One of the best things about traveling are the unpredictable situations one gets into.
Like when you realize you are in remote little village without any Internet access.
While this is great for relaxing and focusing on exploring the surroundings, you might get stressed that you’re neglecting your readers. Especially if your income depends on your writing.
Here are few tips to help:
1) Luck happens to those prepared
If you know you might be without time to write or without Internet access, you can prepare and write posts in advance. Get automatically published while you are traveling. As you can’t write about location where you are heading prior to your journey, consider some of these post ideas:
- Interview a fellow traveller
- Conduct a contest
- “How to” article (pack light, budget travel, pick a good hotel etc.)
- “10 best ways to… ” (learn a new language, plan your trip etc.)
- “5 most popular… ” (beaches, hotels etc.)
- “7 myths about…” (solo female travel, budget travel etc.)
- Spotlight your favourite posts of all times or other selection of your previous work
Don’t forget to schedule the publishing at a consistent time. If you usually publish your work on Mondays and Thursdays, publish on those days even when you are away.
2) Less is more, or how to deal with social media
First of all, you don’t have to be everywhere. It’s pointless to be present on all social media sites. Even if you didn’t travel, it would be still difficult to engage with your readers on so many platforms.
Instead, pick 2 or 3 that suit you most and focus on communication there. Or choose your platforms according to its users. Where is your target group present? Read about differences between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
And don’t forget – quality is better than quantity.
3) Automatize, it’s the 21st Century!
So, you’ve picked 2 or 3 social media platforms and now wonder how on earth will you manage to keep in touch will all the followers while traveling? There are several tools to make a writer’s life easier.
- TweetAdder is an automated Twitter management system that thanks people who RT you, auto-responds and brings you more followers. It saves lot of time, so it’s really worth it.
- HootSuite is another great tool to manage your social media accounts. You can add 5 accounts for free and schedule Facebook statuses or Tweets, analyze your traffic or track mentions of you.
- MailChimp is one of the most popular newsletter services with pretty templates and option for scheduling. Make a custom template first and then it’s just a matter of few clicks to add posts and schedule it on date when you are gone.
- If you use Gmail, Boomerang is great tool for automatizing your email – scheduling messages and sending you back unanswered emails.
4) At least make it fun
If you decide not to be in touch with your readers while you travel, you should make it fun. Announce a month without Facebook and encourage your readers to go to ‘rehab’ with you. Or promise them something cool while they wait for your next post – like a free e-book or some other goodie. You might also send them an e-book or prepare videos/podcasts so they have something to read/watch/listen until you come back.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get other people to write guest posts on your blog while you wander, or hire a virtual assistant to complete some content and post a slideshow/book/video/podcast on your blog on your behalf. For guest posts you might contact writers here on Travel Writers Exchange, and some options for finding a virtual assistant include Freelancer, eLance, or Guru.
Once you have a virtual assistant, you can write articles while on a bus or train, and send them by email to your VA to edit and publish them once you get Internet access. You can also use the smartphone voice-to-text app Dragon to dictate your notes (Editor’s Note: currently only available for Android – the Dragon app for iPhone is expected sometime in 2013). Your VA can also respond to comments on your blog for you and other minor work to save your precious time.
Remember – be honest. Being honest, being yourself is probably the main reason you have readers in the first place. Everyone loves genuine writing. So if something doesn’t go smoothly and you end up without any contact with your readers for a long period of time, don’t let them guess – explain the reason for being silent. Make it even a funny story how you got lost in Thai jungle or ended up in Peruvian hospital after breaking your leg when you tried to climb that huge rock to get a cool snap of Machu Picchu.
How do you communicate with your fans while traveling? Share your tips in comments below!
I suppose I knew all these things, but it’s good to have it all in one place. Thanks for posting.
Something that I tried was to schedule a set of posts simply featuring an image with a short narrative to go live at the same time each day for a week and let readers know that there would be a series of “Awesome Pic of the Day” for the next seven days.
I recently hired a fulltime VA and wish I had done it years ago. Is already one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Excellent tips; having a laptop and a 3G mobile phone with internet access, should ensure that your only a few seconds away from your target audience.