Travel blogs may be a dime a dozen, but a growing number stand out for being original, beautiful and actually helpful to aspiring travellers. Here’s how to make yours one of them, Kate Gibbs writes.
Travel now, it’s complicated. I have savvy acquaintances who spin the globe, find a destination, and instead of cobbling together an itinerary based on discount fares and customer review sites, they simply find sponsors.
A friend recently gathered a few like-minded bloggers, sent an email to a luxury travel company, came up with a catchy social media hashtag to cover the trip, and had the entire value of a four-night adventure covered for the group. Sure, these bloggers worked, they hashtagged, they Instagrammed and produced writing and imagery that sold the destination as nothing short of idyllic, but they travelled for free.
Thousands of writers and photographers now travel the world, registering their thoughts through platforms such as WordPress and Blogger. But as the mass of online destination-led missives has grown, few blogs stand out as reliable or commercially sustainable, engaging readers and stakeholders alike. This bolsters the few successful blogs further.
I’ve pressed upon successful blogging counterparts, learned from professional writers and photographers on what “does well”, what hooks readers and what gets travel stakeholders on board. Whether you want to travel like a professional blogger or just see a travel blog as an outlet to log your escapades, drawing the eyes of aspiring travellers like yourself, here are my tips on how to be a travel blogger that is best in class.
1. Be useful
The best bloggers are passionate about their area of interest, and at the pinnacle are those at the cutting edge of the travel world – the people with the inside know-how, local nous. These blogs are a valuable resource for frustrated readers flicking through out-of-date guidebooks and the rants of customer review sites.
Be objective and if you’re sponsored, make it clear this does not ensure a favourable write up (disclose free trips, and don’t blur the lines between editorial and advertorial without making it clear to your readers).
Find a niche and become an expert in that area to ensure loyal readers and followers and because, well, nobody can be a master of all. Write for your audience, not for yourself. Nobody wants to read your soliloquy - they want to be drawn-in, entertained, and they’re always looking for inspiration and advice for their own lives.
2. Be original
Other people, quite a few of them actually, already have travel blogs. Your goal should not be to make the tales, images, words, design and voice of your blog like theirs.
Instead, do something that so few aspiring writers and photographers think to do; make yours truly original. Start by writing a short paragraph mission statement – you can keep this to yourself or publish it, the aim is to give yourself a goal.
Keep learning, picking up new technology and knowledge and applying that to your craft. Choose a blog template that you can tweak, such as SquareSpace, and use photographs and words that you created. Imperfection is better than same same.
3. Use social media and engage
“If I had one dollar left, I’d spend it on PR.” Whether Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, said it or not, the value of marketing is unquestionably valuable to anyone wanting to put their product (creative or not) out there.
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are an accessible, cheap way to do this. Be natural, be useful, be reliable, and lure people to your blog by commenting on other blogs and on like-minded people via social media.
Post every day on social media. Engagement is a two way street – comment on other people’s posts and blogs, and when they comment on yours, promptly respond.
4. Create buzz
Engage your readers with “buzz” every now and then. Whether it’s a new campaign, a giveaway, and new hashtag before a trip, creating buzz not only lures people to what you’re saying, but gives you direction as you head out into the great unknown on yet another extraordinary adventure.
Want to hone your skills in the travel industry? The Certificate III in Travel is a nationally recognised qualification that could prepare you for a career as a travel consultant in the domestic or international travel industries. Find out more here.
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