Traveling for a living is the ideal job that lots of people want, and understandably so. Living a location-independent lifestyle that allows you to get paid for having fun is pretty much the pinnacle as far as ways to make a living are concerned. There’s a catch, though. The low barrier to entry means that thousands of people per year start a travel blog, so how can you make sure that you stand out?
There’s a multi-national conference dedicated just to travel blogging, there are countless books on the subject, and multiple courses out there with all kinds of advice and conflicting info on how to run a successful travel blog that pays you. It’s enough to make your head spin, right?
I’ve been at this for four years and make a six-figure income from it now, and at every stage of my career as a blogger, the game has changed and the stakes have risen. Whether you’re brand new or just want to elevate your site’s money-making potential, a course has the power to really help you get to where you want to be. The price tag of a few hundred bucks for that kind of catalyst is a steal, if and only if it’s a good course with helpful info, though. This post previously compared the two biggest courses out there, Travel Blog Success and Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging. Now that Superstar Blogging has acquired Travel Blog Success, you just got double the value for your money, so it’s basically a no-brainer.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging does give me an affiliate commission. However, nobody asked me to write a review and I didn’t seek anyone’s approval to write this (freedom of speech, y’all).
Without further ado, here are my reviews of Superstar blogging:
Who they are and what they promise
Both Travel Blog Success and Superstar Blogging courses were founded and are run by successful travel bloggers and both include webinars and tips from industry experts. They promise the same thing: They’ll teach you how to make money off of a travel blog. However, the way that they arrive there is different.
Travel Blog Success: Founded by David Lee of Gobackpacking.com and Medellinliving.com. Dave’s obviously a smart guy who knows how to run successful businesses, including the long-running and successful Travel Blog Success.
The course’s tagline is, “Do you wish your blog paid for your vacations?” It focuses on networking, learning how to pitch, and one of its biggest selling points is the secret Facebook group. That’s actually what got me to sign up in the first place. The course used to cost $447 though now it’s been rolled into Superstar Blogging so it’s free!
Superstar Blogging: Founded by Matt Kepnes of nomadicmatt.com. Matt runs the most-visited and most popular travel blog on the planet. He gets over 1 million hits per month to his site and is one of the savviest bloggers in the biz.
His course’s selling point is taking your passion to the next level, no matter where you are in the game. Since Matt doesn’t make his money by pitching tourism boards, the focus of this course is professionalizing your blog and making it into a business that generates its own cash flow. The course costs $349.
Who Wins: Superstar Blogging
There’s a glaring difference between what each course advertises. TBS focuses on building a blog that can pay for your travels and, alarmingly to me, celebrates when people with really small followings get things like free hotel stays (Side note: How is that a good thing? It bamboozles the hotel which will get no value and devalues the blog at the same time).
Superstar Blogging focuses more on branding and professionalization to make blogging a long-term prospect. For me, since this is my career and not a hobby, that’s super important.
The course modules are built around how to start and run a blog, from the very basics to specifics around money-making strategies and SEO.
If you’re brand new to blogging, the modules from TBS are very thorough and helpful with getting started and setting up a solid blog. There’s a lot of great stuff in there that, when supplemented with the Facebook group, is really helpful to someone who is just starting out.
Where it previoulsy fell flat for me was beyond those basics. However now that it’s combined with Superstar blogging, you get the full package.
Superstar Blogging has all of the basics of blogging as well, but also covers pitching media, going viral, and goes deeper into SEO.
The webinars are, for me, where the course really shines. I have learned more from the webinars than from any other part of the course, mostly because the people Matt got for the Superstar Blogging webinars are at the top of their game not just in travel blogging, but in all industries.
Some are Q&A sessions and others are webinars with power point presentations attached. I learned quite a bit from the Instagram and pitching webinars, specifically.
Matt didn’t just ask travel bloggers for their advice, but went way above and beyond by going to the absolute experts on each individual subject. For SEO, he interviewed Rand Fishkin of Moz.com, and for affiliate marketing, he went to Pat Flynn of smartpassiveincome.com. He even interviewed Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying. You basically can’t find better experts than those guys for their respective areas of expertise.
Though I have a lot of respect for my successful travel blogging peers and know that I have a lot to learn from them, nobody within travel blogging is as much of an expert as the guys who are outside of the industry and are experts specifically in SEO or affiliate marketing. I know that the guys Matt interviewed know what they’re talking about because they’ve dedicated their lives to their subjects and most of them are millionaires as a result of their efforts. Their advice is invaluable.
Facebook groups are where the discussions go down. It’s a place to ask questions and (hopefully) talk strategy.
My whole reason for joining the course was to get access to the exclusive Facebook group. It’s a place where people discuss strategy and reveal what’s working for them.
The group has since grown to almost 1600 people. There’s something to be said for the power of smaller groups or mastermind groups, where people are more likely to talk strategy and specifics, however this big group is still a good place to ask questions from tech to Pinterest and everything in-between.
I still feel that the group is useful, though less so than when it was small and brand new. I suggest utilizing this group for general questions and help when you need a lot of eyes to see your post, and opting for smaller, niche groups when you’ve grown and want to talk specific strategy. You can build these yourself, or look for groups like the 100k+ bloggers group when you’ve grown to that size.
Is Superstar Blogging worth it?
As someone who relied on Travel Blog Success and Superstar Blogging for a lot of her strategy and success, I can say yes, as long as you milk it for all it’s worth. Now that you get both courses for one, it’s a no-brainer to me. It can help you become a very effective travel blogger who makes a real living at this. There are a lot of pros:
- It’s cheap for what you get and includes a lot of freebies to services that are helpful and essential to blogging
- It gives you access to Matt to ask questions, and trust me, this is very valuable, especially now while the course is still small and he can give people in the Facebook group more individualized attention.
- It goes deep into SEO (for almost all travel blogs, search engines are the biggest driver of traffic, so this is important)
- It’s much more focused on the business and branding aspect of blogging.
- You get occasional freebies and tech support, and this is where the course starts to pay you back.
Whether you’re just starting out or are more established, the advice in Superstar Blogging is great. When I had a friend just starting out, this is the course I recommended to her because I thought it would help her out the most.
I hope this has helped you to figure out if a course is for you. It saves a ton of time and gives you access to people who are already successful and know what they’re doing. To me, tAs I mentioned before, I do get a commission (at no extra cost whatsoever to you) if you do decide to sign up for
through these links.
Are you already a member of one of the courses? Do you agree or disagree with my points, or think I missed one? Comment below!