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 We Said Go Travel in 2010 to share stories from traveling. I read several books on how to promote your own memoir and everything said you needed a platform. I decided to start writing once a week. Many people told me that if I only posted once a week, I would never get anywhere. In the last year, I have been named a top 100-travel tweeter, a top 100 Travel blog and a top 1% elite travel influencer by Kred.
2. What do you think makes for a great influencer?
A great influencer is someone with integrity and something to say. Many people are making noise in the cyber world but an influencer shares their knowledge and stories and other people are drawn to learn more. I started a page on our site about “doing good.” I have hosted several events and participated with others who are creating value and positive change in the world.
3. What kind of value do you think bloggers and influencers provide nowadays?
Bloggers and influencers can provide value by being content creators and curators. I have been honored to have over 1300 writers share their stories in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contests since January 2013. Travelers from over seventy-five countries chose to tell their tales about inspiration, independence and gratitude. I have learned so much from the many different perspectives. I cannot wait to read the new entries from our latest contest!
4. Do you have any tips for newbie bloggers on how to increase your reach and become a trusted influencer in your field?
When I was a newbie blogger, I reached out to others who impressed me. Some of them became friends and mentors. The best thing is to make connections and network with people who you respect and like. Build your own niche and community. It can be hard in the beginning to know exactly what that is but keep trying and growing and experimenting.
5. What has been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
A highlight of my writing career has been being published in so many places. I had an article in print in The Myanmar Times the week that President Obama was visiting so his photo is on the cover and my article is inside! I wrote about a royal cremation ceremony in Ubud for National Geographic Intelligent Traveler and I just signed to freelance with USA Today 10best.
6. What is the most difficult part about blogging that many people may not realize?
The hardest part about blogging is being consistent. For the first two years, I wrote an article every Sunday for Technorati and for We Said Go Travel. I was working full time as a teacher and writing and traveling when I could. Sometimes I felt discouraged that I was not getting anywhere but I just kept going.
7. What kind of opportunities have you had as a result of your blogging success?
One of my favorite trips was being invited to Palau for a week with other writers and media people. The scuba diving at Blue Corner with sharks and swimming with “Stingless” Jellyfish in the Rock Islands were two of my most memorable adventures ever. I loved the kayaking and all the fancy hotels!
8. What has been the most memorable or important piece of advice you received as a (beginner) blogger?
The best advice I got was from Marketing Guru, Seth Godin, who says “Artists Ship.” I read his emails every day and find many of them very inspiring. When I planned my first event, a talk called “Uncovering Jewish Morocco,” many people had negative things to say like: no one will come, no one will care, what makes you an expert. I decided to do it even if I was there alone. Because of my efforts, I was invited to have my own column on the Jewish Journal (one million unique views a month) and over forty people showed up and liked my talk. I videotaped it and it helped me start my YouTube channel which now has over 500 subscribers, 280 videos and just passed ¼ million views. The entire time I just kept saying to myself: Ship Early. Artists Ship. I was not sure if it would work or be good or be worth it, but I just kept going. I was recently invited to do a second webinar for the University of Pennsylvania and a talk on content marketing at USC.
9. What kind of future do you see for your blog?
We Said Go Travel is going to have a bright future! Before the end of the year, I am migrating to a responsive design platform so it will be better for mobile devices. I am very excited about the response for our 6th travel-writing contest that opened on September 11 and will close on November 27 (American Thanksgiving). This Fall contest has a theme of gratitude and I am very grateful to everyone who has shared a story and supported the site.
10. Finally, who are the bloggers that influence you?
There are so many bloggers who influence me. I have always appreciated Dave Thompson of Dave’s Travel Corner who is one of the nicest and most supportive bloggers I have ever met. Jessie Voigts of Wandering Educators and Sherry Ott from Meet Plan Go have both been very helpful in my journey from the very beginning and shared many secrets of success with me. There are so many people who spent time helping me understand all the different pieces it takes to run a website. I want to say thank you to all of them and to all of you for reading! I hope you choose to get started or keep going, as you just never know what is around the next corner!
Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker and global citizen who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. You might find her underwater, traveling to an exotic location, teaching in the classroom or in print about social media, science education, lifelong learning, books, and travel.
Recently, in print in Prevention Magazine’s “Go For It” section about setting goals and achieving them, her weight loss was also highlighted in print in First for Women Magazine. On National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day, she was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Niver was a 2014 nominee for the humanitarian award, the Charles Bronfman Prize. Niver writes for many online and offline publications including Wharton Business Magazine, USA Today, National Geographic, the Huffington Post, the Guardian and the Jewish Journal.