Many of us claim that our 9-5 job doesn’t allow us to travel the world – and without the job, we wouldn’t have enough money. Vicki, a former lawyer, solved this dilemma by creating MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld. There, she shows that it is possible to work full time and still travel and see the world. Vicki has visited 42 countries to date – determined to keep her country count above her age. On her blog, she shares informative and inspirational short term travel guides alongside beautiful travel photography, and lots of hints and tips around where to save and where to splurge to have the best travel experiences in whatever time you have. In our interview, we asked her about her experience and tips on how to become a full time travel blogger.
You are the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the travel blog MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld. Our readers would love to know what inspired you to start the blog. Can you provide some essential tips for aspiring young travel bloggers?
I created MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld to document my travel adventures alongside my regular 9-5 to show that you didn’t have to quit your job and sell all of your stuff in order to travel and see the world.
I think the best advice I could give for aspiring travel boggers is to work out the why you want to do blog and what you can offer your audience. The industry is competitive and whilst there is room for everyone, you need to stand out and offer something different to everyone else in order to find your tribe.
You have a significant presence on Social Media with more than 47k followers on Instagram, more than 44k on Twitter, more than 5k on Facebook and more than 12k on Pinterest. Can you provide some essential tips for aspiring young bloggers when it comes to growing one’s social channels?
Social media is all about being social. This means being active, engaged and sharing content which is highly relevant to your blog. You need to be consistent with the content you are putting out there (i.e if you are an travel blog which focuses on responsible travel, you wouldn’t post about riding elephants) and be sure to feature other people’s content as well as your own. Nobody likes never ending self promotion – unless you happen to be a celebrity – and so most people appreciate being directed to the best resources on a particular subject – whether it is your own guide or someone else’s.
You have worked with brands like Sennheiser, Villa Hotels, HotWire, Christmas Island Tourism, Wonderful Indonesia, Sandmarc, eqUILIBRIA Hotels, Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts and Trails Asia amongst others. Based on your experience, what kinds of tips would you give to young people who want to start their business through a blog or social media?
Build your audience before you expect anyone to want to work with you. Influencer marketing is a great way for brands and companies to get their names out there and blogging provides a different medium for them to market their products/services. But you have to have an audience to market to for them to be interested in you. This means having a steady (and hopefully growing) number of visitors to your site and a solid social media following across a couple of channels. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to get to this level, but it is totally possible and blogging is a great way to build your own business and be your own boss. Click here for more Social Media Tips for new Travel Bloggers.
Based on your personal experience, what are the freelance opportunities a travel blogger can consider?
Blogging can open up many doors in its own way, from Social Media Management, Freelance Writing or editing, Creating E-Books or products, web design and development, freelance photography and even doing blogger outreach for brands. Blogging is not one size fits all skill set and there are many ways in which the skills you develop as a blogger can help you secure freelance opportunities.
How much can bloggers expect to get paid for such opportunities?
This is entirely dependent on the service you are offering, how proficient you are and what personal value you place on your skill-set.
What tips do you have for monetizing one’s blog via sponsored content?
Sponsored content is certainly an income stream that is available to bloggers, but is something that you have to be careful of accepting. A lot of ‘sponsored content’ opportunities are simply sites seeking an undisclosed link back to their business (which in turns increases their DA and so helps them to rank higher up in search engine results). This practice is a form of black hat SEO and something that Google does not like. As such bloggers need to be very careful to ensure that the content is properly disclosed and the link marked as nofollow, which makes it difficult to find true sponsored content opportunities.
Sponsored content is really a form of advertising and the value of placing this on your site will vary dependent on your own DA, readership and reach. If you are keen to persue the sponsored content income stream I would recommend signing up for influencer platforms such as Cooperatize and you can check the value of your website by using Social Blue Book (both services are free).
Other ways to find sponsored content opportunities are to approach companies that fit your brand directly or swap contacts with people in your niche.
How do you use SEO to gain organic traffic?
Organic traffic is the holy grail of blogging and something that everyone should aspire to use effectively. This means writing content that search engines love and so rank you highly in its results pages which in turn bring traffic to your site. It’s important to concentrate on organic traffic because your website is the only thing your truly own. You might be able to grow your social media accounts, but if they sell the platform or change their algorithms, your traffic and influence could disappear overnight. Organic traffic is here to stay and once you are able to demonstrate your authority on a subject by ranking highly, you will be able to write more articles to build on that success.