How to take a different approach to travel blogging?

March 3, 2020
Reading time 5 – 7 minutes
The founders of Reisedepeschen

There’s a special feeling when we see our products used by passionate people, ready to change the world for the better. It doesn’t matter if they do that by having a small shop where they sell specialty coffee, or, on the contrary, an impressive website where dozens of creative contribute with engaging stories. Both use-cases keep our wheels spinning.

Vlad, our CTO, is the handyman who manages WUpdates, our stand-alone platform where we manage and deliver themes’ updates, changelogs, and such. It’s also the place where I land at least once a week to skim through websites made with our premium WordPress products.

I do that from a marketer’s perspective because I often get inspired by how our growing community is wisely using our themes. Frequently, they push the boundaries and go far away from what we’re presenting in the demo content. For instance, Vasco is a travel blog theme made for people who want to see the world and make money on the go, but some folks use it to create a tribe around women working in startups and small businesses.

We like seeing our products at work, no matter the approach our customers have when playing around with them. One example that caught my eye and impressed me in terms of complexity is Reisedepeschen — a travel blog and a publishing house that started small and succeeded to skyjacked their trajectory.

Please make yourself comfortable and find out how Marianna and Johannes, the guys in charge of the project, took their passion and digital activity to a whole new level.


Who’s behind the Reisedepeschen’s scene?


We are Marianna and Johannes, two passionate travelers, who love to share their stories and experiences. Marianna studied Literature and Johannes is a graphic designer. We work together with lots of amazing authors for the travel blog and for our books – they share the same passion for open-minded traveling and storytelling.

As with the blog, we want to use the books to encourage conscious and sustainable travel. 


How it all started and where are you today?


Johannes traveled the world 2010/2011 and took us on his journey with inspiring posts, photographs, and videos. While arriving at home in Germany he won the prestigious Grimme Online Award for his travel blog and decided to share the attention: to let others write their stories on Reisedepeschen, too.

It was the start to work as a professional blogger, the following publicity made the transition very easy. 

After many years of freelancing as travel bloggers and working also with publishing houses, he wanted to go a step further and founded 2017 together with Marianna their own publishing house


What made you switch from freelancing to creating a business?


The value of a great book has not lost due to the boom in travel blogs, quite on the contrary. Our books act as a manual link between readers and virtual channels. A book will continue to be the ideal medium for many topics.

We are totally overwhelmed by how much support we get and how many people love our books.

According to the principle of digital detox, we do not try to create content that requires the reader to immediately use the smartphone. As with the blog, we want to use the books to encourage conscious and sustainable travel


How would you describe your publisher’s work?


We try to find and give answers to some important questions: How does it feel to be the stranger? Which experiences can I take with me and translate them into everyday life? What is it like to be a foreigner, to take on new roles, to be confronted with other values?

If you’re traveling with open senses, taking journeys has also a social and political dimension.


How does your business model work these days?


We are totally overwhelmed by how much support we get and how many people love our books. We already printed second editions of three books, which is an amazing signal for us – there are lots of people who value print.

But we are also still on the start-up level, which means that every support we can get, shares, book sells, media awareness is necessary for us to go further.

We could establish together with other committed bloggers an ethical code to give bloggers and readers a clear separation between personal and sponsored stories.   


How does the shop sustains your revenue?


The shop is a small mainstay for us, but not our main source of income. We offer our community the opportunity to support us by purchasing directly from us, but we are also very happy when customers go to their local bookstore.


What was the driver for the crowdfunding campaign?


Our crowdfunding campaign (we aimed for $5K, but raised $16K) we helped us to get a feel for the first three books – i.e. how many we should print in the first run. It helped us of course finance this printing. Most helpful was the marketing effect, though.


What motivates all these people to write for you?


The 15 are the current authors, who publish regularly. Actually, we have almost 200 authors, who wrote for us. We are so grateful, that we are able to work with many talented people!

The main reason to contribute to Reisedepeschen is partly to reach a bigger audience – but also to be part of a beautiful project, where the standard of quality is set quite high.  


What do you plan to change within your industry?


We feel home in the travel blogging scene and are very happy that we could establish together with other committed bloggers an ethical code to give bloggers and readers a clear separation between personal and sponsored stories.   

The publishing scene is very different from our digital base, it’s a very traditional, hundred years old industry with sometimes quite old school habits. We love being part of this, but we need to accept that everything works much slower than we are used to. We observe the publishing scene, but we concentrate on our own business.

I was happy to see that some contributors got their way in Romania as well, telling stories about the famous Dracula. This reminds me that however big this world can be, there are times where it feels it’s a small village. Through their articles and photos, Marianna and Johannes narrow the gap between travelers and show us various ways of exploring such lifechanging experiences.

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