It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of a financially independent lifestyle that sees you travel the world on a sponsored dime. But it’s incredibly difficult to actually achieve that lifestyle. Popular media has made travel blogging out to be a way to fast track your way to a jet-setting lifestyle. It all seems as though it is within arms reach, until you begin to calculate all of the factors that go into creating a successful blogging brand. From booking your first blogging trip to fine-tuning the SEO value of your posts, the whole venture of travel blogging can be daunting when approached without proper research. It’s not impossible, though.
To set yourself up to enjoy an enriching travel-blogging career, it’s important to realistically consider what it actually takes to be Insta-famous. When you Google how to stand out from other travel bloggers, you’ll come across plenty of vague advice. This advice could read a little something like “write great content”, “use social media” and “be yourself”. The clichés are abundant among travel-blogging advice columns, and it can be frustrating wading through the noise. That’s why we’re sharing a no-BS guide to travel blogging. Get amongst the success-bearing tips below:
Create Content That Readers Will Gravitate To
It seems obvious enough, but many bloggers feel the need to write on every topic that strikes their fancy in an attempt to attract as many readers as possible. This strategy does not bear blogging fruit for a number of reasons. From a branding perspective, it is best to be known for a certain niche. Over time, you can be seen as an authority in a field. So, it makes sense to stockpile many posts on your blog that deal with an area of interest. Search engines will love that they can easily categorize you, and potential blog followers will love how easy it was to find you. This tactic will also result in many readers staying on your blog to read post after post because you have plenty of content on a topic that interests them.
With that said, you may be sitting there wondering “okay, is it enough for my niche to simply be travel?” To that, I’ll give you a big no. The travel-blogging world is crowded enough with thousands of wanderlusters who left their heart in Paris, just like you. The key to success here is to have a unique slant. Maybe yours is that you travel the world with your parakeet. Perhaps you only post about destinations that are at risk of vanishing from sea-level rise. Whatever your wild card is, show it off. Let your personality shine through in your content — this is how you’ll find your tribe. You call with your unique content, they’ll answer with likes, shares and follows.
When refining your voice, it might make sense to try out different mediums to build an audience base. This could mean setting up a Youtube channel where you vlog once a week. Or, you could organize a Twitter chat once a month where you hold travel-related discussions using a hashtag. Even using Snapchat has become a way for many bloggers to connect with the community of readers in a very real way. When you peel away the filters and fancy-looking blog, there should be an engaging personality that your readers gravitate to. Sharing your day-to-day activities with light-hearted humor and candid convos will let your readers into your life. This is what cultivates a diehard group of followers that will see you more as a virtual friend rather than a celebrity.
Don’t See Other Bloggers as Competitors
In the blogging world, there is no such thing as winner takes all. Instead, many can shine brightly. Just, how is that possible? Well, readers don’t have to stick to just one website. There is arguably enough attention out there for all blogs to prosper - given that they have interesting, unique content. With over 7 billion people on this earth, it’s possible to carve out a slice of that population who’ll love exactly what you have to say.
In fact, it behooves you to make make nice with other bloggers so that you can collaborate. This would expose your content to another dedicated audience and widen your sphere of influence. So, you can stop the dangerous cycle of comparing yourself to other influencers. It is not productive. Instead, learn from other blogging success stories and use that knowledge to your benefit.
To find influencers to collaborate with, there are multiple approaches to securing amazing partnerships. Instead of reaching out to 100 travel bloggers you found on Instagram that are appealing to you simply because they have 1M+ followers. Instead, seek out fellow travel bloggers you could see yourself forging friendships with and travelling with. If you approach influencers you genuinely admire and have common areas of interest with, your collaborations will resonate with your target audience strongly because it will be perceived as a natural fit. With that said, it’s best to lead with little-to-no expectations. This translates into initially sending a short-and-sweet message saying something along the lines of “Hey, I think what you’re doing is so cool! Thank you for sharing your travels — I’m very inspired!” No over-the-top love. No throwing yourself at them. Just letting them know you think they’re awesome.
After fostering a genuine connection, explore potential collaborations such as guest blogging on each other’s websites, tagging each other in Instagram posts or even propose travelling together. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so take a shot but do so strategically.
Be a Perpetual Blogging Student
Read as much as you can about social media trends, traffic growth tactics and monetization strategies to make you a lean, mean blogging machine. Do this often and regularly to collect a treasure trove of knowledge that will help you in years to come. After all, why reinvent the wheel, when you can learn from other bloggers who achieved the level of success you’re after. Always keep in mind that your blog is a business, so you should treat it as such by continuously educating yourself.
Having said that, don’t restrict yourself to only reading travel guides or blogging reference material. Pick up a marketing book. Delve into accounting. Even a history book or two will help you grow into an even stronger writer and traveller. Sharpen your mind often, and you’ll undoubtedly reap the benefits.
Here’s our list of recommended reads that are guaranteed to make you a smarter blogger and a wiser person:
- Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
- How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes
- Canva - An easy way to create blog, social and marketing graphics for your blogging brand
- Moz’s SEO Guide - Don’t know where to start when it comes to search engine optimization, but know how important it is for your blog? Use this guide to prime yourself on all things SEO.
- Razor Social’s Google Keyword Planner Guide - This helpful post will guide you through finding keywords to inject into your blog posts. Keywords not only help readers find you, they can also help you flesh out your post ideas.
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer - Coming up with amazing, shareable blog titles can be tricky — especially when you aren’t sure how well they’ll actually get people to read your blog post. Well, CoSchedule has a solution for that issue. Their headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.
- Yoast’s Online SEO Training - A course that will teach you to tweak your blog posts so that search engines will favor them.
- Social Media & Content Marketing Bootcamp in Bali by the Institute of Code (that’s us!) - A team of four expert bloggers, with over half a million followers between them, will teach you everything you need to know to turn your blog or social media into a business, including content creation, SEO, brand development, brand partnerships, social media strategy, business development and photography — all of this done in beautiful Bali.