A frequently asked question we get from our community is, “how do I become a travel blogger?” Or “are there any tips for the new travel blogger you can provide?”
Well, in this post I will attempt to answer these questions. Note the use of the word attempt here!
Go onto any travel blog and skip past the beautiful photos of some exotic, tropical destination that you have been fantasizing about for years and look for a post that explains how much work goes into being a travel blogger.
And I get it. For some it may be a shock, but for those of you here who want to take blogging seriously, and I hope that’s all of you, why else would you be on this site, it can be a huge inspiration and challenge to set yourself.
So in answer to the first question mentioned above, a lot of work and sacrifice.
That is obvious though right, read any of my other posts and you will see that hard work is going to be a key factor in any blog, not just a travel blog. So let’s look at some specifics here to try and help you get started and set you on your way to becoming a new travel blogger.
1. Find your Travel Blogger Niche
This is key for any blog. However, for travel blogs, you really want to niche down to be as specific as you can, the market is flooded with travel blogs, so you are going to want to appeal to your specific audience, rather than being more general with your blog. Not being specific will mean you face tougher competition to rank in Google, and let’s be honest for a moment. How many of you go past page 2, or even page 1 for that matter?
In order to do this, think about where you have been, or where you would love to go, what inspires you etc. etc. If you want your blog to be as authentic as possible, you need to experience these places yourself, get the lay of the land, feel what it’s like to be emerged in that place, that culture, the people, the scenery. I could go on.
However, if you cannot yet afford to go jet setting to these dream destinations, think smaller. Think of where you have been and what you could write about. For instance, you live in New York, you can easily write about this, all the best places to eat, the places not in the tourists guide books. This could apply to anywhere.
Go ahead and think about it, you may be surprised with what you can come up with.
2. Understand how you will Monetise your Travel Blog
In this section I will talk about 3 of the main ways a blog makes money.
For anyone who is looking to turn blogging into a full time job, you need to understand what you can do to monetise your blog. Please take care with this step, there are a lot of blogs out there that splash any old advertisements or affiliate links on their website, thinking that it will draw in the big bucks.
It will only get you so much, but every little helps right, when your first starting out!
Advertising and Affiliate Marketing for the new Travel Blogger
Be honest with me now, how annoyed do you get when the website takes a while to load, when it finally does load, it is laden with advertisements or there are random affiliate links in the post that have literally nothing to do with the subject being discussed in the post.
Make sure that if you are going down the advertisement route on your blog, it is relative. The same should be said of affiliate links. Maybe you want to write a post about a certain backpack that has stood you in good stead whilst travelling, that would be a great affiliate link. Or perhaps there are some great inspiring travel books you want to recommend to your audience. This would be a good place to insert an Amazon affiliate link to these books.
Perhaps you can recommend a great budget airline etc. etc.
However, for the love of god, and for your audience’s sanity, try to keep it relative! No one wants a blog post about traveling across the Fjords of Norway on a budget, interrupted by a bloody make-up ad or affiliate link. Or they do, maybe it’s just me. *I have been called, grumpy old man on more than 12 occasions.*
I would urge all of you to have a read through Brandon Gaille’s Blog Income Report Post.
In this report, not only does he break down the most profitable blog niches to write about, but he also breaks down what advertising and affiliate marketing strategies have been used. It really is a fascinating read and you will be pleased to know that the Travel blog niche is up there with the highest earners.
I will just leave these snippets here as a little inspiration for what can be achieved when using affiliate marketing and advertising the right way. All pulled from the blog post mentioned above.
Create a product…
Are you an expert on travelling on a very tight budget? Then write a, “how to guide” you can sell as a book. Has your blog taken off and now you understand the mechanics of how this whole thing works? Create a course for how to blog, however, make it relative to your niche.
Create a travel guide, books, a course about how to take great pictures etc.
In conclusion, find a way to grow your income over and above Advertising and Affiliate Marketing. Think of it this way, it is a good way to make money whilst you are hiking in the Rocky Mountains, relaxing on a beach or just chilling in a hammock.
3. Build a Community
I cannot emphasize this point enough. Building a community is one of the most important steps to becoming a full time blogger and it should not be overlooked. Your community will continue to come to you for inspiration and advice. It is also why your blog should be niche, it will help build your community with the type of quality audience that you want.
Quality over quantity!
One of the best ways to build your community is through your email list. Please do not take this lightly. Your email list is your community. Treat them well and they will keep coming back to you over and over again.
4. Get Real
It is going to take time before you can do this full time. When reading through blogs, it seems that they all say the same thing, it took a year before things really took off.
Importantly, do not expect big things straight away. As I have already alluded to on many posts, it takes hard work, sacrifices and time. But if you stick with it, then things will turn around.
For example, organic traffic. You put it in a lot of keyword research for a blog post, yet 2 months later, and it still hasn’t reached page 1 on google. It can be 3 – 4 months before your blog post reaches its potential, providing your keyword research is of quality. Be patient and do the work.
Stick with it!
You will start to see results and you can write about more than just your local area!
5. Be Prepared to Invest in Your Travel Blog
Blogging isn’t free.
There are numerous costs to think about.
- Buying a Domain
- Copywriters (If you can afford to!)
The list goes on.
You need to think of your blog as a business, every business has expenses. Not only monetary but time related expenses. Since you’re likely just starting out, which is why you are here, after the expenses of the few items above, amongst others, your time is going to be a major expense.
You are going to need to research your topic, and yes I mean per post, you will need to take plenty of pictures, make copious amounts of notes as you travel whilst immersing yourself in the culture, create and edit videos for your posts.
Read any travel blog, and they talk about the long hours that they put into it, to provide their audience with the best possible content.
A business invests in itself, don’t make the mistake of thinking you shouldn’t do the same with your blog.
6. Engage with the Travel Blogger Community
Join Facebook Groups, and participate!
Facebook Groups can be a great way to not only get to know your potential audience and thus your community, but to also network with your piers.
Take this opportunity. Engage.
The blogging community is full of people who are willing to help and offer advice. Are you struggling to understand how to post on your wordpress blog, ask your piers.
People, in general, are good. You will be pleasantly surprised how much people are willing to help.
On the flip side of this, don’t be afraid to offer people help and advice when they ask for it. Not only is it just a nice thing to do, but people may start to view you as an authority within the group.
Try to attend applicable conferences. These events are great networking opportunities. This will help you become better known within your market and industry, this can only be a good thing. It could lead to potential sales, opportunities to guest post, opportunities to collaborate, etc.
7. Guest post on other Travel Blogs
This is a great way to get your name out there, as someone who can contribute with quality to the market, and become an authority in the niche.
To find blogs to guest post on you simply type the below into google:
“Your niche + write for us”
“New York Travel write for us”
You want to make sure that once you have clicked on a link, you read the submission guidelines. Each site is likely to have their own rules and guidelines for guest posting. After all they know their audience best!
Browse the current blog posts, get a feel for the style of post that the company will publish. Look at the structure of the posts. Give yourself the best opportunity to guest post on this site by doing the research, everything you need to know to increase your chances will be right there on the site.
Once you have done your research put your post together and submit your pitch. Be careful, you do not want to submit the same post to multiple sites, be sure to change the content and tailor it to each site. Some sites will have rules you need to follow regarding this, highlighted in their guidelines.
Do your research!
There are numerous opportunities to guest post. Don’t limit yourself to just doing a quick search and pitching to the first 3-5 blogs you find. Widen your outreach and go for it.
Some people will be initially scared of this, it is common. People do not like to be rejected, human nature, but hey, what is the worst that can happen? They say no.
That’s it. Big deal.
Do not take it personally, use it as an opportunity to learn from the no. Re-read your post, maybe you were just not a right fit for the site, maybe your style of writing wasn’t right for them, could you have changed your style slightly? Was your pitch right, how could you change your pitch? Were you too pushy, or too needy?
Learn from the no. Once you change your mindset from being offended to wanting to learn from the disappointment, then not only will you be more willing to increase the amount of pitches you send out, but you will become better at the whole process. Researching, finding the right blogs for you, and pitching. Win-win
So there you have it!
Ready to become the new travel blogger you dreamed of? Learn some tips and advice on what you need to start a blog here.