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更新时间:2017-11-20 11:32:06 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The couple paid $200K a year to travel

Collette and Scott Stohler have what looks like the dream career. They travel the world for six months a year and are paid to post photos, videos, newsletters and blogs on their website and social media channels.

柯莱特·斯托勒(Collette Stohler)和斯科特·斯托勒(Scott Stohler)拥有令很多人梦寐以求的职业。他们每年出门旅行6个月,然后在自己的网站和社交媒体上发一些照片、视频和文章就能赚钱。

Their Instagram feed (@Roamaroo) is a brightly coloured montage of perfect moments – kayaking in turquoise waters, clinking glasses on balconies or snuggling on pristine beaches. But, Collette says, behind the scenes “it’s not as glamorous as you see in a feed. Just know that we’re on the beach only for a moment to take a photo.”


While the average cubicle-dweller may find it hard to sympathise, she says the life of an “influencer” requires relentless hard work: thousands are competing for the same marketing dollars.


The number of social media influencers – people like the Stohlers with huge audiences and companies eager to piggyback on their success – is growing, and the industry is evolving rapidly. But only a tiny minority are able to make a living doing so. Philip Trippenbach, head of influencer at marketing firm Edelman, says that while “the best” can command astronomical fees, “those who are merely pretty good, get nothing, essentially.” The cost of the average sponsored post, according to Adweek, is around $300.

网红指的是像斯托勒夫妇这种拥有大量粉丝的社交媒体用户,他们能够吸引企业的赞助。网红越来越多,网红行业也在快速发展。但只有很少人能够借此维持生计。营销公司Edelman网红业务负责人菲利普·特里彭巴赫(Philip Trippenbach)表示,虽然顶尖网红收入惊人,但"那些只能达到优秀水平的网红几乎赚不到钱。"Adweek的数据显示,平均每篇商业赞助的“软文”费用在300美元左右。

Collette and Scott – who are based in Los Angeles and aged 30 and 34, respectively – charge around $2,000 per post, and earn around $200,000 per year, most of which is ploughed back into the business. But, Scott says, “it doesn’t just happen. You need to hustle. For every 50 pitches we’ll only hear a couple of yeses. You have to have that grit and that passion.”


The couple, previously an engineering manager and an ad producer, launched Roamaroo two years ago. They had come to the end of a seven-month, round-the-world trip they decided to take with money saved for a second home, after listening to a podcast about adventurous sabbaticals. Towards the end of their journey, they realised that their social media following had been growing, and decided to turn their nomadic lifestyle into a business.


Now, they work together with tourist boards, hotel groups and other brands to plan trips that they document and publish on their website and social media accounts.


Posting for profit


The Stohlers began by approaching potential clients and working out deals for writing, photographing and filming their holidays.


Now, when working with a destination company such as a hotel, this involves all-expenses-paid trips to exotic locations, plus a “content creation fee”.  Other companies simply ask their products to be featured in photos that they might take, for instance while hiking near their home in California.


While the clients can dictate how many Instagram posts are in the deal, for example, the couple gets final say on what they write and what photos to publish.


The Stohlers say branded posts make up around 25% of their social media feed, and now, while they still pitch for work, the companies also come to them.


This means planning travel around client destinations most of the time, rather than picking their own destinations. When they’re away, Collette says, “the majority of our time is spent shooting. We rarely have time to ‘kick back’ on work trips, but sometimes we're able to add a day at the end (on our own expense) to explore.”


‘Middle class’ income


Kit Whistler and J.R. Switchgrass, another Southern Californian couple with a love for travel, have accumulated more than 150,000 Instagram followers as they document their nomadic lifestyle on the handle @IdleTheoryBus, which involves swimming naked in creeks, hiking in America’s natural parks, and star-gazing in the wilderness.

另外一对热衷旅行的南加州夫妻吉特·惠斯勒(Kit Whistler)和J·R·斯威齐格拉斯(J.R. Switchgrass)已经在Instagram上吸引了超过15万粉丝。他们在@IdleTheoryBus帐号上记录了自己的旅行生活,包括在小溪里裸泳,在美国自然公园里徒步,在野外观看满天繁星。

They experimented with supporting themselves as influencers in 2015, after three years on the road in the orange VW camper van that doubles as their home. But the couple, who are now in their late twenties, became disillusioned fast. “You can’t make a living selling 150,000 followers to brands,” Kit says. “Not unless every post is a sponsored post, or unless you want to live at the poverty level.”


Now they have just one long-term deal, with a water-bottle company that they’re obliged to place in photos once a month, and which provides about 10% of their income.


The rest of their income, which they describe as “middle-class”, comes from sales of their self-published book of photos and stories, as well as real-estate photography for marketing brochures and manual labour. “We have built real relationships online, across years, with people who respect our art and want us to make more of it,” Kit says. “Companies can't really pay enough for that.”


Although making a living as an influencer can be hard, the industry is evolving fast, and there are no hard-and-fast rules about anything right now, especially involving pay. The effectiveness of influencer marketing can be hard to measure – a study by Rakuten Marketing found 38% of brands are unable to tell whether influencer activity actually drives sales, and 86% are unsure how influencers calculate fees. Despite this, 75% were planning on increasing their influencer spend in the next year. “This is really the Wild West right now,” Trippenbach says.

虽然把网红作为维持生计的手段并非易事,但这个行业的确在快速发展,而且目前仍然没有固定规则,尤其是在付费方面。网红营销的效果很难衡量——Rakuten Marketing的一项研究发现,38%的品牌无法判断网红的活动是否对他们的销售起到了促进作用,86%不确定网红如何计算费用。尽管如此,还是有75%的企业计划在今后一年增加网红开支。"现在真是拓荒时代。"特里彭巴赫说。

“Is this a way you can make money?” he asks. “Yes. And the source of that money is going to increase. But if you really want to do this, you have to be amazing. You’ve got to stop my thumbs when I’m waking up in the morning and scrolling through Instagram. You’re competing with the video of my niece walking for the first time. You have to match that emotional intensity.”