Insider Advice: 8 Tips on Making it as a Travel Blogger
February 17, 2012 in Workshops and Tips
Have you ever wondered how veteran travel bloggers became so successful? We did!
We recently got a chance to host Getting Serious about Travel Blogging at Social Media Week in Toronto. We created an amazing panel of leading Canadian travel pros and veteran bloggers to offer their insider tips and expert advice that has made them successful. We threw a LOT of questions at them and they delivered! Among them Dave and Deb of The Planet D, Evelyn Hannon of Journey Woman, Account Coordinator Meredith Howard for High Road Communications, Editor Adrian Brijbassi for Vacay.ca, Ottawa Tourism‘s Director of Communications Jantine Van Kregten, and Social Media Manager Andrew Hickey for G Adventures.
TTM member Kristen from Hopscotch the Globe, rounds up what they had to say about getting started as a travel blogger, growing your blog, and making it! To read her full wrap-up, check out her original post.
1. “First and most importantly, set a goal and a game plan if you want to make blogging into a business.” – Dave and Deb/The PlanetD
This is so important. If you don’t have a set goal for your travel blog, then how will you be able to expect anything to come of it? You need to really think about how serious you want to take this. Do you want to make this into a full time job? Are you willing to put 8-15 hours a day into your blog? Spend some time to sit and write down your goals. You can set both short and long term goals for yourself but be realistic. Decide how much work you are willing to put into your blog. If you are honest with yourself about your goals and give yourself a reasonable time to achieve them, I guarantee that you will be successful.
2. “Find your niche and set yourself apart from everyone else.” – Dave and Deb/The PlanetD
This is a must because there are so many travel blogs out there now. What can you bring to the table that isn’t already out there? What are you good at? What interests you the most? What is going to drive your passion to produce quality and consistent material? What can you offer to the travel industry that is new, exciting, and is going to make them want to work with you? Find your niche, make it obvious, and stick with it!
3. “Be true to yourself. Be who you are!” – Evelyn Hannon/Journey Woman.
“Personality is what makes your readers come back to you and your travel blog.” – Dave and Deb/The PlanetD
Both of these points fit very well together. These points also fit along side with finding your niche. The readers who come to your blog are coming to your blog because they like you. They want to know what you are up to. You may have a lot of travel experience under your belt, but if you don’t demonstrate your work in an honest, true-to-yourself way, people aren’t going to become loyal followers. Let your personality shine through in your work. The one thing that you can truly be the best at in life is yourself. There is only one you!
4. “Take yourself seriously first and then others will take you seriously.” – Dave and Deb/The Planet D
If you are serious about making travel blogging a business, then you MUST take yourself seriously. Be professional. Be consistent. Treat your blog as a business and come across as a professional. That means create quality content, and keep it consistent. Another huge one is proof read your work (this is something I really need to work on myself). You may have a wonderful and interesting story, but if there are spelling and grammar errors, it really takes away from your work. When you approach industry professionals, talk about your blog in a serious way. Show them who you are and that you are serious about what you are doing. This will set you apart from the rest the people out there that call themselves professional travel bloggers but are nothing more than people who write about their travels as a hobby rather than a profession. Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is create a travel blog because it’s a fun a hobby for you, I say do it! But again, this goes back to setting goals and a game plan. Your travel blog can be whatever you want it to be, and you can take it as far you want to take it.
5. “Market yourself correctly and take yourself seriously as a brand and a lot of opportunities will be there for u.” – Dave and Deb/The PlanetD
Marketing yourself is key. If you want to attract readers, you need to get yourself out there. Find ways to showcase your work. Write guest posts for other travel blogs and write articles for huge travel networks such as Matador. Get yourself familiar with all the different social media platforms and how to use them to your benefit. The more you can expose yourself and send your work into cyberspace, the more hits and potential following you will gain in the process. As you continue to market yourself and develop your following, more and more opportunities will present themselves to you, but at the same time, you need to go out and create your own opportunities.
6. “Engagement is key! Is your audience listening to you? Get social proof ” – Meredith Howard/High Road Communications
“Influence is the key consideration – how engaged are the readers?” – Jantine Van Kregten/Ottawa Tourism
You may have 1000′s of Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but are they engaged? Are they commenting on your work? Are they asking questions and keeping the conversation flowing? The great thing about blogging is it gives readers a chance to express their own opinions and continue the conversation with the blogger just by leaving a comment. You build relationships with your readers this way, which is great! Numbers are numbers, and you should keep track of them, but what industry people are looking for are whether or not you are engaging your audience and keeping them coming back for more.
7. “Build your brand and then build brand partnerships.” – Dave and Deb/The PlanetD
This is the point where I feel I am at. I have built up Hopscotch the Globe. I have a steady following and I feel that I have established myself as a serious travel blogger. Let me remind you that I have been doing this for over a year and a half, so it definitely has taken time to get to where I am, and I still have so, so much to learn and a lot of growing to do. It has taken a while for me to establish what I have to offer to the travel community. I am a young travel addict, thrill seeking and adventure-enthusiast that teaches others that you don’t need to be rich to see and experience the world. Whatever your income, there are endless opportunities for you to go out and explore.
8. “Travel blogging is a job. It’s not about getting a free trip. Bloggers need to have a plan.” – Andrew Hickey/G Adventures
If you are looking for a free trip, then there are other ways of doing it. There are many travel contests out there where you can win a free trip. To have a successful travel blog, you have to have a lot more than a free trip in mind to keep you going. It takes a lot of time and commitment but if you preserver, you will see results. It is possible to make a living from travel blogging, but first you need to have the love and passion and let that drive you because it takes a while to get to the point of making money. Money should definitely not be your leading cause of starting a travel blog.