actionable strategies and insights into building a niche audience and monetizing your passion.
- Guest Introduction [00:25]
- Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and CEO of Black Bear Media, a boutique online publisher specializing in travel, sustainability, and personal finance.
- Kyle’s Journey from Analyst to Media CEO [01:10]
- Kyle’s desire to build something long-term and embrace a digital nomad lifestyle led him to the travel industry.
- Started with a digital camera and evolved into a full-scale travel platform.
- Inspired by entrepreneurial parents, Kyle wanted to create something meaningful.
- The Birth and Growth of ViaTravelers [03:10]
- ViaTravelers started as a personal travel blog and expanded into a diverse platform with contributors worldwide.
- ViaTravelers focuses on immersive travel experiences, embracing different perspectives worldwide.
- Kyle emphasizes the importance of showcasing various cultural perspectives through travel content.
- Understanding the ViaTravelers Audience [04:01]
- ViaTravelers began with Kyle’s personal experiences and evolved into a platform for global perspectives.
- Initial growth achieved through traditional SEO strategies, with a focus on evergreen travel topics.
- Kyle emphasizes direct communication with the audience, aiming to make travel easier and smarter for readers.
- Monetization Strategies and Challenges [06:38]
- ViaTravelers’ revenue mix includes display ads (66%) and affiliate marketing (33%).
- Kyle envisions developing products and value-added content, exploring membership-based solutions and tangible products.
- Challenge: Focused too much on a single entity (Google) for audience growth.
- Lesson: Recognizing the importance of diversifying channels, including social media and digital products.
- ViaTravelers engages the audience through a newsletter, seeking feedback on content needs.
- Their email list comprises various lead magnets catering to diverse travel interests.
- Key metrics include time to produce content, revenue per 1000 visits, and optimizing user experience.
- ViaTravelers uses surveys to understand audience needs and tailors content accordingly.
- Monetization Mix: Display ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and potential for future direct placements.
- Future Plans for ViaTravelers [12:49]
- Kyle plans to leverage other channels, especially social media, to showcase the extensive media bank.
- He envisions creating value-added content, digital products, and possibly a coffee table book.
The goal is to do more with less. If I can get a small tribe of a few thousand people that want to buy a product, let’s do that.Kyle Kroeger
- Insights on Content Strategy and Team Structure [13:44]
- Balancing Act: Deciding on content strategy balancing affiliate funnel creation and long-tail keyword focus for page views.
- Addressing content gaps and user needs take precedence in content creation.
- ViaTravelers uses Google Forms to conduct surveys and gather audience preferences.
- Asking for audience input resulted in valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.
- Kyle emphasizes the importance of genuine experiences and avoiding generic travel content.
- Despite efforts to showcase original photos, ViaTravelers faces challenges with Google ranking generic images.
- ViaTravelers has a team of 16-18, including editors, writers, and operations personnel.
- They’re producing approximately two new articles and one revamped article per day.
- ROI Approach: Iterative tracking of successful content and continuous improvement of page layout for better results.
- Lightning Round: Quick Insights from Kyle [24:39]
- Kyle attributes his success to the habit of relentlessness and persistence.
Survey a hundred people, understand their problems, and create content around those needs.Kyle Kroeger
Meet Our Guest
Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Just start. You can never get anything done if you don’t start. So just start.Kyle Kroeger
Resources from this episode:
- Apply to join the Indie Media Club
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Connect with Kyle Kroeger on LinkedIn
- Check out ViaTravelers