10 travel blogging tips

2013-08-22 16:42

Travel blogger shares his thoughts on SA

2013-05-14 11:35

Watch this interview with US travel blogger, Matthew Long, about his experience of South Africa. WATCH

I don't know about the rest of you, but this is a particularly slumpy time of year for me - everything seems to have slowed down to a bit of chug and glorious inspiration seems to elude me. Yup, August has never been my favourite month, but it does have one redeeming factor... The Getaway Travel Blogging Conference. 

Now in its third year, the conference took place at the oh so chic Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Cape Town, and gave passionate travel blogging veterans and confused start-ups from around the country the opportunity to gain knowledge from, and perhaps most importantly network (over Sedgwicks OBS-tinged cocktails, might I add) with digital, photography and publishing greats such as Cameron Ewart-Smith, Sarah Duff, Mike Sharman, Dave Duarte and Russel Smith, to mention just a few. 

Although it's almost impossible to put the inspirational boost provided by the conference into words, here are 10 useful tips that stuck with me. 

Are you a travel blogger? Send us the link to info@news24travel.com

1. Write from your heart 

If there was one thing all the speakers at the conference emphasized, it was the fact that writing from your heart, being authentic and developing a voice that's yours alone is central to being a successful blogger. Apart from the fact that you won't be treading on anyone's toes by imitating what they're doing, the fact of the matter is that the reason people read blogs is to hear what YOU have to say. 

Otherwise they'd stick to guidebooks and traditional media... 

2. Join a community

Joining an online community of like-minded individuals is probably the easiest way to get your work out there to a wider audience than just family and friends (even though they're really awesome). If you're interested in starting a travel blog, or have one already, but don't really see much movement on it, check out the South African Travel Bloggers Network on Facebook . It's a great space to share tips and inspiration and bounce ideas off other bloggers.

Making use of relevant Twitter hashtags when sharing your work is another great way to plug into a wider network of readers. If you've done a post about anything related to African travel or need advice for an upcoming trip, be sure to tag your tweets with #AfriTravel (an initiative started by fun-loving local blogger, Meruschka Govender aka @MzansiGirl ). 

Alternatively, more generic tags like #travel, #capetown, #photography #wildlife can also be a useful way to connect with people who share your interest. 

3. Concentrate on your strengths

Unless you're one of those super annoying all-rounders who writes well, takes awesome photos, draws incredible sketches, plans the most amazing trips and is ridiculously good looking to boot, chances are you have one or two things you excel at and a whole bunch of others you can do, but in a more mediocre fashion.

And that's totally fine! Most of us are like that...

Instead of feeling glum about the things you can't do that well, concentrate your energy on developing the talents you have. E.g. if you're a great photographer, but can't string much of a sentence together, use your blog as a platform to show off your perfect eye and ability to frame like no other. 

If you're funny, embrace your humour. If you have a talent for drawing, illustrate your posts with sketches. 

4. Self edit 

In her talk on building a blog identity and integrity, food and travel blogger Ishay Govender dispensed of some of the best advice ever: before posting anything online, ask yourself "if this was my job, my only source of income, would I send this post?" 

Makes you think, right? 

5. It's not all about numbers

Although everyone would love to have thousands of people visiting their sites on a daily basis, the truth is that it won't happen overnight. 

Instead, concentrate on nurturing the reader base you have - respond to comments and tweets and build a relationship by keeping a constant conversation going with your readers. In this way at least you have a solid base on which to build. 

6. Get up early to capture the best photographs

It's not always easy - getting up early while you're on a trip. But it is always totally worth it if you're looking to capture some amazing pictures. There's just something magical about early morning light - it's also very flattering if you're going to be photographing people... which brings us to the next point. 

7. People your pictures

While a striking landscape image can be pretty awe-inspiring, the truth is people like to see other people in travel pictures. Especially on a blog. 

Because people head to your little blog to read about what YOU think about things, they will also be interested in catching a glimpse of the people you were with or the interesting characters you met on the journey. 

Having a figure in a photograph also helps focus the eye on the picture. 

8. ‘Interview' places and make notes of EVERYTHING

Make an effort t to really soak up your surroundings while on the journey/outing you're planning on writing about. Watch people, talk to them, make notes of the way you feel, all the things your senses pick up - smells, sounds and tastes. Go into as much detail as possible in your notes so that when you sit down to write, all the memories come flooding back. 

This will really help you to explain it as vividly as possible to your readers, taking them on the journey with you. 

9. Create routine

To be successful at anything you need a measure of routine, and blogging is no different. If you're serious about your blog, or just your writing for that matter, you should set aside a little bit of time every day to jot a few thoughts down (try doing 500 words in the morning or the evening). 

You can also make life a lot easier for yourself by scheduling social media updates and blog posts. In this way, you will manage to maintain an online presence throughout the day, while in reality you're just going about your normal life. 

Good tools for scheduling Twitter updates include Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. 


All the talk of sharing travel stories suggests that at some point you have to get out there and, well, travel. 

Anton Crone, the writer behind Bright Continent, shared his journey from slaving away at various ad agencies across the globe and feeling completely uninspired by the corporate oppression to finally doing what he really loved - travelling and writing about it.

To inject your blog with that magical ingredient, passion, you need to choose to live a life that inspires you. 

"Get out there and find your epiphany!" as Anton said. 

Read more on:    blogging  |  travel  |  travel south africa


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