Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course Review, From My Long Experience

Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course Review, From My Long Experience

UPDATE 2020: This review was originally focused on the MatadorU course, but since it no longer exists, I’ve redone it to focus on Superstar Blogging (SSB), which is another travel blogging course I took and enjoyed as much, if not more than MatadorU.

In fact, SSB is even more comprehensive than what MatadorU used to be. Based on how I’ve seen the course development in the last few years, I now consider that Superstar Blogging will give you more for your money in the long run.

Today I still see how I benefit on a daily basis through direct interaction and feedback from the SSB mentors and community about anything related to my blog.

Throughout this review, I share a bit more about why I think Superstar Blogging is the best travel blogging course out there.

Nomadic Matt Superstar Blogging Homepage

It’s been a good while since I took the MatadorU Travel Writing Course and Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course. Every now and then I receive emails from readers and travel enthusiasts who are interested in taking the course, yet are not too sure if it is worth it or not.

But, is it?

This review of Superstar Blogging is based on my experience while taking the course, and the after-effects of it.

Taking the Superstar Blogging Course

Even though when I took the Superstar Blogging course I had already run my blog for about five years, I still wanted to improve it and expand its online presence. I wanted to get a better structure and foundation on blog development and search engine optimization to better monetize my blog.

Superstar Blogging is divided into a series courses that focus on a different aspects of travel blogging, including The Business of Travel Blogging (the one I took), How to Become a Travel Writer (The closest to what the MatadorU Travel Writing Course used to be), Master the Art of Travel Photography, and How to Become a Travel Vlogger.

Superstar Blogging Courses list

Each Superstar Blogging course is currently priced at $99, which makes it affordable for anyone who is looking for targetted content in the area they need to improve, whether it is writing, photography, video, or overall blog business.

In addition to the content you see today, more content is added regularly as travel blogging evolves. In the years since I took the course, they’ve added double the amount of content in originally had. The trend still continues.

The courses not only inlcude their specific coursework, but in addition, you get exclusive access to paid writing, travel blogging collaborations, photography opportunities, and lifetime access to resources and continuing education. But to me, the most valuable asset is the secret facebook group for members.

Superstar Blogging’s Business of Travel Blogging course is divided into ten-week modules with several lessons per week, totalling 74 lessons. These modules cover: Building a Brand, Creating Content, Mastering Social Media, Developing Traffic, Affiliate Marketing, Making Money, and Growing Your Business, and more.

Superstar Blogging Course Syllabus

Several valuable lessons on the course helped me connect the dots between good writing, blogging, creating successful pitches, doing press trips, blog monetization, and other aspects that are important to make it in this competitive travel writing industry.

While the Business of Travel Blogging course has a timeframe of 10 weeks, I had the flexibility to take them whenever I wanted and to take as long as I needed to do the work. We have lifetime access to the content.

While I haven’t taken Superstar Blogging’s Travel Writing course, I’ve seen it’s content and it’s very similar to the MatadorU Travel Writing course I took, which helped me find my own voice as a travel writer and how to do narrative writing.

A similar approach is taken with the other two courses, but with photos and videos, respectively.

Nomadic Matt Superstar Blogging Course

Beyond taking the Superstar Blogging Course

Now, I’ll get to the after-effects of the course.  If I had to summarize it, I’d say that Superstar Blogging has been possibly the smartest decision I’ve taken regarding my travel-writing career.

As I mentioned before, its secret Facebook community is probably the best tool in it. People there are always hands-on to help with any questions you might have regarding your blog, how to grow it, monetize it, press trips, and more. Very strong and active community!

blogging superstar

As you know I’m doing a round the world trip now, but it didn’t start as intended, it actually started way better thanks to an opportunity that surfaced through MatadorU’s opportunity board. (Superstar Blogging did not exist when I started my trip, but they have a similar opportunity board)

My RTW started ahead of time with a three months assignment in Belize to cover everything about Maya Architecture, culture, and adventure.

It was an opportunity only available to students, and I was lucky to get it. These type of exclusive assignments happen all the time, and if you look again at the image above, they are currently looking for students in various countries for a special project.

At the Maya Ruins of Lubaantun
At Lubaantun in Belize on one of my Maya Architecture assignments.

Beyond these opportunities, which are extremely valuable and accessible, another key highlight of the course is that you actually network with people in the industry.

Thanks to this networking, I was able to do a two months Eurail trip across 23 countries in Europe and collaborate with Visit Norway, among others. Now and then people post on the facebook group about opportunities they know of and are looking for travel writers to take on assignment.

Eurail Travel
My route through all Europe with the Eurail Global Pass.

But, what if you don’t get to network, will you get these opportunities? Sure you can!

If you’re seriously thinking of becoming a travel blogger or a freelance travel writer, Superstar Blogging will give you a solid foundation on the structure and techniques of travel blogging, including pitching to publications and doing press trips. You will be set. I’ve used those techniques to get my own press trips and other forms of travel sponsorship.

In fact, Superstar Blogging also offers a module dedicated just to learn how to get press trips and sponsored travel.

So in the end, I highly recommend the Superstar Blogging, especially their Business of Travel Blogging course; and as I said, it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding my blog.

If you have more questions about the course or my experience, feel free to ask me!


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58 thoughts on “Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course Review, From My Long Experience”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I have wondered whether a course like this would help. I have classical writing skills – I was an attorney for 10 years, and I struggle with trying to make my writing more casual. I wondered if this kind of course would help, but it seems like you received access to other opportunities beyond the writing skills, and this is interesting to hear. Thanks.

    1. Hi Amber – In my case, I had no formal “training” in writing, so for me it was a great way to learn some structure. For you, maybe it will be a great way to loose the classical style (if that’s what you want) and approach writing more form a “show” point of view than a “tell” point of view.

      Hope it helps!

    1. In your opinion should I start my blog first and then take the Matador Network course for travel writing or do you believe that I should already have a blog going and then start it?

      1. You could do either. You could create your blog as you take the course and improve things as you learn. When I did the course I already had my blog up and running and implemented things as I learned them.

  2. Currently thinking about signing up… what I didn’t realise is that they expand their content and you’re able to have access to new content even after you’ve finished the course. That’s definitely a bonus.

  3. Hello,

    I was intrigued to read about your experience with MatadorU. I am a struggling actor with her MFA in acting in Los Angeles. I have recently decided I might be interested in travel writing (since the only thing I crave is acting and travel). I am planning on moving to NYC next year and wondered how good this course was and where to start. Thank you for your time!

    Thanks so much.

    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah, sorry for the late reply. As you might have read in the review, the course is excellent if you want to learn about travel writing and to introduce yourself into this industry. Where to start? I think you could give a try to the trial lesson they have to see if you like it. From there, you can start your own blog or approach various publications to publish your writing and gain experience.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Would love to get into war photography. I think it’s very tough to make the break.
    Would this be a stepping stone towards that goal?

    1. Garrett, You could try the Travel Photography course to learn the basic and tricks on photography. From there, you can specialize on war photography through other means. Have you read about Robert Capa? You should if you haven’t, he was a war photographer.

    1. Nemo, in general, Nat Geo does not recruit Matador U students to be part of their recurrent or full time staff. They do, though, give the opportunity to publish on their site (Nat Geo Traveler) where you can get great exposure for yourself and your blog, and build rapport among your peers and Nat Geo for possible future assignments.

  5. Lezlee Liljenberg

    Thank you for this information. I have been a writer for years for trade magazines and business but wanted to branch out. I own and operate two Allstate agencies in Texas so I find my time limited and unable to do as much writing as I would like. You inspired me however to get busy adding content to my blog and to take this class for added help.

  6. Hi!I am from Romania and I am almost to finish the highschool and I am wondering if after this course I could have any chances to work as a travel writer.I could do that as I am from this country?This is like a dream job to me.

    1. Hi Ana – My apologies on the late response. You can do the course from Romania or any country you wish. It is completely online and all the assignments are done online too. When it comes to possible assignments, the fact that you’re in Europe helps a bit too since many of the writing opportunities for trips and other comps also happen in Europe in general.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Hi,

    This was really helpful.
    But I have also come across various negative reviews from ex-students of Matador.

    This make me really confused !!

    And bdw You have a great blog .. 🙂

    1. Hi Kiran –

      Oh, well, as with any product or service, you can have really good and really bad reviews from different people. It all depends on what you expect out of it and how you work with it. It takes a lot of work, and to be honest, I can’t say that just because you took the course you will become a successful travel writer. No, it gives you the tools, but YOU have to apply them and work hard! Hope this helps!

  8. I’m currently a student majoring in English-Editing, Writing and Media and am interested in pursuing writing as a career. I’m not to sure if I would want to do travel writing but am intrigued by it. Is this schooling worth it if I want to just write for a magazine and such? I also read that you have networked with people. Is the networking you have done strictly with travel writing professionals or is there a possibility that I could network with say people from “Self” Magazine?
    thank you!

    1. Hi Anjelica –
      Sorry for the late reply. I think it is worth it because one of the core assignments is to write the “same” story in different ways for different publications or audiences. This is just an assignment, but it helps you see how you should pitch to different audiences in different magazines. Plus, when you do really good assignments, you could actually pitch them for publication too. Actually, one of my assignments was picked to be published in a book of short stories. I wasn’t expecting that, but it happened!

      On networking, it is always good to network with people of all sorts and industries. If you’re interested in “Self” Magazine, for example, you should start engaging with them through social media so they get to know you and recognize your presence. Once they do, they will be more open to listen to you and hopefully to collaborate with you. 😉

  9. Hello, Norbert! I would like to leave a question for discussion at #MatU Twitter Talks:

    A friend of mine is developing a company around health/ fitness. She and another entrepreneur host frequent podcasts, where they lead a discussion with a guest speaker around a certain topic. I love this idea but haven’t actually listened; it’s in a different time zone and I always seem to have some excuse for not downloading the podcast and tuning in (too busy…can’t figure it out…want to check my email instead…) Do you think podcasts are a viable part of travel journalism? If so, how are they best executed?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Emily –

      First, sorry for the late reply! I believe podcasts are very good and quite essential to gather a different kind of audience in your blog. Not everyone has time to read posts, but some of those some might be open to listening to a podcast while exercising, cooking, driving, etc.

      That being said, for some reason podcasts are not that big in the travel blogging industry, not sure why. I know of a few travel sites that do produce them, though, but can’t say ion how successful are they.

      I haven’t considered doing a podcast since I personally don’t think I work well with verbal information, as opposed to written information.

      How to execute it best? This is just a guess, but from the podcasts I’ve followed and like, the most successful ones are the ones that give you a set of tips, tools, and resources for you to get inspired and replicate the results of what they presented.

  10. Hello Norbert

    I hope you have a safe trip in Europe and if you decide to travel in Belgium let me know;). I’m interested to enroll into Travel Writing because well i would like to travel the world and share my discoveries with everyone. But i live in Belgium and English isn’t my native language. Would it be a huge problem if my grammar wasn’t that good? would i get feedback that would help my English get better? if not there would be no point of taking the course, because well i would be a lousy travel writer if my English isn’t any good.

    Help me and i will return the favor by telling you a awesome place in Italy and if you go to that place. I wants to see the pictures because that city doesn’t do that spot the justice it deserve. 😉

    Kind Regards
    Maikel

    1. Hi Maikel –

      Thanks! I definitely love Belgium, so I hope to return there!

      Regarding your English and grammar. English is not my first language either, and while I can write it pretty well, I still do make mistakes here and there with my spelling and grammar. While your grammar will not dictate how successful your blog is or how good your stories are, it is always good to improve it and be good.

      In MatadorU, every time you submit an assignment they will correct your grammar and spelling, and explain to you why such thing is written in one way instead of the other. For me this was essential since I picked up several grammar tips during the course.

      I think you should give the course a test run to see if you’re into it. You can work on your assignments as many times as you want and you also get feedback from other students when you submit them in the forum.

      Lastly, sorry for the late reply, but if you’re still keen, let me know of that spot in Italy!

  11. HI,

    I live in New Zealand and was intrigued to sign up with MatadorU. But i wasn’t sure whether to spend that much money with out a solid chance of getting work or a travelling journalism opportunity because of where im based in the world.

    Thank you,
    Jess

    1. Hi Jess –

      One of the good things about travel writing is that when it comes to typical writing assignments, location is not that important. Now, if you’re trying to get assignments where the trip is included, there you might have a bit of a disadvantage if the company is looking for American or European based writers. As you know, flying to and from New Zealand is a bit expensive. But still, I’ve known of great writing opportunities and travel writing trips done in NZ, so it is all about looking and pitching the right opportunities!

      Cheers!
      Norbert

  12. I have a few questions: 1.) Do you pay for your trips or are the trips payed for you? 2.) is it possible for a travel writer to participate in this program without earning a college degree yet? 3.) In your opinion, can a student attend both college(online) and do this job? 4.) Which country are you from? By the way, thank you for the article, it was very inspiring.

    1. Hi Tonie –
      1) I pay for 90% of my trips.
      2) Yes, it is possible to do the MatadorU program without a college degree. Pretty much anyone who is interested in travel writing can do it.
      3) I believe that if you’re attending an online college, you can certainly do this. The important factor here is how well do you manage your time? If you believe you can handle both at the same time, then go for it!
      4) I’m from Puerto Rico, and you?
      Cheers!

  13. Hi Norbert!
    I’m fresh out of high school and am on my way to get a bachelors of journalism in post-secondary. I’ve got an acute case of wanderlust. Travelling& writing(and perhaps even getting paid for it) would be a dream job for me. I read in a previous comment that you pay for 90% of your trips. This is sort of a personal question so feel free not to answer but how do you afford it? Freelance writing? Editing?
    Being only 17 , my parents desire for my career to have a sense of stability but this doesn’t hold much value to me. I’d like to experience the world.
    As long as I’m not homeless or stressing about paying rent,of course.
    What’s your opinion ? & If I decide to take a course at MatadorU , should I wait until I’m done university?
    -confused youngin’

    1. Hi Sareema –

      Sorry for the late reply. But sure! I’d be happy to answer it. I mostly work freelance and pay for my trips through article writing for other sites, commissions earned through the blog, advertising, and other freelancing like the selling of photography and such. Money comes from different sources in bits and pieces.

      In terms of your parents’ perspective. It will be really hard for them to see this as a “stable” career since in fact, it is not the most stable in its own nature, but a lot of people manage to live through travel writing. The important thing here is, how much do you really want this? How focused and organized are you with work? Are you willing to work hard for something that could possibly not give a lot of return in the beginning (or ever)?

      On taking the course… you can take it at your own pace, so depending on how busy you currently feel with your current university courses I would recommend to either take it or wait till later. Actually, if you believe you’re good with time and feel driven and organized (like I asked you before) then why not take it to get some of the experience beforehand?

      If you have any other question, feel free to let me know.

      Cheers!
      Norbert

  14. Hello!

    Thank you for your post! I am very interested in signing up for MatadorU’s Travel Writing and Travel Photography courses concurrently. I also just applied for a Working Holiday Visa for Australia a few days ago and I am currently waiting to hear back. If I start my MatadorU courses in January 2015 and leave for Australia (assuming I am granted the visa) in mid-February, would I be able to advertise myself as available for freelance assignments in Australia and surrounding areas? I realize I will have to work harder and be self-disciplined to complete the two courses while also working in Australia to support myself until I get assignments (which I may have to work only part-time to allow enough time in the day for the courses), but is this something you believe is doable? I would appreciate any advice! Thank you!

    1. Hi Chrissy –

      Sorry for the late reply. Sure, you can advertise yourself from any part of the world. That’s one of the advantages of becoming a travel writer/digital nomad. Sure, assignments could take a while before you get them and you might need to work hard and pitch a lot, but I believe it is doable if you’re disciplined and really want to pursue this. I would recommend though, to do one course first, and then the other as it could be a bit overwhelming. But still, doable if you’re driven and organized with your time.

      Cheers!
      Norbert

  15. Hi,

    This is great! Thanks for confirming the legitimacy of the program! Does the program assist you in obtaining visas for the countries that you will visit?

    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Cate

    1. Hi Cate –

      Oh yes, the program is the real deal. On visas, no, it doesn’t. Every country has its own immigration rules and every traveler has its own visa requirements according to their passport. While for americans and certain europeans it might be easy to travel most of the world, someone traveling with an Egyptian passport might find it a lot more complex visa wise. Since this is a logistical “nightmare” that can’t be summed or presented in simple services (that are outside the travel blogging course), they simply don’t cover it.

      Having said that, if you have any concern regarding getting your visas for any press trip obtained through the MatadorU course, I’m sure they’ll be able to at least direct you to the correct place to apply for it yourself.

      Cheers!
      Norbert

  16. Hello – I’m wondering since you have to pay for your own trips, do you make a decent living from doing this job?

    Cheers

    1. Hi Scott –

      I can’t speak for everyone who does this, but I personally make a decent living to go pretty much everywhere I wish to visit. But it is not just about how I earn the money, it is also how I spend it on the road. I know how to be conscious with my spending, so I don’t spend a lot. Additionally, there are paid trips every now and then through collaborations with companies and tourism boards. So, it all varies depending on how you approach this type of work and with who you associate and network.

  17. Thank you so much for this insightful post! I heard the Matador U highly recommended from another travel blogger, but I googled some more reviews on it, and yours was one of the first that popped up. I’m so glad I read it, I think I will pursue the course!

    1. I’m right there with you, Melinda! See you in the course! Thank you Norbert for sharing your experience. Crediting MatadorU or not, you have achieved precisely what many of us are striving for. Keep up the great work!

  18. Hi Norbert,

    Thanks for the great review! I’m debating between MetadorU and Superstar Blogging, and I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on their differences. MatadorU looks more established and well connected with bigger organizations like Nat Geo, etc. Your thoughts?

    I have a background in product design so I’m pretty comfortable with creating 2D and 3D imagery, and such. What I need now is to polish my writing skills and to find more connections in the travel industry. I wish to pitch content that includes writing and visual imagery (illustrations, graphic designs) to travel magazines/guides/organizations/publishers. For the assignments in MetadorU, are there any unique submissions that are complemented with imagery? (infographics, illustrations, etc)

    Does MetadorU teach technical aspects of creating/managing a website? Because I don’t really need that. Currently I use Squarespace for hosting my website (site under construction at the moment) so I don’t need to learn how to use WordPress. I know Travel Blog Success teaches students how to use WordPress so it doesn’t apply to me.

    Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Ada –

      I think you’re correct on your assumption that MatadorU is best for you. TBS focuses more on the technical aspect of creating and running a blog, while MatadorU focuses more on improving and polishing your writing (it is really strong on that), as well as pitching major publications and establishing yourself as a writer. Still, it goes over some technical aspects of running a blog, since these days it has become an important tool for journalist and writers alike.

      Since I took the course (both courses, actually) it has changed in format and content. I believe now the visual imagery sections have been separated into a course itself, like travel photography and videography. I’m sure the writing course might still touch over a bit of it like it used to do, but from your email I get the sense you might already know the basics.

      I’d say you should focus on MatadorU, whether on the travel writing course or travel photography course, or both! (I know they are expensive 🙁 )

      Hope this helps, and please, if you have any other question, feel free to let me know.

      Cheers!

      1. Did you take TBS as well?
        Did you do more than one course at MetadorU?
        How soon do assignments get reviewed by instructors?

        Thanks for the answers Norbert!

        1. I did TBS too, about 4 years ago. With Matador, I only did the travel writing course, though I’be been interested in doing the Photography one. Assignments were reviewed one or two days after submitted. And, if things are still running similar to before, even other students can give some input to help improve/edit your assignment, in addition to what the faculty may comment.

          Happy to help if you have any other questions!

          Cheers!

  19. Hey norbert,
    I am basically pursuing a graduation degree which is not related to journalism and interested in matador travel fimmaking course so can you please tell me what are career and opportunities that I can grab.Hope for an early reply!
    Thanks

    1. Hi Akshay –

      Well, regarding career and opportunities I can’t say anything with a guarantee, because it all depends on your work and performance as a filmmaker, but, it could go from working with media outlets as a videographer, to establishing yourself as a freelance videographer or vlogger. You could work with several companies on their media campaigns. Who knows, you could even work in the entertainment industry. The possibilities are vast, but it all depends on what you’re interested, your talents, and your drive. But again, what opportunities you can grab, I can’t say for sure since this is a dynamic environment that changes all the time. At least, with the course you’ll have the necessary knowledge to better pave your path towards any opportunity you might want.

  20. Hi Norbert,
    I’m really interested in taking in the course but the only thing that’s bugging me is whether there’s a chance I could land a travel writing opportunity where my trip would be funded (as is usually with writers who work for magazines)?
    Thanks,
    Ratika

    1. Hi Ratika – Sorry for the late reply. Opportunities are, but it all depends on how you perform as a travel writer/journalist and how actively you pursue each of these opportunities. Every now and then I see news of people getting jobs or press trips thanks to the “marketplace” in MatadorU. In fact, my round the world trip started as a press trip via MatadorU too. 😉

  21. Hello, I am a junior in high school and I am trying to find a school where I can study travel journalism. Is MatadorU like a college course, or is it more of a extra study course? I’ve never heard of it until I researched travel journalism majors so I am not very informed on how the course works. I’ve read a lot of good reviews like your blog and was interested, I just need more information about how it works.

    Thank you!

  22. Thank you so much for your review!
    But I’m a bit confused about which course should I take.

    I’m 19 with no experience with writing other then writing for fun. I have no degree and just started working for myself. And I live in Isreal.

    I have no clue on blogging or how to build a blog in the first place I realized that tbs is all about that? And matador is more focused on writing? Which one then should I get Also when it comes to opportunity and diving more into traveling? Or in other words for a complete newbie?

    I loved your review and would love to know what you have to say
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Arlette –

      Sorry for the late reply. Well, Both courses are good, and as you got from the review, MatadorU is more focused on writing. On the other hand, I believe TBS will be a more well round course that could help you dig in the travel writing world and take you from step one to “the finish” on how to create a professional blog and how to potentially get gigs to travel around the world.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Yes, it is something I’ve seen recently and I personally know one of the women who is speaking out against them. Other than that, I can’t say anything as I’m not fully informed on the situation.

      1. So you’re still on board supporting them with a positive review of their program as you’re not fully informed on the situation?

        1. Hi Kristin –

          I haven’t dug deeper into the situation, so can’t say anything about it. If you want to get more information about it, I highly recommend contacting my friend @collazoprojects via her twitter as she’s experienced this sexism firsthand and expressed it publicly on social media.

          By the way, as you may have noticed on the post, my support now goes mostly to TBS (but for reasons not related to this situation).

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