See all articles
Build Your Audience: Basic Rules for Beginner Travel Blogs
Nov 19, 2013 by Paul Fowler
Today it seems everyone and their dog has a blog, especially in the travel sphere. This means that you, as a probable-blogger, will find it hard to stand out among a sea of other writers. But some people manage to do it, right? So how?
Here are some basic rules for beginner travel blogs to make your travel blog relevant to your audience, and help to build your readership.
1. Give Details
Or: Your audience might not care as much as you do what you had for breakfast
Many people still think of blogging and their social media outlets as a kind of public diary. Indeed, in the travel blogging industry it is particularly prevalent, since many bloggers set out on their adventures to ‘find themselves’, and see their trip as an intensely personal experience.
No problem there, but if you want to grow your blog you have to remember your audience.
Blogging is, of course, ostensibly infused with the author’s personal opinions. This is part of the joy of blogging: the freedom to write in as much detail about whatever you fancy. Your average reader, however, isn't quite as interested in the fact that you had some delicious scrambled eggs breakfast this morning. Your average reader would only really care about that if they knew exactly what you had, exactly where you got it and exactly how much it cost - put simply, they want to be able to do the same as you. So be as detailed as possible. Take a notepad with you wherever you go and jot down all the information you can, ready to share it with the big wide world.
Churros in Madrid. But in which cafe?!
2. Be Visual
Or: People are lazy.
One of the most important things you can do if you want your travel blog to gain an audience is to use a lot of images - and preferably great ones. This means getting a good camera, of course, and it helps to have an eye.
For every blog post you should look to have at least 3 photos. People - the lazy creatures that they are - are generally unwilling to wade through walls of text about your travels. Images help you to keep them focused and inspired, which means they're more likely to engage with the text, too.
If you can sneak some incredible gifs
into your work, all the better.
3. Keep it Simple
Or: GOD GAVE ROCK AND ROLL TO YOU! (Kiss)
Keep It Simple, Stupid. If anyone's done business or indeed worked a day in their life, they've probably heard this saying. In writing a blog it's essential.
Fancying yourself as a writer of sorts (after all, you're globe-trotting and scribbling down your adventures, just like Kerouac or Orwell!) is easy to do, and kind of a nice feeling. Writing is not all about fancy prose and literary techniques, however. In fact, you should keep in mind that writing a travel blog shouldn't so much be a demonstration of your literary prowess so much as your ability to communicate a message. You're trying to get people interested in where you're going, which means you want to keep your prose crisp, concise and economic.
In other words, channel Hemingway, not Faulkner.
My family and I skiing
4. Create a Narrative
Or: How on earth did you manage to afford to go traveling?
This might sound contrary to some of the advice above, but I just want to be clear that you shouldn't completely rid your blog of personality. Those photos? Get in them. That prose? It's first person. Those details? You know them because you
Travel bloggers often get asked how they managed to give up everything and go traveling. This is because it's something everyone wants to do, and so finding out more information about you allows them to relate to you. In other words, if your reader can put themselves in your shoes it'll allow them to dream
So, if you're 40 years old, female and traveling solo, I want to hear about it. That might not fit my description, but knowing you're not some faceless robot made of money helps me to think my goal of travel may just be within my grasp.
5. Get Social
Or: Schmooze like a pro.
Yes I know you're already instagramming every meal you eat and every sight you see, but be sure to brush up on best practices and techniques in order to maximize your potential. Learn all about Twitter (did you know you have to put a period before you @ mention someone at the start of a Tweet in order for it to be seen by everyone? So ".@paulbfowler, thanks for the advice!" would be best practice). Get yourself on LinkedIn, Pinterest
and (obviously) Facebook and share your content on these networks.
And don't let the social strategy finish there. You have to talk to people, exchange addresses, emails, blogs. Write about each other and try to get links from each other. All this will build awareness and help you to get noticed.
6. Stick at it
Or: You can do it!
Write often. Write daily. Write in every moment you have spare. Write in every cafe you arrive at and have to wait for someone. Write when you're on the train. Write when you're on the bus, even though your handwriting is barely legible. Write tipsy, even if it's just a couple of details. Write on your hand when you get just a flicker of inspiration. Write down everything, because you will need it.
This will hone your skills. It will get you readers. So the most important piece of advice here is to write. To persevere.
What else would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.