Nele Landero Flores, Founder
Sebastian Vogt, Online Marketing and Monetization

Donauwoerth, Germany
The CamperStyle team. The CamperStyle logo
Reframing the camping lifestyle

Nele Landero Flores and her husband Jalil weren’t ready for the traditional nine-to-five work arrangement. Offices, commutes, and strict hours just never appealed to them.

“My husband and I were always certain we wanted to do something different,” says Nele. “After we got married, instead of a regular honeymoon, we took a sabbatical for half a year and just traveled. During that time, we were thinking back and forth on projects we could start that we could support ourselves with. And then all of a sudden at 6:30 in the morning — in the lovely country of Spain — I woke up and was like ‘Let's do a camping magazine.’”

Nele and Jalil decided to make the site they had always needed during their travels. While researching where to go next, they were often greeted with ugly websites or unhelpful social media groups. The tone and discussion on these sites was rarely friendly or fun — so what if they created a site that was easy on the eyes, welcoming, and inspiring for young people in need of adventure?

Their answer? CamperStyle, Nele and Jalil’s vibrant, entertaining guide to the world of camping. “While our site has evolved over the years, the concept has remained the same,” says Nele. “We know the German camping industry can be a little ‘dusty’ and gray — we aim to make camping colorful.”

CamperStyle’s mission is to guide camping enthusiasts through their entire camping life — from choosing and buying the right vehicle to purchasing the right basic equipment and useful accessories. The site is full of DIY tutorials, technical guides, sustainability tips, checklists, campsite recommendations, route suggestions, recipes and much more.

“We knew the idea had potential, but we didn't know how to turn it into a business just yet. We didn’t yet understand the need for digitalization when presenting content online. So for the first two years, it was difficult gaining a bigger audience and making it into a business.

Then they met Sebastian Vogt, an online marketing expert who talked Nele and Jalil through the technical SEO best practices that would transform their business. “When we met him, we immediately connected on a personal level and a business level. It was very clear that we wanted to do this together.”

“I could tell right away Nele and Jalil wrote great content,” says Sebastian. “But like most journalists just starting out, they struggled to get found on Google and other search engines. And I think this SEO know-how was the skill I brought to the table when they hired me — and it’s helped them continue to reach new readers.”

The team on a trip in Spain.
Adventures in ad monetization

With SEO in place and the readership of the CamperStyle growing, the team set out to monetize the site and turn it into a sustainable business.

In the beginning, Nele and her husband wanted to avoid ads on their site. As a place for adventure and travel, adding any sort of commercial element to the site felt wrong. As a compromise, they decided to work directly with sponsors on some posts, but avoid ads.

“But we soon realized sponsorships are a very volatile source of income,” says Nele. “When these big companies have to save money, they always save in marketing. So they cut budgets, which affects our ability to make deals. We realized we needed other sources of income that were not as dependent on marketing budgets.”

“I knew AdSense would be a good possibility for CamperStyle because I had heard of people using AdSense to earn money with their web pages,” says Sebastian. “We set it up and the first income came in, and we thought ‘Okay, it's working.’ From there, we kept trying a bit more ads.”

Then, last summer, CamperStyle teamed up with Mediavine, a certified Google Publishing Partner who could help CamperStyle take their ad strategy to the next level. “I heard about them at an SEO conference in Germany. So we applied for Mediavine with CamperStyle and we got accepted. We made some quick technical adjustments and then we were able to get going with Mediavine — and it was a total game-changer.”

“We are absolutely satisfied with our strategy because it feels like an upward spiral,” says Nele. “Ads have been very helpful because they enable us to create more content because we can reinvest the money that we gain. So you invest something and immediately you see an outcome, which is nice.”

“Ads have been very helpful because they enable us to create more content because we can reinvest the money that we gain.”
In the camper, creating content.
More journeys await

“Our growth in ad revenue was tremendous,” says Nele. “So we started investing the money we were making from ads directly into new content and new experts that we hired to write for us. Now, we can write exactly the content we want and that our readers love, make money from it, and pay our writers appropriately.”

They’ve been able to hire two part-time employees for editorial assistance, coordinating content and communicating with freelancers, while also managing the social media channels and the news section. In addition, a varying number of freelancers work for CamperStyle, helping Nele and her team with the more technical aspects of content creation.

Plus, ads open up new opportunities for creative content that weren’t possible when sponsorships were the main source of revenue. “Now that we earn money through ads, we don't have to decide with each article if we can monetize it in a certain way. Now we can really work like a magazine — not a selling platform — and create the content that excites our readers.”

CamperStyle’s ad-supported model has enabled the team to think bigger about the type of content they create. It’s no longer limited to just articles, with the recent launch of a podcast, more videos, social content, and even a book for those just starting out with camping. “The formats are more diverse now, so readers can decide for themselves how they prefer to consume our content.”

It’s not just content freedom — Nele and her team also get to create the work-life balance that works for them and their values. They’re grateful that every day they get to do something that interests and excites them personally – coupled with the lifestyle they had always dreamed of. They get to work from the road without being tied to a specific location — getting to know new people and cultures, escaping the cold German winter, spending a lot of time in nature, and writing about things they love.

“At the moment, we're in Spain, on the southern coast with friends. We’re just writing and spending time with people we love. This has been the dream for my life since I was a child. Sometimes I wake up and I can't believe that I'm actually living it. This job and this type of monetizing has given me a lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of.”

About the Publisher

Fed up with their 9-5 office jobs and full of wanderlust, journalist Nele Landero Flores and her husband Jalil decided to radically change their lives. They quit in 2015, founded the camping online magazine CamperStyle and have been traveling all over Europe in their caravan ever since.

Sebastian Vogt is an online digital native and loves to travel. After he and his wife Stefanie sold or gave away everything they owned, they "accidentally" bought a motorhome and lived in it for 6 years while traveling around Europe and working on the road.
Nele by her camper.