How to Be a Travel Blogger: 10 Essential Tips
Tired of your normal 9 to 5 job? Jealous of those free-spirited bloggers you see gallivanting the world on your Instagram feed? Well, that could be you. Pack up and go, start a travel blog and never look back to your office job days. Sounds dreamy right? It also takes a whole lot of hard work to become a successful travel blogger on the road. But, if you do it well, you can transform your life for the better and start to rake in the likes and the money (whilst fulfilling all of your travel goals at the same time). Sure, it’s a competitive industry but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Take our 10 essential tips on how to become a successful travel blogger. Just don’t forget to thank us when you make it big...
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Find your niche
If you’re going to pave your way to becoming a successful travel blogger, you need to find your niche. There’s such an overload of the same thing on Instagram right now, so it’s important that you make yourself stand out. What makes YOU different? WHO will your target market be? HOW do you make people press ‘follow’ when they come across your page. If you don’t have a niche, it’s easier to fizzle out amongst Instagram’s existing travel influencers. Don’t get us wrong, there are some amazing bloggers out there who don’t really have a niche and do a bit of everything. It’s just a lot harder to start off that way. If you want to distinguish yourself as a blogger, become a master in one particular topic. Slowly but surely, people will begin to trust in you for information and will keep returning to your page.
Whether your niche is budget travel, food from around the world, LGBT travel (like Once Upon a Journey, pictured above), amazing hostels, travel photography or luxury travel, your niche should remain consistent across all platforms including your blog, Facebook and other social media platforms.
Learn how to self promote
Self promote yourself hard, especially when starting out. You can’t expect people to know about you - so it’s your job to tell them. Post your stuff EVERYWHERE, send your blogs to friends and family, reach out to the other influencers to check out your page. When starting out, you need to ask people to read your stuff, not the other way around.
However, you can’t sell yourself unless you’ve got the branding right. Brand yourself like a boss. You can do this in many ways. Number one; let your vibrant personality come across in your posts. This is something that Where's Mollie (pictured) does very well. Number 2; Think of a good Instagram handle. Something short-ish and snappy that people will remember. Number 3; give honest, relatable and genuine advice. Number 4; be an expert in your niche (as we’ve said before).
Get on social media
Set up separate social media accounts for your blogging work and actually USE THEM. Using these platforms is the best way to connect with an audience. Post your new blogs, post travel photos and most importantly build your community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest or Youtube.You should be posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at least once a day. Link your Facebook account to your Instagram account so it automatically updates with recent posts. Engage with your audience and ask them what they’d like to see more of, reply to comments and get to know your readers. Use hashtags (but not too many), make your captions engaging, inspiring and authentic and check-in to different locations.
Educate yourself on SEO
Search Engine Optimisation, aka SEO, is the secret to getting people to click onto your website organically. By organically, we mean making your blog rank high in a simple Google search. For example, if someone types into Google for ‘the best affordable hostels in London’, you want your blog to appear on the first page. Without any attempt at SEO, it’s almost impossible for your blog entries to make it to the first page of Google, and so an average researcher won’t see all your hard work!
So, what is it? In basic terms, SEO is about including as many relevant keywords in your post as you can, but in subtle ways. There are so many SEO courses you can take online so sign up and self teach yourself how to blog like a boss. There are so many articles available online too so the answers to good SEO are all out there.
Travel, travel, travel
How can you call yourself a travel blogger unless you actually get out there explore the world? Do it regularly. Travel as much as you can, learn as much as you can, and then post about it! The only way to create the coolest, up-to-date and original content is to go out there and get it yourself.
Sure, travelling can be expensive but if travel blogging is something you really want to pursue then you have to find a way to do it. Travel on a budget, start small, go on weekend trips, travel locally in your country, find a cheap flight. You have to start somewhere.
Take lots of photos
And while you’re travelling, don’t forget to take LOADS of photos. An Instagrammer is only as good as their photos, right? You don’t even need a super fancy camera these days, iPhones or Androids have good enough cameras to take you far in a blogging career. Keep practicing your photography, develop those skills and learn about how lighting affects an image. Another thing to remember is to let people take photos of you! Posting photos of yourself on your blog/social media is a great way for people to put a face to the name so that they can really connect with you.
Download an editing app
You probably see incredible travel photos all over Instagram without even realising they’ve been edited on an editing app. Get that saturation up on a sunset photo, don’t be afraid to play around with filters and get the hang of using an editing app. We recommend Visco, Photoshop ES and Lightroom. Just to give your photos that extra ooomph.
It ain’t easy, so don’t think it will be
While the life of a travel blogger may seem like a dream come true, it’s not always as easy as it looks. Essentially, travel blogging is a full time job and it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and laptop time. It’s no walk in the park. Start off with realistic expectations of what life on the road may be like. Yes you get to travel, but you’re working while you’re at it. You’ll have to think about your blog and base some things around that , whether it’s taking photos at every site you visit, remembering the names of every place you’ve eaten, writing from the hostel bed. You’re now working for yourself so schedule some time each day to get work done.
Keep it up
While there are so many amazing things about this career, it can sometimes get lonely if you go it alone. It takes a lot of guts too; you’ll be filming yourself and speaking to your phone camera A LOT in public places. Homesickness can also kick in. There’s a lot of competition out there so you will feel the pressure to keep up - but stay true to yourself and your values. It really can be the best job in the world if you make the most of it.
To really be successful as a travel blogger, you need to be proactive. Especially when it comes to partnerships with other brands. Don’t wait for them to approach you (it may never happen). Email brands you want to work with, ask them if they’d like to partner with you, see if you can promote their brand in return for a complimentary stay, offer to write a guest post for a sensible rate. If you make a good impression, they might want to work with you again and again. At the end of the day, you need to get paid to fund the rest of your travels, so go out and get those jobs. Once you’ve established yourself as a blogger, create a media pack to send to brands. Include your stats, social media reach, past partnership successes, number of followers - and be flexible!
Be natural and BE YOURSELF
Perhaps one of the most important tips. Be yourself. Being yourself sells! Some of our favourite travel bloggers do so well because they are so likeable, genuine and a dream to work with, like the German Backpacker (better known as Patrick Muntzinger). Check out Where’s Mollie, The German Backpacker, Adventures of Soph, The Common Wanderer, Travel Dave, Absolutely Lucy and more for some inspo on how to be real.
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Article by Shereen Sagoo
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