6 Top travel blogging tips from the experts

2015-05-18 15:45
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So, you started a travel blog for the sheer enjoyment of documenting your journeys and sharing your experiences with friends and family, but suddenly find your readership growing and your posts becoming more time-consuming.

And you can't help but wonder - could there be something more to it?

Well, as they say, where there's a smoke, there's a fire, so looking into making your hobby a more full time endeavour is definitely worth investigating. Just remember, it's not all a walk in the park and there's a lot of hard work to be done among all the fun. 

At the Indaba Travel Blogging Conference (#ITBC15) held in Durban this year, a few of South Africa's most successful travel bloggers shared their wisdom.

Here are a few top tips:

1. Put together a Media Kit for your blog

Here's a big secret to bagging clients and keep them returning: make things as easy as possible for them. Natalie Roos from Tails of a Mermaid suggests that you should have an informative and accessible Media Kit at the ready to send to possible brands you want to work with.

"If you are a blogger and you plan on working with Tourism Boards or Destination Marketing Organisations, make sure that you have a Media Kit to send them which lists your readership stats, information on who reads your blog and an overview of the kind of content you produce," she says.   

2. Communication is key

Since working with bloggers is relatively new territory for many brands, there are a lot of grey areas... and the only way to get clarity is to communicate effectively. 

Meruschka Govender aka Mzansi Girl says that brands should have clear, well-defined and measurable objectives. If you find yourself confused by a brand or a publication's objectives, don't be shy to ask for a more detailed brief. Communication is beneficial to everyone involved. 

3. Don't try to pander to all tastes

While the temptation is always there to try and cover as much ground as possible in your posts, reaching as many people as possible, concentrating your blog on a niche market can end up being a unique selling point.

"Don't always chase the big numbers. Niche bloggers with a smaller, more concentrated blog can offer just as much potential as a person with a large social media following and can offer more targeted objectives in most cases," says Kate Els from Indikate.

4. Share and share alike

Sure, you want to get paid for your hard work, but when you're just starting out, be generous with your content and photographs - especially when you have already posted them on your blog or Instagram account. If a brand or a publication approaches you, asking permission to use some of your existing content, say yes on condition of proper attribution. 

5. Payment - decide what works for you

Once you do start charging for original content, it is up to you to decide how you will go about this. It's important to remember that every situation is different - sometimes it will be as simple as sending an invoice for an article, however, other times agreeing on a trade exchange - an article in return for a trip or a meal or an experience - may make more sense.

"Travel blogging is not a 'one size fits all'. In some scenarios, trade exchanges are acceptable, while other work calls for payment - it's up to the blogger to quote accordingly," says Thaya Bedford, an old hand at running blogger campaigns for destinations and the mastermind behind the recent #GrootbosMagic trip

6. Finally, remember what it's all about 

Telling stories... and telling them from your own perspective! Stay true to your own voice, because this essentially what brands really want, as Thaya pointed out, destinations talking about themselves just can't move people in the ways that storytellers can, because their stories are personal.

Check out this short and sweet video from #ITBC15

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