Suzy: Week 7 Goals – Adding Fresh Content

Suzy's Goals for Week 7: Keep adding fresh travel content to her Travel Blog
2 October 2009 Post Author:
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If you’re wondering what this Case Study is all about, please read the introductory post from Week One.

In last week’s installment of this Case Study, we covered part of Level 4 of the Flow Chart and discussed the differences between Blog Posts, Articles, and Reviews.

This week we’re continuing Level 4 with some methods for adding interesting content to your travel blog, as well as tips for finding blog post ideas and staying inspired.

Keeping the Travel Content Flowing

Because Suzy is a longtime working travel writer, she travels frequently and continually has plenty of new content for her travel articles, which are regularly published in several respected outlets. However, her existing travel writing runs the gamut of all types of destinations, whereas her new travel blog is very focused on one small travel niche – she’s very knowledgeable about it, but worried about her ability to keep adding good content that is niche-focused.

One problem that many new travel writers struggle with is what to write about when they’re NOT traveling, primarily because they fall into the trap of thinking that every blog post or article has to be about a trip they’ve taken.
Each step in the Flow Chart links to explanations, free tools, and resources
There are a variety of ways to keep adding fresh content to your travel blog that your readers will enjoy, however I’ll focus this week on two that are very easy to do:

  • Interviews
  • Guest Author Posts

Interviews

Find others within your travel niche and ask if you can interview them (the closer you stay relevant to your travel niche, the greater the likelihood that your readers will find it interesting). This is another area where Suzy shines – she has both conducted interviews and been interviewed.

Although written interviews are certainly acceptable and still commonplace, consider recording your interview as a podcast, or – if you and the person you’re interviewing are in close proximity – perhaps you might do a video interview.

With a Mac and iChat you can record a split-screen video interview regardless of where you and your interviewee are located. We’ll cover that in a future blog post!
Tips for recording an interview:

  • Research both the person you plan to interview and the subject so that you can ask intelligent questions;
  • Avoid asking questions for which the answers can easily be found on your interviewee’s website – try to find out something new that your readers/listeners can’t learn elsewhere;
  • Provide your questions well in advance of your scheduled time for the interview – this gives your interviewee time to think about how best to answer;
  • Avoid talking about yourself and keep the focus on the person you’re interviewing;

More interview tips can be found on our prior post Top 5 Audio & Video Tips for Travel Bloggers

Guest Author Posts

In a previous post I outlined the benefits of Guest Author posts, which also contains tips for both hosting a guest author and being a guest author, so I’ll just summarize here by saying that it’s a great way to fill in gaps in your own content, and other travel bloggers are often happy to oblige! Spend a little time reading the travel blogs of others related to yours, and you’ll quickly identify some great travel writers that you could invite to submit Guest Posts.

Finding Inspiration

One question that Suzy asked me is “how do I keep finding great writing ideas for my new travel blog?”. Ideally if you’ve chosen a travel niche about which you’re both knowledgeable and passionate, the ideas should flow, however, sometimes life gets in the way of our creative thinking, and we all suffer periods of writer’s block.

Two great methods of finding news and information that I use and recommend frequently are Google Alerts and RSS Feeds.

Google Alerts is a service where you can ask Google to search out specific information and send you an email with whatever it finds. It’s free, and easy to set up – simply enter as many keywords and phrases related to your travel niche as you like, and enter your email address. You can change the keywords to refine the results if needed.

RSS Feeds from every website and blog related to your travel niche should be subscribed to in your Feed Reader . It’s important to know what everyone else in your travel niche is writing about, and RSS Feeds are an easy way to stay on top of it all. Be sure to include websites of related companies that offer products and services you think would be of interest to your readers.

If you don’t already have one, you can find dozens of free Feed Readers, such as those offered by Google and Yahoo, and some browsers, such as Safari, feature feed readers built-in. Which one to choose is a matter of personal preference. I love iGoogle, the personalized home page you set up with Google, and add the RSS Feeds that I want to follow as Gadgets to my home page.

Once you have Google Alerts and a number of RSS Feeds set up, on a daily basis you should begin receiving news and information related to your blog’s topic that should inspire new ideas, give you news to report on, other websites to link to, and help you identify potential guest authors!

Stay tuned! Next week we dive into how to get traffic – those all-important site visitors we crave and need. Follow the techniques and tips that Suzy learned for attracting visitors, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and building inbound links.

~Trisha

What other ways do you find content for your travel blog? Share your tips!

4 Responses to “Suzy: Week 7 Goals – Adding Fresh Content”

  1. Marcus Adkins
    Twitter: MarcusAdkins
    says:

    I love this series Trisha it is full of great tips and ideas!
    Looking forward to next week.
    Lucky for me the niche I have chosen is my home state Florida.
    So a short day trip can give me as much content as an expensive journey.
    Great advise about Interviews.
    I just started incorporating them in my “People” section.
    I have two more Interviews in the works Including a Park Ranger and a Florida Photographer.

    http://GetawaysByDesign.com

  2. Dave and Deb
    Twitter: theplanetd
    says:

    Content is the most important thing in my opinion. You suggestions of Interviews and guest posts are both great ideas that have worked for us as well (as you know:)). I really enjoy this series as it really helps everyone improve their travel blog.

    Dave

    • Trisha
      Twitter: TravelWriting
      says:

      Thanks Dave! I appreciate the feedback.

      I agree with you that it really does boil down to having good content being the single most important factor. You and Deb are doing a GREAT job at ThePlanetD with your content – it’s a great combination of articles about the terrific adventures you’ve taken, interesting interviews, and interesting guest post. Impressive!

  3. SarahQT says:

    This is one area where I’m falling short. Thanks for the great ideas like signing up for Google Alerts. Sometimes I think to myself, “…what am I going to write today?” Traveling does help generate ideas. Maybe I’ll start to watch more travel shows, been slacking a bit.

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