From an outsider’s perspective, travel blogging must appear to be pretty simple. All you have to do is write about your travels, post awesome photos, and retweet whatever BBC Travel says… Right?
Being a full-time blogger requires more work than you could possibly imagine. And the truth is I’ve never worked harder in my life.
Never. Not for any college exam, not during any internship, and not for my current job teaching English in South Korea.
Over the last calendar year, I’ve been blogging for an average of 6 hours per day. Including weekends. That is over 40 hours a week. Some days I work 0 hours, while others I work 12. My fingers frequently have aches and pains from typing so much.
Here is a breakdown of what I do on a daily basis:
– (30%) – Social media networking (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest)
– (15%) – Writing new posts
– (15%) – Responding to emails, comments, messages, FB posts and tweets
– (10%) – Dealing with tech issues
– (10%) – Pitching myself to advertisers, hotels, and travel companies
– (5%) – Learning new skills like SEO, Photoshop and Google AdWords
– (5%) – Editing movies for my Youtube Channel
– (10%) – Other: Tracking financials, reading other blogs, managing my VAs, reaching out to other bloggers for advice, writing guest posts on other sites
If you’re a visual person, then see the pie chart below:
Keep in mind that these are just the basics that make up the majority of my daily work load. There are plenty of other things that I do. In one way or another, I find ways to stay productive.
I have no time off.
I can’t remember the last time that I went to bed without thinking about what article to write next, which photo to post on Instagram, or how I can improve my blog. On my free days, I try to bang out as many articles as I can. And when I am traveling, I am constantly taking photos and thinking about how I can use them to get the most engagement out of my readers. It’s truly a nonstop process.
Here is my current to-do list on my desk:
You must understand that travel blogging is an extremely competitive industry.
I estimate that there are several thousand people who take travel blogging seriously in the world. And they are all working toward the same goals -> to build a massive following, to travel the world (for free) and to make an influence on people’s lives.
So I constantly ask myself, “How can I stand out from the field?” What will make people want to read my site?
This is perhaps the biggest challenge of travel blogging.
So here are 4 useful tips for how I separate myself from the rest.
Key #1: Be Myself
One of the ways to stand out is to show my personality in my writing. My old posts were too generic such as, “10 Things to do in Vienna.”
But once I started bringing out my opinions and personality more, my engagement has gone way up. The reason being that people can connect with me on a more personal level.
Key #2: Stay with my niche
When I first started blogging, I wrote about anything “travel related” that I could think of. It was messy. But as my blog has evolved, I’ve started writing more about my niche, which is partying around the world, encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and showing people how they can also live a life like this. Another niche that I’ve used is the lifestyle in Korea, because I lived and taught English there for 18 months.
You have to be an expert in your niche.
Key #3: Build off momentum
It’s hard to take a week off blogging, or ever a few days. It’s important to build off the momentum from my recent blog articles and social media posts. If one of my tweets goes viral, then it’s essential to follow up with more amazing content to keep people on their toes.
Key #4: Stay consistent
I must consistently provide, entertain and share quality content to my readers.
Timing is crucial – especially in regards to social media. For example, on Instagram, I ALWAYS post on the same time schedule (usually between 7-10 PM EST). This way, people will look forward to my upcoming posts.
I know this all sounds like exhausting, but to be honest with you,
I love travel blogging
I am 23 years old and I am extremely happy with the life that I live. I have already created work that enables me to do the thing that I love most: travel the world. I am able to work remotely from anywhere on the planet with a wifi connection.
Which is exactly what I plan on doing in 2015. I will be traveling full-time this year using 100% earnings from by blog and bonuses from teaching English.
I like to think of travel blogging as the best ongoing project in the world. There is always – ALWAYS – something I can be doing to improve. I love this challenge.
I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. I would go mentally insane if I was stuck behind a cubicle. I couldn’t handle a boss telling me what to do. The corporate world is just not for me.
I am a digital nomad – a location-independent entrepreneur, and I plan on being this for eternity.
I’m not trying to crush your dreams of becoming a travel blogger.
You can absolutely do it too, and I encourage you all to try it out. The hardest part about blogging is the start. Once you get the ball rolling, the momentum builds quickly and you’ll make adjustments to improve.
But before you start your blog, know what your overall goal is. There’s a huge difference between a travel diary and a travel blog. It’s called an audience. If you choose to have a diary, then that requires very little work (other than writing.) However, for those who want to have a public website and grow your following around the world and make money, then consider yourself warned for what you are getting into.
Most people who start travel blogs with the intention to build an audience will give up after a year. They’ll quit when they wonder why they’re not getting as much traction and recognition as other bloggers. Most people just aren’t willing to put in a lot of fucking hard work. Do you have what it takes?
Please contact me if you want advice on blogging!
Want to read more about what it takes to be a travel blogger? Check out what other top bloggers have said about this topic.
Planet D – Do You Want to Be a Travel Blogger? Read On..
Mapping Megan – Life as a Travel Blogger
Finding the Universe– How to Become a Professional Travel Blogger
Adventurous Kate – The Reality of Professional Blogging
Gary Ardnt Interview – What Gary Can Teach You About Travel Blogging