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 started my blog in 2009 after an inspiring trip to Iceland. The blog actually came about after my travel Twitter account (@travelsofadam). Mostly, while traveling to Iceland on a short weekend break, I realized I wanted to travel more. And after having received so much help from strangers online, I realized that I should return the favor. So I started my blog to share my own travel tips, to meet new people and to practice a forgotten passion of mine from college: writing. Read about why I started a blog in the first place, and why I think it’s so successful in my post about the subject here: Why I Started a Travel Blog.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
Having an audience is most important. You can’t influence anyone or anything without an audience!
3. What kind of value do you think bloggers and influencers provide nowadays?
Marketing has changed a lot over recent years and a clear trend has been personalization. Bloggers are in a great position to offer personal opinions in an influential way. With quality writing, true social media reach and personality, blogs might even be considered a marketer’s dream as the bang for the buck can go far and wide!
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
Ask smart questions, but more importantly: be polite. I honestly believe too many bloggers feel entitled and, because of this sense of entitlement, lose out on future partnerships and opportunities. Too many bloggers will only add a link to a company (however big or small) if they receive payment for it. These are huge missed opportunities, and to be honest, not at all how I see the internet works.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
I’ve worked with countless brands in creative ways based on my own pitches and those from other agencies, but far and away the highlight of blogging for me has been the personal connections I’ve made with strangers. I love receiving emails from travelers who’ve said my story has inspired them, whether to travel to a particular place or just to see the world differently.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
One of the biggest challenges with blogging is the time spent working on it. A blog is so much more than just a website or journal, but perhaps because I come to blogging after working in the publishing industry, I see my blog as a publication (though I’m very happy to call it a blog – it says so clearly on my site’s header!). As a publisher, you’ve got to work on every aspect of the publication from writing, editing, photographing, marketing and business development. Many bloggers might outsource pieces of this, but it’s also vital for a successful blog that they keep some things in house — otherwise you lose the personality and personalization that makes blogging so unique and special.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
Besides working as a freelance writer (having contributed to AFAR, Yahoo Travel, Business Insider and countless online publications), I’ve worked with many brands and destinations on creative marketing projects. Recently I was selected as one of the STA Travel Insiders as part of a YouTube video campaign.
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
It’s been 5 years since I started my blog so not really sure what that would’ve been. And besides, my blog initially started not as a business but as a hobby. Over the years, though, I’d say the best advice is to seriously work on marketing. Content is obviously important and you should write well, but no one is going to see it if you can’t market it.
9. What kind of future do you see for your blog?
With an upcoming relaunch of the website at the end of this summer I’ll have more of an emphasis on my city guides which are already the most popular content on my site. I see myself producing more city guides and working with destinations to make sure the guides are promoted and shared in the best possible way. I strive to keep my guides unique and relevant, tailored to millennial travelers like myself who are after more personal and unique travel experiences.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
For inspiration, I pay a lot of attention to blogs outside of travel/tourism — ones that have created successful brands. For example, Humans of New York started really just as a photography project but has turned into one of the most successful online brands. Even recently the site announced a partnership with the United Nations to travel and photograph people around the world, sharing unique stories. As a travel blogger, I’d recommend sites such as Skift for finding out what travel brands are doing online and offline.
Adam Groffman is a freelance writer and travel blogger based in Berlin, where he covers city trips in Europe and around the world, expat life, LGBT issues, festivals, and nightlife. His work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, DETAILS, USA Today Travel and numerous online publications. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts and culture scene. His travel stories are available on his blog, Travels of Adam, though if you want to reach him, it’s probably best done through his @travelsofadam Twitter account. Adam also edits the My Gay Travel Guide website and writes about digital marketing on his portfolio website, AdamGroffman.com.