Whether you’re just interested in doing more traveling or you’re already a seasoned pro, a travel blog or social media marketing account could help you score some affiliate links or brand representative gigs that could help you save on your next big trip. But with the volume of travel blogs on the internet, you’re going to have to stand out from the crowd with more than stunning landscape photography and a few posts about the vacations you’ve taken; you need to consistently generate quality content potential travelers want to see. If you’re interested in starting a travel blog that people will actually want to follow (and which you could one day make profitable), start by employing the following strategies.
- Be information-driven. The reason people turn to social media to get answers to their travel questions and inspiration for their next big trip is that they trust the reviews and opinions of their fellow travelers more than the word of advertisers and brands. According to CMO, approximately 95 percent of travelers read seven or more reviews before booking their trip, and they spend an average of 53 days visiting 28 different websites to help guide their decision-making. What’s more, as much as 50 percent of travelers check social media for travel tips.
“Social media is rife with companies and individuals claiming to be an authority in their field, but many just regurgitate trending content,” says Social Media Today. “Keep your audience updates. Authority is critical here, and knowing and responding to changes in your market shows you have a finger on the pulse.” Focus on sharing legitimate, informational content like travel news and relevant articles tailored to the unique interests of your target audience. Consumers turn to travel blogs for quality information, so focus on producing and sharing solid content.
- Share the experience. “Remember you’re selling an experience, not just a seat on a plane or a bed to sleep in,” advises Sprout Social. “So when creating your content strategy, focus on telling a story.” Clearly, you’re going to use your travel blog or social media account to showcase exotic destinations, luxury resorts, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but you want to do so in a way that invites your audience into the story. It’s not enough to just list features and highlights; think narrative, conversational form.
It’s also important to remember that as much as 70 percent of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations over professional content, so use your blog as a place for other travelers to share their experiences in addition to your own travels. Instead of uploading stock photos or professional photography, consider sharing personal pictures to build credibility and increase audience engagement. User-generated content is much more valuable and appealing to your audience, so focus on sharing the experience and telling your story.
- Think big. It’s a travel blog, after all, so don’t be afraid to get a little adventurous sometimes. Maybe you mostly blog about recreational travel, but up to 60 percent of travelers report that they’re taking “bleisure” trips, so consider stretching your repertoire and expanding your audience. If you tend to focus on budget-friendly or economy travel options, think about posting articles about accommodations or experiences worth the splurge. Building a business travel blog? Share behind-the-scenes photography featuring a brand’s manufacturing process in China.
Chances are good that not only will your regular readers have an interest in related topics, but you’ll draw new traffic and get new ideas to continue growing your blog, too. When it comes to driving interest in your blog, you’re going to have to think outside the box and challenge yourself to grow. There are already plenty of resources generating lists of travel hotspots -- how are you going to differentiate yourself?
- Brand yourself consistently. For any blog to work, you’re going to have to establish a presence on several social media platforms to engage your audience and drive traffic back to your website. Look to the example of major brands that have a lot of momentum in their industry, like Juul e-cigarettes. Their success is driven by clean, consistent branding that appeals to adult smokers looking for an alternative to traditional tobacco.
“In less than three months, we went from ideation to implementation in a multi-channel campaign designed to not just educate, but to really engage -- relying heavily on packaging, videos, social media, digital, PR and in-store presence,” explains Cult. With consistent branding across a variety of outlets, you can gain traction and more easily monetize your blog in the future.
It’s true that there are a lot of travel blogs and social media accounts dedicated to sharing trip experiences and vacation tips, but the difference between those blogs and your blog is you. Once you figure out what unique voice you have to contribute to the conversation, you can target your content to that audience, offer them value, and begin establishing your personal brand.
What strategies have helped you gain followers for your travel-related blog or social media account?