These days a lot of people across the world have taken to travel blogging to share their photographs and travel experiences with family and friends. But, a lot many of them remain completely hidden from the eyes of the internet. Well, to be honest, I faced similar hurdles when I first started blogging, but over the course of the last 5 years, I have listened to my readers, taken advice from other travel bloggers and have learnt from my mistakes. And today, I can say that I am not that hidden travel blog anymore.
If you wish to shed that ‘hidden travel blog’ tag and wish to be popular among the masses, do implement these 10 solid tips to market your travel blog. These tips come from the experience of my 5 year travel blogging learning curve.
1) Build your Brand
A successful travel blog needs a brand that the readers can connect to. For this to happen, you need to carve a niche area for yourself and stick to it. For me, it is adventure travel, budget travel, vegetarian good, wildlife holidays and unique cultures. Wherever I travel to and whatever I write about, the basic premise covers this niche as this niche is my passion. For others it might be history or temples or off beat destinations. Whatever it is, you definitely need to identify your area to have a loyal reader base. You cannot expect to be like a newspaper and cover all topics.
Your blog messaging should be in line with your niche area. Accordingly, design your logo and identify your domain name. After all, the logo and your domain name are like your face and name.
2) Have a Good Social Media Footprint
For a travel blogger who has no advertising budget, social media is the king. These days getting on to social media is like a no brainer. Everyone knows how important social media is and its rich capabilities. After all, your friends and future followers will most likely be on these social channels and what better way than to reach out to them.
It is imperative that every travel blogger has a good social media footprint that spans across Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, You Tube and Instagram. Not only does this allow your content to go viral at times, it also helps in building a loyal social media follower base who identify with your blog. But, do remember that the key to building a good social media footprint is by being regular and by engaging with your fans.
3) Be an Integral Part of the Travel Blogosphere
Every industry has its network. Likewise, the travel blogging industry also has its own networks. Do join them and get to know the other travel bloggers. This could be on a Facebook group or a Twitter Hashtag. Put your hand up and introduce yourself to other travel blogs. While there is healthy competition among travel blogs, I have got a lot of my recognition due to other travel bloggers. Everyone likes to share the love. Learn from top travel bloggers. Once you get to know a travel blogger, you can exchange guest posts with each other. This gives you access to a whole new reader base.
Also, see if you can find another travel blogger with similar interests and collaborate with them. You can travel together, launch new ideas and much more.
Remember this adage, if you are unknown to your own breed, you will definitely remain unknown to the world.
4) Attend Travel Blogging Events
Now that you are a part of the travel blogosphere and people relate to your blog, you should take it a step further and attend travel blogging conferences and seminars. You can simply participate and learn the tricks of the trade or be a speaker and share your knowledge, travel experiences, tips, stories and photographs with others.
Some travel blogging events like the international TBEX have immense potential. But, at the same time so does your local ones as that is where most of your readers are. Some of these events are paid ones, but you should look at it as an investment that will pay in the long term.
Do remember to have a well designed business card before you go attending this events.
5) Get Featured in Online and Print Media
It is a dream for all travel bloggers to be featured in the media. But, this doesn’t come easy. But, once it comes, it has the potential to increase your reader base multi fold. Plus, it helps improve your overall blog credibility.
There are many ways to this:
- Send in a good pitch to the editor of a travel magazine or newspaper and try to write an article for them.
- You can also contribute your photographs to magazines and dailies.
- Participate in contests. In all probability, this might lead to some media exposure.
- Never shy away from giving an interview. There are a lot of people interested in knowing more about you.
And if you are successful in getting featured, do broadcast it to your readers across your many channels.
6) Treat your Blog like a Website
When it comes to unbiased and impartial content, people head to blogs and when it comes to finding user friendly and navigable content, people move to the top travel websites. Why can’t travel blogs offer the best of both worlds. And we all know that our blog (or website) is our most important marketing tool.
For this very reason, I request travel bloggers to treat their blog like a good website and implement the following on their blog : User Friendly Navigation and Search, Clutter Free User Interface, Standard Font and Color Palette across the site, Easy Access to Rich Media, Social Media Integration and Faster Site Loading.
7) Write Engaging Content
You can implement all these tips properly, but if you don’t have good content on your blog, people will stop coming to your blog to read or see it. There are 2 basic premises to writing engaging content. First, your passion needs to come out through that article and second, your reader has to connect with it. If these two premises are on track, then your content is bound to be popular.
And we all know that a photograph speaks a thousand words and a video speaks a million. Hence, having rich media in your article is very much recommended.
If you are ever in doubt about what to write, do ask your readers for ideas and then proceed accordingly. And try and write unique content and that too periodically.
8) Optimize your Blog for the Search Engine
The whole world knows the power of Google. All of us turn to Google for answers to our questions and you would be stupid if you didn’t expect your prospective readers to do so. You might have the most interesting content, but if readers don’t find it on Google, your passive marketing efforts are incomplete.
It is essential that you invest as much time, effort and money in optimizing your blog for the search engine as you would in active marketing. Sometimes, the returns from passive marketing are much higher than active marketing. For you be successful in your search engine optimization efforts, you need to look at the following: Unique content, clean template, Title Tags, Meta Tags, Keywords and other good stuff. If you do not understand all this, either head to Google or a specialist for answers.
9) Help your Readers
Your blog is popular because of your readers. Your readers are your customers. Treat them like your customers. These readers come to your blog because they find your content the most appropriate and the most interesting on the whole web. And in all probability, they will have questions, which they might ask through comments and email. You have to learn to respond promptly and unselfishly to these questions.
Sometimes, your happy reader will end up doing a lot of free marketing for you. Never miss out on such kindness.
10) Travel More
Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere Travel Blog, one of the top travel bloggers on the planet and one who has been traveling round the world non-stop since 2007 says that for a travel blogger to be successful, they have to make travel a habit. I agree with his thoughts.
Your readers come to your blog because they connect with your travel style and with your niche areas under the world of travel. And they are interested in connecting more with you on such areas. For this to happen, you have to travel more. I am not saying that you have to travel permanently, but you should try to travel at least 3 months in a year (all inclusive).