I’ve written over 800 blog posts over the last few years on the PureTravel blog and wanted to share a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way, in case you’re curious about starting your very own travel blog.
Be prepared to put the hours in – There’s no such thing as 'clocking off' if you intend to establish a travel blog. Be prepared for all aspects of travel to overtake every moment of your life; when you’re reading a magazine, watching a movie or even catching up on the news, there’s always inspiration there for a post. When you start out you’ll have to dedicate the hours to producing interesting posts to gather a readership and social following. It’s so much more than ‘just writing’, there’s research, editing photos and videos, networking and social media projects too. And if your blog really takes off you can start thinking about the next stage with advertising and contributing posts to other sites.
It takes over your life – To become a travel blogger and get established you’ll need to write regularly, so be prepared to set aside a few hours every day. Write about what you know to start off with and focus on a niche. As you build followers and gather comments on your posts you’ll soon find out what your readership likes and more importantly what they don’t like! Try to establish your ‘voice’ as well so readers come back to read your thoughts and opinions. Avoid being overtly offensive and steer clear of cussing; try to entertain, educate and inspire.
Keep it real – Sorry to say that there’s no shortcut to writing interesting blog posts. Sure you could farm your posts out to other writers but then you defeat the whole object of writing your own personal travel blog! Publishing inspiring photo posts or those with videos mix it up a little. Use the embed tool on YouTube to add on-topic videos, but run the video through first to make sure the content is suitable. And when using photos, make sure they’ve either been taken by you or have a Creative Commons licence that authorises you to use them; otherwise you could land yourself a hefty fine!
Blogging is different to writing – I love laying in the bath reading the in-depth articles in National Geographic which are constructed with richly detailed prose and accompanied with often stark yet inspiring photos. But this is serious writing which just wouldn’t work for a general travel blog. You’ve got one opportunity to make an impression so craft a really catchy title and include a shareable picture.
Don’t expect everyone to get it – You’ll get some negative comments and feedback, its par for the course. Which can be pretty frustrating after you’ve poured your heart and soul (and considerable time) into producing a post. Learn to develop a thicker skin and if you’ve made a genuine mistake (wrong photo, wrong dates, wrong caption etc) correct it. It’s a learning curve.
Always deliver – Your blog post will need to deliver on its headline: there’s no point crafting a killer header if the actual content is weak or inaccurate. And take the time to tag photos correctly and apply blog tags so your post is categorised correctly (and found) in the search engines.
Get social – Install social share buttons (like the ones on the left, hint hint) and connect with your social media accounts. If you’re using a blog platform such as Wordpress this is easily done by adding a social plugin in the admin section. Then you can share your posts as soon as you publish them, driving interest and followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
Enjoy – You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and really enjoy it and this will come across in your writing. Don’t just give it face-time – in fact it takes real determination to still be chugging away after 12 months.
Feel free to leave your comments and tips in the comments section below….