Publisher Interview: Jeremy Jones of Living the Dream RTW

Publisher Interview: Jeremy Jones of Living the Dream RTW

Oh, the stories Mediavine publishers can tell. With more than 4,200 publishers as part of Mediavine (and growing!), we could open a library filled with stories of blogging success. 

But we’re too busy building things like our display advertising tools and new features for Create by Mediavine

So instead, we’re bringing you another installment in our Publisher Interview series. We’ve talked to publishers from across our spectrum of niches, like food blogger Karli Bitner of Cooking with Karli, finance writer RJ Weiss of The Ways to Wealth and fashion blogger Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

Today we’d like you to meet Jeremy Jones, publisher of two Mediavine sites, Living the Dream RTW and Discover the Burgh. He told us he used his Mediavine earnings to quit his day job in 2018, and we’re so excited he’s sharing his incredible story and blogging advice with us.

Thanks so much for joining us, Jeremy! 

Jeremy Jones

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and your everyday life.

I am a travel and local blogger based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (with the local blog being about Pittsburgh). It is just me, my wife and our dog and we split most of our time exploring the city or traveling, hence our two blog topics!

How did you get started blogging?

I started blogging in 2008 to chronicle a long-term trip I was going to take in 2010, but my wife came into the picture and wrecked everything. (Just kidding.) I ended up doing five months on that trip and we pushed the trip back to 2013-2014 so we could do an even bigger one together. When that one ended (read: we ran out of money as our blog wasn’t going anywhere) we returned to Pittsburgh, started that blog, and the rest is history.

Pittsburgh

How long have you been a Mediavine publisher? How did you first hear about us? What drew you to Mediavine as a partner for your display advertising?

I joined Mediavine in April 2017. I had heard about Mediavine months before that but was hesitant on signing exclusivity. It wasn’t until a friend of mine joined that I made the leap and now I regret waiting!

Describe your experience with Mediavine. What do you love about working with us?

Everything is great. The customer service is the best out of any company I deal with on my blogs and and I feel like the Mediavine team is always working hard to make me more money, which is awesome.

How has your Mediavine ad revenue changed your life for the better?

I got to quit my day job to blog full-time in August 2018. Considering 50-75% of my income in any given week is from Mediavine that is truly saying a lot!

Camels and Desert

How do you think the blogging industry has changed since you started your website?

It’s 100% different. In 2008 blogging wasn’t even an organized thing and there were few guides or established best practices to help people who were just starting out. Now they’re everywhere and you can also find social media groups dedicated for almost every blogging niche. But at the same time it is much more competitive.

What are the best and worst parts of blogging for you?

I love that blogging builds upon itself. If I do something to improve my site today odds are good it’ll stick around and provide some benefits for months or years down the road. But on a downside I always feel like I should be doing more, so I pushed myself really hard until the point that I made it my full-time job. Now I’m trying to find the balance between the two.

What has been your biggest success as an influencer?

I love SEO, so I think working on that end is my greatest success. Four years ago I still knew hardly anything about SEO and hated the idea of it, but made it my mission to become an expert. I was generating about 200 page views a day from Google back then and now (with an extra site in the mix) I am close to 5,000 page views a day. SEO works.

What are the most popular 3 posts on your blog?

By comparison, my most popular posts are all on my Pittsburgh blog, and they’re all round-ups that link out to dozens of other articles:
A Shopping and Eating Guide to Pittsburgh’s Strip District
50 Pittsburgh Breweries to Visit In and Around the City 
The Quest for the Best Reuben in Pittsburgh

Easter Island

What are your 3 personal favorite posts on your blog?

How To Visit Easter Island Without Spending A Ton of Money
156 Things To Do in Pittsburg to Stay Busy Every Month of the Year
How To Build Your Own Pushpin Travel Map for Less Than $50

What tools and resources do you use to manage your blog? What could you not live without? Why?

I can’t live without Mediavine, I’ll tell you that. I also think going to managed WordPress hosting was one of my best decisions because I now no longer have to spend 45 minutes on hold waiting for a customer service rep to help get my site back online after I accidentally crash it. Now if I ever have an issue (which are much more infrequent, too) I just shoot off an email and go to bed.

What is your biggest traffic source?

Google

What strategies have you used to make that your top traffic source?

SEO, of course. But I also use social media as well as an SEO tool. I have really good luck at getting content to go viral on social media with my Pittsburgh blog, and when I was starting out (read: no organic traffic on that site) a post got shared well over 10k times in a weekend and the next week was #2 in Google for an incredibly competitive term. It is now #1 and has been providing reliable traffic for quite some time now. Now I almost always see a bump in rankings after I get something shared a lot, but having a 100,000+ strong community also makes that one a bit easier now.

Do you have any advice for bloggers on how to grow their traffic?

Pay for advertising. Test, test, test, and test some more.

Anything else you’d like to add to help other bloggers grow?

Own your niche. Its much better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big one. You don’t need millions of page views a month to make a killing on Mediavine and get other outside opportunities. Be the expert on your topic and opportunities will follow.

City at night

What’s the one thing on any restaurant menu you MUST order?

I always ask the waiter or waitress to recommend something between two or three dishes. The “I’m deciding between…” bit. Almost always there is an enthusiastic response to one way more than others. I order that. And if there are sweet potato fries on the menu, those too.

Name something on your bucket list.

I’m saving my pennies to go to Antarctica. Specifically the mega tour that hits the Falklands and South Georgia as well.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited and why?

Everest base camp. Something about trekking in the Himalayas and the difficulty of getting there made it that much more rewarding. The best thing I’ve ever done without even hesitating.

What’s your favorite quote?

George Mallory’s response to why he wanted to climb Everest: “Because it’s there.”