Starting up a travel blog can be a great way to share your stories and adventures from the road.
But how does one transition their travel blog from having a few family and friends checking it out to actually making it a leader in the travel blog community?
Many aspiring travel writers start up a blog and magically think that their writing skills and vivid imagery will attract readers to their site. After all you are traveling to some of the most interesting places on the planet, so why wouldn’t people read what you write, right?
Wrong. There are thousands of travel blogs on the Internet and it can be very difficult to become noticed among the mass of bloggers writing about the same destinations that you are writing about.
My husband Dave and I ran into this same problem over our years of travel. We loved writing about our adventures and enjoyed sharing our photos with friends and family. But when we returned home, we realized that not many people really checked out our emails or posts.
We wondered why we bothered to write and take photographs when nobody was really paying attention.
It was just before our last trip to Africa that we decided to market ourselves and try to make something out of our travels. Our focus was to attract people with the same interests and love of adventure. We wanted people to visit our site because they wanted to be there. Our family and friends had stopped by once in a while because it was their duty to be supportive, but that doesn’t really generate a lot of traffic or interest.
Having traveled extensively for the past 10 years, we decided that we needed to set ourselves apart from other travelers. We wanted to entice readers to visit our site. So we started to look into unique ways to travel and we knew that we wanted to focus on traveling as a couple.
When we read about the Tour d’Afrique, a 12,000 km cycling race from Cairo to Cape Town, we knew that that was our chance to really turn our travels into a career.
We hired a publicist to gain publicity about this crazy undertaking and before we knew it, people were calling us “Canada’s Adventure Couple“.
We had already done adventures around the world together, but crossing a continent by pedal power alone really cemented our reputation as world-class adventurers. It didn’t hurt that I won the women’s race and that Dave placed 5th, and held his own against some very elite men’s cyclists.
We wrote articles for newspapers, we appeared on television, and we were interviewed on the radio. Things were looking like they were going in the right direction.
Then problems occurred when we returned home from Africa. We didn’t know how to keep the momentum going and soon our readership faltered. We eventually found ourselves back at work trying to decide if we were going to travel again, or settle down once and for all.
It didn’t take long for us to conclude that we would never settle down, so in April we decided to give it one last push. We had climbed to the pinnacles of Borneo, cycled the continent of Africa, summitted Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kinabalu. We had taken part in adventures on five continents and there was no way we were going to give up on being Canada’s Adventure Couple.
We realized that just because we weren’t traveling at the moment didn’t mean that we couldn’t share all of our past experiences with our readers. We visited several websites and read eBooks on how to make a travel blog work . We studied other successful blogs and found a great deal of information right here at The Travel Writers Exchange.
We were already ahead of the game. We had a niche and a very unique one at that. However, a niche alone will not make a travel blog succeed.
It became a full time job working on developing our following. We joined all of the social media networks like Twitter, Stumbleupon and the travelblogexchange. At first we didn’t have any followers. We wondered what we were doing on those sites. But in no time, things grew.
When I look back to just a few months ago, I can’t believe how bold we were. We already had a lot of content on our site because we were blogging through Africa, so we had the confidence to really sell ourselves. We contacted many of the respected bloggers out there asking for advice and links, and took part in discussions on forums. We introduced ourselves to the community and engaged in conversations with other bloggers.
We visited dozens of websites and left comments everywhere. Soon if a person visited another travel site, they would most likely see our Gravatar at the bottom of the post, giving out opinion.
When people asked us for an interview or to write a guest post, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. Eventually our brand was quite visible on the Internet and people started to think of us as an authority on adventure travel. Finally it wasn’t just us thinking that we were an authority on adventure travel. We were giving advice and sharing stories with people that actually wanted to hear about it.
We cannot get over how giving and supportive everyone in the travel writing community is. We have developed strong relationships with other travel bloggers. We all support each other in promoting each other’s sites, we share information and experiences, and at times we chat about the trials and tribulations of being a travel blogger.
Our site focuses on adventure travel to remote destinations. That is our identity out there in cyberspace and our blog attracts other extreme travelers and backpackers, as well as people that love to read and learn about travel but aren’t intent on leaving home. When we travel, we make it an adventure wherever we go.
There is no other career that I would want after blogging about adventure travel for these past few months. I can’t wait to get on the road to India in November, and to share the adventures of Dave and Deb with the world.
What have you done to brand yourself or your travel blog? Share your experience!