Social media stars pivot whereas caught at house
Travel vlogger Jorden Tually lives with his parents again but has focused on becoming a star on TikTok. Photo: Jorden Tually
When Jorden Tually returned to Australia in mid-March, he was stunned.
The travel blogger’s sponsored trip to Japan had just been cut short as the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum. A week later, Australia banned foreign travel.
After five years abroad making a living posting photos and videos of his globetrotting adventures on social media, Mr Tually returned to Newcastle and moved back to live with his parents.
Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem now live in a motor home while driving around Queensland. Photo: Alesha Bradford
“It’s been an odd change for someone who normally travels to a new country most weeks,” he said.
Since turning travel into a career, Mr. Tually has built a huge social media presence with nearly 180,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 50,000 subscribers on YouTube. His online influence means businesses and overseas tourism boards pay him to travel and promote places and products.
However, Mr Tually reached out to TikTok and began building a new empire out of his bedroom by repackaging his travel contents. In five months he garnered 1.6 million followers.
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“I posted three times a day for months, mostly because I had nothing else to do. It was the only thing I could see to make the most wise use of my time during the lockdown,” he said.
“I definitely wouldn’t have pushed it that much if I wasn’t stuck in a room.”
Mr. Tually estimates he lost up to $ 40,000 in revenue from canceled trips from COVID-19.
“I don’t mind the money too much,” he said. “For me, it’s just the experience of going to another country, meeting different people and experiencing a whole host of different things that I miss the most. I can’t put a dollar value on that.”
While bunkering in his bedroom, Mr Tually neglected his Instagram and YouTube engagements. However, that audience has grown more than ever as many TikTok followers are bleeding onto its other platforms. He hopes this will bring long-term benefits when travel is possible again.
Another couple who have been forced to rethink are travel bloggers Jarryd Salem and Alesha Bradford, who spent most of their time overseas up until March.
Jess Parry-Valentine and her husband Stephen had to change their content not only because of COVID-19 but also because of a baby. Photo: Jess Parry-Valentine
The Sydney couple run the NOMADasaurus website and are about to go on an adventure tour in Tajikistan.
Mr Salem said the pandemic “brought business to a standstill”.
“Most of our business has seen a sharp drop in income, but it hasn’t dried up completely,” he said.
In the good times, the couple made up to $ 30,000 a month in income from advertising, affiliate marketing, ambassadorships, tourism campaigns, public speaking, and content marketing. But most of it collapsed in March.
“We just flew back from Kyrgyzstan before the lockdowns and we had canceled contracts for the rest of the year within days.”
Now the couple live the lives of a delivery truck in Queensland in a motor home they bought. “We have focused on getting more focus on Australian content and destinations on our social media and blog content,” said Salem.
“It will take a long time to regain confidence in international travel and for us it may mean less work overseas. However, we are fortunate enough to call Australia home and after more than 12 years of international travel we look forward to to spend more time here and promote this beautiful country. “
Jess Parry-Valentine and her husband Stephen are another couple who have reinvented their online presence. Her Flying the Nest accounts have 890,000 YouTube subscribers and 280,000 Instagram followers.
Ms. Parry-Valentine recently had a baby so her channels are now focused on home videos.
“Fortunately with the switch to lifestyle [content] We have received more cooperation requests than before. We worked harder now than we did on our travels, “she said.
“Our engagement with our audiences has increased dramatically as they follow our journey as people, not necessarily for the countries we have visited for which we are so grateful.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Tually is planning his next move in his bedroom. Because he’s been spending so much time overseas lately, he’s secured an exemption for leaving the country, but leaving is a risk.
“I’m going to go overseas, but I don’t want to get stuck in a place that’s worse,” he said. “I would love to have Christmas in Australia because I would like to see my extended family after such a strange year. [But] If I leave, I probably won’t be back until the borders are open again.
“I have a few options, but it’s everywhere.”
See also: Why Aren’t Australians More Angry About Being Banned From Travel?
See also: Surf’s up while Aussies head north to work from the beach