Lately it’s become very clear! The travel blogger and influencer space is growing in size and more people want to join than ever. However, there’s surprisingly very few resources out there that help to help! That being said, I’d love to start a series on my blog to help anyone who’s just starting out on this journey ?
If you’re new to travel blogging or starting a travel Instagram, you may have zero clue where to begin. Simply being aware of where to focus your attention though is half the battle. I remember thinking photography and writing were the only skills I had to learn, but I was SO wrong! If I knew what skills to learn from the beginning, I would have saved SO much time and worked much more efficiently.
Since your To-Do list as a travel blogger/influencer is almost always never-ending, use this post to craft a realistic game plan of what skills to tackle first. A breakdown of all these skills will follow in the posts to come!
Before you do ANYTHING- design your website, post to Instagram, write a travel guide- first get a grasp on your personal brand. What is your niche? Is there a way you can narrow down that niche (the more specific the better!)? What message do you want to convey to your audience? How will your online personality and aesthetic translate this message? Treat these questions as homework and put pen to paper before moving forward with the other skills on this list.
Your personal brand should dictate all your blogging decisions from here on out. Whether that be how you edit your photos or the way you speak to your audience- your brand should always shine through! The clearer your brand is, the easier it will be to connect with your audience and grow in this competitive space.
2. SEO & Pinterest Marketing
The two main ways most bloggers drive traffic to their blogs are through SEO and Pinterest. If you learn how to craft blog posts that are SEO friendly, your chances for ranking on Google in turn become much greater! Like Google, Pinterest is another incredibly useful and popular search engine for driving traffic to your blog. Even if you just scratch the surface of these two skills, you’ve surpassed a very large percentage of most bloggers!
Don’t skip out on studying these! I learned late in the game how important these 2 skills are, and it’s always been one of my biggest regrets as a travel blogger. Building traffic and ranking on these search engines take time though, so be patient, but consistent.
3. Photography & Editing
Travel blogs and Instagram are obviously very visual in nature, so photography and editing are skills you must aim to excel in. Your photos on your blog should look professional and captivate your audience, and the same goes for Instagram! Instagram is a great platform to grow your brand, connect intimately with your audience, as well as drive traffic to your blog. The higher the quality and creativity of your photos, the faster you will grow in this visual job.
If you’re serious about travel blogging/Instagram, I recommend investing in 1). a DSLR camera and 2). Adobe Lightroom. These are used by the large majority of “professional” bloggers. It’s quite hard to rise in this space without learning how to shoot in manual on your DSLR and edit your photos in Lightroom.
4. Social Media Growth & Marketing
Not only should you have a presence on all social media outlets, but you should also focus your efforts on growing these channels. Each can individually bring you career opportunities, drive traffic to your blog, and create a well-rounded visual of your brand. After building up these channels, you’ll need to focus your efforts on marketing. This is where you’ll use these channels to sell to your audience (AKA brand collaborations!).
It’s obviously a daunting task to grow your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube all at once, and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. That being said, focus the majority of your efforts on growing one of those channels, but still maintain a presence on the others as well. For example, when I finally reached 20k on Instagram, it was then that I found the time to also start posting to YouTube occasionally.
*Side note- I know a lot of travel bloggers that only focus on one of these channels and that works fine for them. BUT remember- the bigger your online presence, the more you’ll stand out and add value to potential partnerships.
Travel blogging is a juggling act, as you can probably see by now! So again- just keep in mind that it takes time, and success doesn’t happen overnight!
This skill was probably the biggest shocker of them all! When first contacting brands and hotels, I felt completely lost because I had no sales or business background. Let me tell you though, your ability to pitch a sale is a VERY important skill to acquire as a travel blogger/influencer. There’s this common misconception that once you gain some success as a travel blogger, all the collaborations start flooding in. This is SO wrong, especially when you’re just starting out! In fact, about 70% of the collaborations I’ve landed are because I reached out to them.
In order to bring those collaborations to you, you must learn how to craft a compelling email pitch, as well as a media kit (which includes your stats, a portfolio of your work, your services, etc.). This skill is a loaded one with lots to learn as a beginner, so stay tuned for my future posts where I’ll break it all down!
Now…Where to Learn These Skills?
Moving forward, there’s a variety of ways to dive into these 5 skills. There’s free resources online that you can find on Google and YouTube. There’s online courses for each individual skill. OR you can learn all 5 skills + more on a 1 week intensive retreat! This retreat is run by Pangea Dreams and is my (semi-biased ?) personal favorite option.
I have a lot of insight on the retreats as I both attended one AND now host them! After witnessing what it did for my career and for countless other women, I could not recommend the retreat enough. The big selling point for me as an attendee initially was that the retreat covers every subject all in one week AND offers hands-on, personal guidance throughout. You’ll find courses for each individual topic anywhere online, but there are very few that teach everything all in once place, IN PERSON, and in such a short amount of time. On top of all that, I walked away with such a supportive network of like-minded bloggers and creatives, and to me that was invaluable ?
If online courses aren’t your thing, don’t be afraid of YouTube! This is where I learned all my initial editing and SEO skills. I can say from experience, there is SO much you can learn for free via YouTube!
I hope this post helps you put together a plan of action moving forward in your travel blogger/influencer pursuit! Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll be breaking down each of these skills even further ?
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