Our new ‘Influencer of the Week’ series highlights the influencers who are kicking up a storm in the online world, with their brilliant blog content, impressive social media sorcery and general awesomeness! If you would like to be featured as an ‘Influencer of the Week’ in the future, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
So let’s get going with Kerwin McKenzie, ‘travelpreneur’ and blogger at Pass Rider.
1. What made you start your own travel blog?
Working for an airline in the early 1990s, I had the opportunity to travel. I really wanted to share my experiences with my friends and others in general. Plus help other airline employees have a pleasant flying experience. The first “blog”, blogspot.cruisinaltitude.com started in 1998.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
Someone who cares about their friends/audience and genuinely shares things to entertain and educate.
3. As an influencer, what do you like about themidgame? (Check out Kerwins Influencer Profile in themidgame here.)
It’s a great site to showcase your online presence on a single page. It’s mind boggling when you see it all in one place; scary really.
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
Be you and no one else. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by what others are doing; but stay the course, it does work out in the end. And give. I know it sounds cliché, but help people because they need help and you want to help them. Don’t do it expecting something later.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
Just being able to provide information for my audience. And occasionally I meet them on the road and they tell how much they like the service I provide. It’s a weird feel-good feeling; I can’t explain it.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
It takes commitment, discipline and perseverance. Sure you visit many places, but you are “working” when you do so. Plus writing about your experiences takes time and research so you can have your readers enjoy the experience you had so they want to go and experience it themselves; that takes time!
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
I was able to speak at the Travel Blogger Exchange Conference in Dublin, Ireland last October. I’ve been a guest of a few Tourism Organizations as well and I’ve been able to meet wonderful bloggers and travelers, not to mention locals around the world.
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
Oh that’s tough… I started blogging back when it was not called blogging. But I could say, ensure that you create a method to collect leads on your blog from the get go. Don’t wait to do that.
9. What kind of future do you see for your travel blog?
I see myself creating unique travel experiences for my readers in the form of digital travel applications as well as unique personal experiences. Kind of like a “Travel Like Kerwin” product. My goal is to make their lives easier when they travel and I’m determined to get that accomplished. It’s a slow process, but I’m getting there.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
Johnny Jet; I went to a conference in LA, so I could specifically meet him as I’d read so much about his travels. He’s a super sincere and genuine guy. Same for Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere. I went out of my way to meet these guys. And a Dutch lady named Nienke Krook of TheTravelTester.com. I met her at a travel conference. She’s quiet but very knowledgeable and knows a ton about Pinterest and it shows. I enjoy her work; be on the look out for her.
Kerwin is a commercial aviation enthusiast roaming the world, based in the United States; O.K. so that means he’s a geek. He’s been in the airline industry since 1994 holding a Masters degree in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University known as the “Harvard of the Skies” and an undergrad in Computer Science and Math from Hofstra University in New York.
In June 2011, Kerwin left his 14.5 years airline job and took to the road to become a TravelPreneur/Blogger, providing travel solutions for travelers. He had already been blogging since 1998, so this was a natural progression.
Today, he flies about 300,000 miles annually having visited 109 countries/geographic regions in the world.