There was a great interview with Gary Arndt featured on Travelllll.com the other day. Gary’s a great source of information on blogging and travel because he’s done it, done it successfully and he’s good at it. (Sidenote: his travel blog is called Everything. Everywhere. and you can find him on Twitter under @everywheretrip). Suffice to say, he’s made it his everyday job. I took some notes on the video because it’s a half hour. I also incorporated some pictures from my trip to Italy because it’s fun and it makes this post more “me” (advice put into effect).
1. Focus on your RSS and your fans and less on your pageviews and Stumble Upon (not that they’re not important). It’s not about what your audience has seen, it’s about what your audience is going to see next. Sidenote: I think engagement is really important and though I am new to the regular blogging game and don’t have as many pageviews as I’d like I make sure I have a conversation with everyone who interacts with me.
2. Remember travel is a fantasy. And what gets people to the fantasy? Pictures. Gary posts a daily travel photo from different regions of the world everyday. He also makes it a point to improve on his photography on a regular basis.
Not in the video is my favourite Gary Arndt travel quote. It is:
Travel Porn: Watching people do things you’ll never do in places you’ll never go.
Let’s make people fantasize even if they can’t get away or get to half the countries others do.
3. The advantage bloggers have over publications is that they’re a personality. I have asked Gary personally what his number one tip is and he always says: BE YOURSELF. Using your own photos and your own stories will make you stand out. I think a few magazines are getting smart and showcasing the personalities of their editors or writers. @WheresAndrew of National Geographic Traveler is a good example; @LisaTant, editor of Flare Magazine is also very active and vocal on Twitter bringing life to the print edition. That said, bloggers are approachable and make the time to meet with their audience whether it’s at blogger conferences or locally held tweetups. For me, I always try to meet anyone coming to Toronto in person and show them around. This has helped me cement connections that I don’t even usually have at conferences. It also enforces my knowledge of Toronto and therefore, as a resource further grounding my niche (whether I want to admit it or not). Anyone can do this with the city where they reside.
4. The early advantage of being a travel blogger is gone and the tried and true method of hard work and spending time on your travel blog –or any blog–still remains. I wish I had done it sooner but I know consistency and good content will enable me to build an audience. Once the audience is built and I have a community of those coming to my blog, then I can think about monetization. Honestly, it’s not really a focus right now. I’d rather spend the time building a reputation and as much content as I can. Again, it’s going to take time.
5. Point number four is a good segue: DON’T QUIT. Doing something consistently is hard. Sometimes, I wonder: “will anyone see this? Does anyone CARE?” and the other thought I have is: “will my efforts pay off?” I don’t know. But it’s encouraging to hear not to give up. Especially when it’s a passion.
What’s the best piece of blogging advice you’ve been given?