FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS Captain Christopher Staudinger and Tawny Clark, Cap’n and Clark respectively, have been plotting an epic travel video journey to hand deliver 22 letters around the world.
Through successful fundraising on IndieGoGo, hard work and a bit ‘o luck they have already completed the first leg of their voyage, to retrieve the letters from a whiskey barrel in the Galapagos Islands. They call this quest to deliver the letters “The Maverick Expedition”.
With that task completed they set out for another round of fundraising to raise cash for the hand delivery of these fated letters and the adventure that is sure to unfold. Chris took a moment to chat with me on his approach at travel media fundraising.
Chris recommends utilizing three ways to fund your travel media; fund raising, trading video for services, and advertising.
“The Maverick Expedition” on IndieGoGo
‘One of the best ways to find people interested in investing in your video is a fundraising platform like IndieGoGo.
This route gives your investors two very special things. One is transparency. That is, the opportunity to see that you are serious about your goals and where the money is going. The other is perks. Each level of investment allows you to give back perks (like postcards, shout outs and memorabilia) unique to your story. This way your investors aren’t just giving money away to travelers, they are becoming a part of the story and getting some sweet swag. Who doesn’t want that? ‘
Kickstarter, a similar platform, is also an option. Although on Kickstarter if you do not reach your monetary goal in the allotted time you don’t get any of the cash. IndieGoGo allows you to keep what is donated, regardless. But why?
From the Kickstarter FAQ;
“It’s less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it’s tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project. It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don’t receive the support you want, you’re not compelled to follow through.
‘Our trip to the Galapagos Islands was entirely funded by IndieGoGo donations and trade work for companies in the Galapagos. Two years ago we thought that the only way to make money in this business was to sell our films to big companies like Lonely Planet and the Travel Channel.’
‘In addition to an IndieGoGo we also found a volunteer organization that wanted a video to help get their word out. In exchange they helped us find a place to stay and showed us around the island.
When Tawny and I wanted to go on a cruise to the Galapagos we sent out a bunch of e-mails to cruise companies in the area. We offered them a video and a blog post and within a week we had found a willing company. In exchange for a heavily discounted fair on one of their cruises we would make them a video showcasing their cruise and we would write a series of posts about our experience with them. This worked out for everybody. The cruise got exposure and we got to the location we needed to go.
All this made us realize further what a powerful tool our blog can be. I can send an e-mail to a company and do a travel review on them for a fraction of the cost it would cost them to pay an advertising company to do it. Not only that but they can be guaranteed that the piece will hit their target audience.’
‘The other way a blog can be a money maker is through advertising. If a company sees that you have consistent traffic coming in it is likely they will be interested in placing an ad on your site. The trick is to capture a niche audience by creating media about what you love. If skiing is your bread and butter then dedicate your blog and videos to powder runs. If you love dolphins and scuba diving- then write your little heart out about your underwater adventures. No matter what you love just focus on that.
Readers with similar interests start to show up, traffic goes up and businesses will then see your blog as a platform for advertising. Cha-ching! Another win-win, Company A gets to tap into your devoted following and you get some cash flow.
As we were about to embark on a round the world trip, we have been trying to establish out a good balance of the three methods listed above. We have started another IndieGoGo campaign. We are also contacting the tourism board of the countries where we will be delivering the letters.
Tourism boards love exposure and have the money to make your videos happen. A motivated travel content creator is a real treat for in most towns and cities so take a look at the places you’re planning on going and send the local tourism board an email. If you can pitch them with a great story you’re likely to land a deal.
Remember, the key to getting paid for your passion is confidence. As you travel, remember that you are a professional, act like one and you should be treated like one. Play the part, work hard and travel well.’