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?
I am a Director of an internet marketing company that specialises in promoting travel and tourism. Having done my fair share of backpacking around Europe and camping in sub-zero temperatures in Greenland, my fascination of the luxury travel world grew and I took the opportunity to document various findings from my work through the blog. It was more just a ‘labour of love’ at that stage but it soon gathered momentum as it was pretty much the only blog of its kind back then.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
I believe there are two key ingredients – great content and great marketing. The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. There are some people out there who produce excellent content and, whilst this is a key building block, this on its own is not enough – you have to know how to effectively spread the word about your work. Similarly, there are people who are very good at the marketing side of things but their content lets them down. To be a great influencer, I think you need to be skilled at both.
3. What kind of value do you think bloggers and influencers provide nowadays?
I think the top bloggers and influencers provide huge value, but they are also in a minority. The growth of the industry is testament to its success. In the case of the travel industry, bloggers can provide up-to-the-minute information – and more personalised accounts – that you just don’t find in guidebooks.
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
Produce great content, be active on social media and keep abreast of what others in your field are up to. Join relevant organisations and attend industry events in order to get to know your peers more. With travel blogging, for instance, we have groups such as the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and a thriving travel blogger community in the form of TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) that holds major annual events in both Europe and North America, each nowadays attracting a four-figure number of travel bloggers.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
There are too many to mention but I suppose a major turning point was when I decided to go full time with the blog in late 2012.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
To be at the top of the game, it’s very much 24/7. Travel blogging sounds the dream job – and in many ways it is. What’s not to like about travelling the world? But, to be successful at it, it’s also a lot of work and perhaps not as glamorous as some might assume (although it still isn’t bad!). Blogging and travelling at the same time (and keeping up with the emails, social media, etc.) – particularly if it’s a popular blog – requires a lot of dedication.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
As a travel blogger (and in particular as a luxury travel blogger), I am very privileged to be faced with some fantastic opportunities. A few months ago I joined an expedition driving the latest Range Rover (there were only 3 prototypes in the world at the time, all on the same expedition) right across Nepal – from Kathmandu to New Delhi. As part of that trip, we also got to go on a Mount Everest flight. Other recent trips have included Finland, South Africa, Ireland, China and Lithuania.
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
When I started blogging, there were very few other travel bloggers out there and none sufficiently established to be in a position of advising others. If I was to advise others, though, it would be to have a niche and, perhaps most of all, to persevere. Too many bloggers expect results almost straight away and it rarely works that way. You won’t succeed if your expectations are unrealistic and you give up too soon – you will need to be in it for the long haul.
9. What kind of future do you see for your blog?
I’ve been seeing an upward trend in my blog’s traffic for some time now and would like to think that will continue as myself and my team continue to invest time and money into the site.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
In all honesty, I rarely read other blogs. I just don’t really find the time. That said, I am intrigued by the work of Trey Ratcliff who runs Stuck in Customs – both from a photography and marketing point of view. Photography is a hobby of mine that I’m yet to master and his images are inspirational in demonstrating what can be achieved these days.
Paul Johnson is one of the world’s most influential travel bloggers. His blog – A Luxury Travel Blog – was voted one of the world’s best travel blogs by The Daily Telegraph and “best for luxury”. It is visited by more than 500,000 unique visitors a month, and has around 200,000 fans on Facebook and 400,000 followers on Twitter.