If traveling is your passion, the job description of a travel blogger has to be something you would totally go for, right? It’s been about 2 years since Sarah and I started with our Instagram account @wanderlust.nl and 6 months later our baby Wander-Lust was born. Now I travel to a new destination about once a month, making a living out of the one thing I love the most.
So how did I go from dreaming to reality?
I never had the ambition to become a travel blogger. It just happened and I think that’s my secret. I’m the kind of girl who follows her heart and that’s always taken me to the right places, at the right time. I just did what I wanted or loved to do. I wanted to move to London when I was 17 years old, so I did. No big deal. (now I think it was quite a big deal but at the time it felt so normal) So in that aspect, I have always been trustworthy of my intuition, my heart and the goals that came along with it. I always liked writing but I never followed a study in journalism (you may have noticed!). I just did it. I started writing for myself, then a blog and other online platforms and somehow I rolled into to it. The traveling part has always been a part of my life so it wasn’t long before it only made sense to put these two passions together. I never thought; I can’t do this. I always think you should try, or try harder.
Time is key
So how do you start a professional travel blog? Well, apart from buying a WordPress theme, website name and a slick business card, you need to put a lot of time and effort into your blog. I worked a full time job so all my evening hours were spend with Wander-Lust. No exceptions during the weekend. I had less time for my friends, date night with boyfriend or dinners. But eventually it started to pay off. Our website was finished, our newsletter was written and we went LIVE. A scary moment but wow, so many people visited our website that day! We must have done something right because the same day we received an email from a Dutch magazine who wanted to interview us about our favorite spots in Amsterdam. We couldn’t believe it. People liked it!
The real deal started after this day. We needed to produce content and get to know our followers. What do they like? How are we going to get Google to like us and add us on the first page? How are we going to reach our first 10.000 unique visitors, or even 2000?! All questions we didn’t know the answer to. But after a few months and lot’s of trials, we started to notice an increase of traffic. Our social media was growing (Instagram and Facebook) and we heard people talking about our blog.
There are a few things you need to do to get it right and fit in with the big boys so to speak.
- Have yourself a professional photoshoot. You must know a friend or workmate that knows how to shoot pictures. Buy him/her a killer lunch and you have yourself a nice set of photo’s which you can use for your website, social media and press (if they ever need a picture). Even if your blog isn’t about yourself, it’s good to have a few photo’s because people always want to know who their dealing with.
- Get yourself a Logo and some Business cards. Stand out but keep it classy. Your logo will reflect your blog. My best friend who is a graphic designer, created ours.
- Create a media kit. This has all your information tucked into one. Your reach might not be so high at this point but showing pr agencies that you have put the effort into a media kit, shows your professionalism.
- Call/Email PR Agencies and introduce yourself. The best thing is to invite yourself for a coffee so they can meet you face to face. Have your elevator pitch ready and have an answer to the question; Why is your travel blog different from all the others?
- Visit Events. As soon as PR Agencies start to notice you, you will receive some invitations. Go. Especially in the beginning. Network your ass off but stay real. Meet fellow travel bloggers and learn from them, be inspired. Write about the brand or the event afterwards (if you liked it) so they will add you on the list next time.
“I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money”
Start Making Money
It might sound cliché but I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money. If that was my goal, I would have become a dentist. No, I started Wander-Lust because I freaking love anything to do with travel. This passion makes me want to work long hours without taking a break. I was lucky to have saved some money before I decided to leave my job and focus on my travel blog. This allowed me to spend all my hours on my blog and not having to worry about paying my rent. After a few months we started to get a few paid assignments through our social media and soon after we got our first press trip. That was the moment when we realized; wow, we are actually traveling for work.
Treat Your Blog as a Serious Job
Create enough content for people to read. We started with 3 articles per week but now we do 5. Some bloggers even post 3 articles a day! More content means more traffic. We got featured by a few websites who mentioned us as one of the nicest travel blogs or Instagram accounts. Besides this we also got the opportunity to start writing for ELLE.NL and other platforms. That meant a lot to us and it certainly got noticed. More press trips followed and now we even get paid to travel. You have to see it as a serious job because if I go on a press trip, I don’t have the time to work on other content and I won’t be able to take on other assignments. Organisations pay me because I actually do a lot of work. I write an article (sometimes 2), use my social media channels, edit video’s and always put in my best efforts. If you are asked to go on a press trip, it’s because you’re doing something right. Don’t feel bad to ask for a fee. Treat your blog as such and it will turn into a serious job.
Wander-Lust still has a long way to go, but I am proud of where we stand today. From nothing, we created a place where we can hopefully inspire people to travel, explore destinations and places they haven’t been before and live life to the max. I firmly believe that you should use your experience to help others to reach their goals so please drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions about becoming a travel blogger!
More travel tips?