Our ‘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.
1. What made you start your own blog?
At 35 I decided that it was about time to give a real purpose to my life. After turning down a marriage proposal and quitting a well-paid job in London, I decided to do what I really loved: Travel the world and write about it on a blog.
That wasn’t exactly what everybody was expecting from me, but life is one and it’s gone in a flash. So I did what I wanted, regardless of what people said about my choice.
The 22nd of August 2012, two major things changed my life forever: I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok and I pressed the “Publish” button for the first time on my blog. That day my life, as I knew it, was gone forever. Keep Calm and Travel was born: I had officially became a travel blogger.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
Being real which means matching your words with your actions. Coherence and honesty, combined with a good use of the media channels, are the paramount to become a great infuencer.
The key is: Don’t talk TO them. Talk WITH them.
Even better: Be one of them.
Show your ideas but your weaknesses too, prove that you truly are one of them, and you will have their full attention.
3. What kind of value do you think bloggers and influencers provide nowadays?
Let’s take a tv advert as an example. To persuade the audience, they display a cool trend or idea. And to vehicle the message, they use actors to project feelings and desires to satisfied in order to be happy.
They try to connect with us at a personal level, moving our deeper emotions and urges to convince us to buy a product or service.
Now let’s take some good, professional bloggers. Not only they are doing the same things stated above, but they have something that a tv advert will never have: the bloggers are real people, not actors.
If they are skilled, they know exactly what the readers want and they will give it to them. Why do people rely so much on reviews and online forums? Because they are real people behind a screen and not only that: bloggers have been there themselves. They know what they are talking about. If this isn’t an added value, I don’t know what is!
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
Be patient, don’t get discouraged and avoid to compare yourself to successful bloggers. Work hard and, if you still don’t see any results, work even harder.
The other obvious advice is to connect to the big names. But I’d add another step to it : don’t stop to the ones in your niche, reach out for influencers in the marketing and communication niche, life coachs, whoever genuinely inspires you.
Find your strenghts and be clear on the message you want to convey. Stay coherent to that message. Always. Be unique. Be you.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
There are 3:
- When Cosmopolitan asked me to write a weekly travel column for them, I literally fell off my chair!
- The post that went viral and was shared almost 10K times on social media was also a big highlight.
- An email I received 6 months ago from a reader who decided to completely change his life, inspired by me. That is what I call a real accomplishment. There have been others, but I’ll never forget the first one.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
In my case the language barrier is a huge obstacle. I’m Italian and I learned proper English at 30. Every single blog post I write is a huge challenge for me.
Also, people don’t understand that a travel blogger is not on a permanent vacation. This can be a real frustration sometimes.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
It is quite funny actually, as I’m the same person I was before being a blogger, but since I started to get noticed, I’ve been rewarded with special “VIP” treatments by friends who offered me professional help and services for free, as well as being lucky enough to get complimentary stays, discounts and tours for the things I love the most.
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
My Cosmopolitan editor taught me that different media requires different writing styles: You don’t always need to write an essay to deliver a powerful message. Sometimes a few well placed and direct sentences are all it takes to do the job.
9. What kind of future do you see for your blog?
There is one thing I’m sure about: success, especially on social media, is transient. A steady growth in terms of audience and conversion rates is much more important than just being a glamorous blogger for a few years.
I’m not dismissing social media by any means, they are great to create a community and reinforce the “brand identity”. I actually love them and I’m a very active member but I don’t rely solely on them to grow my audience.
My long term plans are the growth of my organic traffic as much as I can: it converts much better compared to the social media traffic and if the SEO is done properly, it gives you a continue stream of targeted traffic for years.
I’m a great fan of the “Grumpy cat” but even her popularity will fade at some point, and she better start figuring out other ways to get the food for free when this happens. You got my point 😉
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
I used to read dozens of blogs, now I don’t have much time anymore, but I still read the ones that influenced me from the start. One is Derek Baron of Wandering earl and the other one is Jaime Davila’s Breakaway Backpacker. They have one major thing in common: you can clearly see that they are genuine in each and every post they write. And nothing is more powerful than this.
Clelia is an enthusiastic Italian girl who left home at 19 and experienced every possible combination of travel: short breaks, expat life, holidays on a budget or in luxury accommodations and long term travel. As long as she’s on the move, she is a happy girl!
After almost 20 years away from home, being the last 2 wandering the world non stop, she is now focused on inspiring and informing all those people who want to travel, no matter what the budget or the trip type is.
Passionate about photography and adventurous activities, Clelia loves anything where water (and a bit of risk/excitement) is involved. Her biggest dream is swimming with the big whale sharks, manta rays and white sharks. Her motto: be real, and never give up!