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?
After traveling off and on for about six years, I wanted a way to travel full time. Searching the web for any possibility, I stumbled upon a travel blog. I did some research and got involved with the community. I discovered people that have the same passion for exploring the world; there was really no other choice after that.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
I try to follow three rules I set for myself.
1. Creating likeable and shareable content that connects with people.
2. Building an online relationship with my audience.
3. Sharing relevant content in your targeted niche. (This builds trust with your audience and relationships with your peers)
The internet is all about connections and building a network around yourself.
3. What kind of value do you think bloggers and influencers provide nowadays?
Blogging is different from other forms of journalism. You can be more open and free in your writing, and you don’t have to follow traditional journalism rules. You get first-hand accounts from people, and blogs can craft a long narrative over time. It is similar to writing a journal that the whole world can see.
This makes it easy to connect with people and build relationships with your audience, and people trust your opinions because they know you. I think this creates tremendous influence and value because it is more personal.
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
Sharing relevant and valuable content in your niche from a variety of sources is a great way to become a trusted influencer in your field.
You can’t cover everything, so sharing useful content from you peers is a great way to build relationships with them, and build trust with your audience.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
I love doing interviews and being mentioned by other websites. For a few minutes, it makes me feel more important than I actually am. Lol!
But seriously my highlights are by far the emails I get from readers. Some days I wake up to someone emailing me saying that I’ve inspired them to take that trip that they always put off, or that they were afraid to travel alone until they read my site. These are good days. That is why I post travel advice like my latest list of Italy Travel Tips.
I’ve been getting more and more of them lately so I must be doing something right.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
haha Oh wow, do I have a word limit on this one? I can’t speak for types of blogging, but most travel blogs have short lifespans. People have the idea in their heads that they will start a travel blog, and within a few months they will be getting paid to sip wine on a sandy tropical Island. This isn’t the case; traveling blogging is long coffee-fueled nights of painstakingly hard work with virtually no reward for at least the first six months.
As a blogger you wear many hats. You have to be a writer, designer, marketer, website builder, photographer, and editor all in one. Many times I work all day, only to have more tasks at the end of the day than I had at the start.
The keys to blogging successfully are determination, creativity and patience. Few people make an actually living off travel blogging; most of us just use it as a platform to get other remote jobs.
My blog isn’t my main source of income. It is my portfolio to get other jobs.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
Like I said previously blogging is hard work, but once you build an audience you do get perks in your specific niche. I’m an adventure travel blogger. This has resulted in free skydives, scuba diving, and partnerships with companies.
However, I am not just on the wagon to get as much free stuff as possible. I tell every company I work with that I will write honestly regardless of the fact that it is free. My credibility to my audience is worth more than anything they can give me.
Luckily I haven’t had any problems with this so far; this is because I am meticulous about the companies I work with. I do research, and read reviews before I agree to anything.
I’ve also landed various social media jobs, and internships. That furthers my knowledge, and experience in that field.
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
Don’t expect to get rich, lol. No one travel blogs for the money, you do it for passion and the lifestyle.
I am hoping that a year from now I can draw in a full income from my blog, but that will be after two and a half years of hard work with almost no money coming. Keep your eyes on the prize and know what kind of life you want to live, and have faith that all your hard work is furthering that goal.
Nomadic Matt, the biggest travel blogger in the world, once told me that he would rather work 10hrs for himself than 1hr for someone else. I took this to heart, and repeat it to myself when things get overwhelming.
9. What kind of future do you see for your blog?
Oh, man. I have some really cool plans. I have ideas for apps, books, reader tours, travel forums, videos, etc. You name it, and I probably have an idea for it on my blog. You have to know where you want your website to go so you can steer it in that direction.
At this moment, I am focusing on a couple of eBooks I am hoping to have out by the end of the year.
I never stop thinking about ways to improve my site, or how to make it more user friendly which is why I tweak my design all the time.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
So many! I have no shame in saying I always look at what people bigger than I are doing, and the way they have their sites setup and try to do something similar with my style. Offhand a few influencers that inspire me are Nomadic Matt, Expert Vagabond, Planet D, Land Lopers and That Backpacker.
Stephen Schreck is explorer, adrenaline junkie, and passionate traveler. He is also the founder and author behind A Backpacker’s Tale, an adventure travel website that offer backpacking travel tips to inspire others to travel.