Travel Blogging: When To Be A Storyteller Not A Travel Blogger

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     A successful travel blogger needs to ensure that they focus on being distinctive by telling great stories about their travel niche to travellers. They also need to write those travel stories incredibly well. However, that is not enough to have a successful travel blog.

Travel bloggers also need to have some core information based posts and content on their blogs. While great travel story telling will build you a loyal and engaged audience, you need to have an audience first.

By also having more factual travel information and tips on travel destinations, accommodation or excursions, you can ensure that you are constantly bringing new visitors to your blog from search engines. Once they come, you must make sure those posts all have a call to action. Get new visitors to sign up for your newsletter, or social media accounts, to help ensure you turn new visitors into loyal fans of your stories.

While attending TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference in Girona Spain last week, the major request from the speakers there was for travel bloggers to focus on being story tellers and great writers. They encouraged travel bloggers to stop being obsessed with churning out high volumes of travel posts to feed search engines, and from being overly focused on writing content that is key word stuffed and search engine optimised to drive traffic.

While most of the travel bloggers nodded their agreement and eagerly jotted down the action to become story tellers, I am not convinced that many will follow this advice. Travel blogging is a very cluttered space, with thousands of blogs all fighting for attention. Most bloggers are looking to get lots of traffic fast. They know that high blog traffic numbers are essential to be able to generate income to fund their travels and to get invited onto blogger trips. They know that travel PR companies and brands will focus more on the volume of traffic they are generating than the quality of their storytelling.

It is likely that great storytelling and quality writing will ensure a more enduring travel blog with a loyal follower base. The action that travel bloggers should be taking should be somewhere in the middle of these two approaches, ensuring that they do elements of both.

The following is my take out and advice on what action travel bloggers should be taking based on the discussions and arguments at TBEX:

Why and when you should be a travel storyteller:
⁃    When writing always think of yourself as a storyteller, not a straight factual reporter. If you approach your posts with a mindset of thinking about “what story do I have to tell about the destination or aspect of travel that I am writing about” you will generate a more compelling and distinctive article.
⁃    Things to remember:
⁃    Do not write a straight description of what you saw and did. If you do your personality will not come out. There are many resources and sites that cover the facts of destinations, and likely will cover more ground than you can. Infusing your personality and take on the destination is something only you can write about.
⁃    Do not rush into writing without spending time thinking and finding your story angle. Most of the time the pressure to turn out a high volume of posts quickly will have been self imposed. It is better to generate something that is more interesting, constructed and tells your story about the destination than something fast, furious and bland.
⁃    Do not forget to write for your readers. Never write an article that is more for the people that funded your trip than your readers. Your readers will feel they you have been compromised and lost your independence of thinking and views. They will desert you.

Why and when you should be a travel blogger:
⁃    Search engines like information based content as people are using search engines to find information not stories. Search is the main source of traffic for most sites, and so you need to build this into what you do on your blog.
⁃    Action to address this:
⁃    If you want to drive traffic to your site through search you will need some information based content posts that are well search engine optimised.
⁃    If does not mean that every post has to be information based, but you should have some core “how to”, “tips”, “essential facts” and “top 10 things to do” posts on your particular travel niche. These will mean that you are attracting travellers interested in information around your travel speciality or niche
⁃    Ensure you have a call to action on these posts to get new visitors to sign up for your newsletter or social media sites to enable you to get them engaged and consuming your other travel content.

A successful travel blogger needs to ensure that they focus on being distinctive by telling great stories about their travel niche to travellers. They also need to write those travel stories incredibly well. However, that is not enough to have a successful travel blog. They also need to have some core information based posts and content on their blogs to attract new users.

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3 thoughts on “Travel Blogging: When To Be A Storyteller Not A Travel Blogger

  1. Speaking as a team that has always referred to ourselves as digital / transmedia travel storytellers, everything you mentioned under 'travel bloggers' are things a good digital travel storyteller should be doing too, rather than as an either or situation.

  2. Indeed yes. The debate at TBEX was very much around storytelling as an “art” as it were and being what bloggers should do. The reality is that you need to do both aspects, but if your content is not found on search and people brought there then you have nothing really. I think the point that was being made was that too many bloggers write with an SEO mindset and tricks to get traffic and numbers. I agree that to succeed you need both..

  3. This post was really interesting for me as a new blogger. I know I'll need to get the balance right to make my blog worthy of peoples attention. The reality is that my desire to write stems from a wish to tell stories, but I know this is not enough at all. I think I'll be learning a lot as time goes on.

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