What ‘Southern Charm’ Landon Clements Needs To Do To Make ‘Trovare’ Profitable And Legit [Opinion]

Watching Landon Clements trying to build her business over three seasons on Southern Charm has been painful, and has given fans more than a bit of schadenfreude, but it’s time for some of us to put our money where our mouth is, and instead of giggling, give some real, concrete criticism with tips on how to make her travel website (formerly ROAM, and now Trovare). Landon, you are not the first adult who tries in vain to please a parent, but if you really want to do this on your own, with a bit of help and hard work, you can have this up and running like a boss in a month.

Landon, I know that you have gotten dumped on and that Southern Charm fans and the press have had quite the field day (and I am among them), but if you want to get Trovare on people’s minds, you will read on, as it can only help. These tips are not complete, as I’m sure there are people out there with expertise including legal tips about copyright and trademark that could add even more assistance. Some in the media have suggested that you are merely a dilettante, but I think you were just really naive.

But first, you need to know that the market that you have chosen, whether it’s a travel site or travel blog is pretty saturated, and your focus as to what you really want from this enterprise has been, well, scattered. You have changed it through time, but the website Trovare as it is is not what you said you wanted, as you claimed you wanted something that was interactive in a way that could help people find places that were “Roam-worthy.”

But whether you were trying to emulate Thrillist, Zagats, Town & Country Travel and Leisure, or even Goop Go, these are some big sites with serious name recognition, so why not take a step back and evaluate your mission statement?

WHERE ROAM WAS BORN

And the mission statement that you shared through Southern Charm mentions that it is the little things that make travel adventures worth it.

“Trovare was born from our passion for living life to the fullest. No matter what the final destination, we revel in the people we meet, foods we eat, beverages we drink, and new things discovered along the way. We recognize it’s the little things that ultimately make life worth living. Here, at Trovare you’ll find guides to, and dispatches from, our journeys.”

When I originally wrote about and reviewed ROAM/Trovare, your reviews were lukewarm, and your launch party on Southern Charm was a disaster. At that time, and even now, I get notes from social media asking specific questions, including this big one: If you knew this was going to be your storyline on Southern Charm, why did you not have the project vetted with experts (and not the humiliating ones they set you up with on camera)? You’ve admitted on the show that you are still living on dad’s dime, so why not use some coin to hire a consultant to tell you the real home truths? Landon, you are not the first to be thrown under the bus by Bravo and Haymaker (you don’t think these companies have someone who knows how to launch an online business?) as the spoiler or the girl we love to hate, but you don’t need to accept that title. In the words of the sage Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME

I know that the original name for your business was ROAM, and you still include the term ROAM on your site, but there are many articles and resources through government agencies like the SBA (Small Business Administration). Through the SBA you can find articles on searching and selecting a business name, and finally, registering your business entity. Searches like this, available to everyone could have saved you some aggravation and embarrassment with the ROAM deal.

Then there is the business site LinkedIn where with one search you would have found that there was already a Roam Travel Company and two others which would have possibly caused you legal headaches. You could even have hired a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property to help you nail down a seriously strong business name.

But Trovare? I get it, it’s Italian, it adds an air of sophistication, but you can do better, and it’s not too late. Even if you aren’t legally violating anyone’s brand, brand confusion is a real thing, and you don’t want to dilute something you’ve worked on for three years. Watch television for more than an hour, and you will see a commercial for Trivago. Is it the same? No. Does it do exactly what you want to do? No, but you must admit that they are in the travel industry, they are an international company (launched in Germany), and they are also an app. Why not instead take advantage of your name recognition, and use your platform on Bravo?

LET’S MAKE LOTS OF MONEY

But let’s say you want to stick with Trovare, and want to move forward, how is what you have profitable? As I understand it, there are two main ways to make money from what you have right now, and you aren’t doing either of them. First, would be a site offering a service or even a magazine that charges a subscription fee. Next would be a blog or travel site with advertisers. All of the sites that would be your competition have advertisers, and many have some click bait, but still, that is what is paying their bills. Having worked in a variety of magazine offices, I can tell you that subscriptions don’t pay the bills, advertisers do. That’s why the September issues of Vogue and Vanity Fair are so huge because they are loaded with high-priced advertising. Nobody rides for free Landon, so if this is a real business and not a hobby, you need to at least find a way to break even.

A good place to start is by checking out the Google site Adsense, where there are articles on making a profit with a blog. There are other options out there, but getting some actual advertisers on your page would make you look legit. I’d even bet that Bravo would be willing to throw you a bone to advertise upcoming shows. Adsense will also let you get to know analytics, and learn to make your site work for you.


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NUTS AND BOLTS

Lastly, I just want to touch on some basics. Nobody is perfect, and that’s why we have editors. If you don’t have a copy editor, get one. If you have a copy editor, get a new one. On Trovare right now, there are some grammar and spelling errors, as well as dead links and empty pages. Can I suggest you try Grammarly? It’s a start, but it can’t hurt.

Your main link “Roam With Us” gives your readers nothing. This has been presented on Southern Charm as your business, but when you land on the page, the first person listed is Anna Lombardi, who you initially presented as your intern. Lombardi doesn’t even come before Clements alphabetically, so what gives? You are supposed to be the face of the company, so step up.

So when your reader clicks on “Anna Lombardi” they then are presented with “Roaming with Anna Young.” Huh? Are they the same person? If so, for continuity, pick with Young or Lombardi, or even hyphenate both, but make the change. But even worse, when you click on your picture and name, you get nothing. At least put in a welcome letter, explain why people should subscribe, and let them know what you are working on. Lastly, when you click on contact, you get “About Us.” If people want to send you a note or a suggestion, it is frustrating to get the wrong page.

I know this is a lot to digest, but if you want to create a legitimate business, it’s a place to start.

Do you have some questions or suggestions on how Landon Clements can make her Southern Charm-launched business a success?

[Featured Image by Bravo]