Dear Newbie Travel Blogger,
This open letter is from me directly to you. Who am I to be writing to you? Well I’m me, Jean. A well known Australian travel blogger. Actually Melbourne’s most infamous coffee fuelled adventure travel blog. I’m also a chapter leader for Travel Massive and reguarly present on brand & blogger engagement. My street cred is seen in my kind eyes and calloused fingers from typing away for some many years. I’ve been doing this blogging/influencer thing for a little while now. And by a little while I mean 3 years or so. I’ve done the hard yards. Spent hours working on honing my craft. And I’m really happy to share my hard learnt lessons with you. I’m here helping you on Facebook groups. Answering your silly repetitive questions.
So to help you grow, develop and truly become a wonderful citizen of the world here are a few of my pet peeves which I really wish you’d stop doing.
Stop Asking for Freebies
Oh I can’t tell you how many times a day I see you all huddled in your newly discovered Facebook group. You finally get the courage to put finger to keyboard and push out a most delicious and ridiculous request such as the below.
- So I’ve been blogging for 22 days, I have 9 followers and my mum says I’m cool. How can I get brands to work with me?
- I’m good as at writting and have a wordpress.com based blog. When can I start asking brands to give me free stuff?
- When can I expect people to give me free stuff
- Do I need to send my stats to a brand to get all the free stuff?
Firstly – Stop.
This travel blogging to making money is a rough road that you are about to journey down. Be prepared to have a sore arse from all the ups and downs. Being a travel blogger isn’t just for the perceived free stuff. If your aim is to make millions, travel the world for free and be a sex god then travel blogging isn’t for you my dear. Let me slap you in the face with the truth fish – Travel blogging is hard work. Oh no I dropped the “W” word. W O R K. When a brand agrees to send you an item it isn’t for free sweet cheeks. It’s an exchange of services. Brands expect you to work your sweet arse off for that item. Whether it’s a $10 item or a $1000 item. The expectation is still there. It’s a weighty expectation for you to act like a professional and deliver.
Brands expect that you have a solid community of followers. That you have spent time nurturing and developing a loyal following. That you know what works well with your community and how to best present their brand to this community.
Deliver what you promise.
If you have managed to hood wink a brand into working with you then you need to deliver what was agreed upon. Even if this takes you a lot longer then you anticipated.
When you don’t get how this works you fuck it up for the rest of us. When you never write that article. Never share that Instagram image. You are literally a bad person that is damaging the travel blogging community. Also known as an arsehole bastard here in Australia.
Let go of the Leibster Award
Because no one cares. I care so little that I’m not even going to link to this faux shitty award. Yes that truth slapping fish is here again. When you post in ALL the Facebook groups and leave me messages on my blog asking me if I want to be nominated what do I want to do? Fish – face – You…. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.
Leave crappy comments with your URL on other well known blogs.
Oh hey I’ve done the exact same but different trip here’s my blog post www.imnotagoodperson.wordpress.com
This is a killer. A killer mistake. Somewhere along the line some cruddy How to be a Travel Blogger and Make Money decided that this was great advice to get the all important juice link to your blog. No. Nope. No way. It’s a terrible idea and shows how unprofessional you are. Don’t see these on my blog? Yeah that’s because my spam filter captures this data and throws it out the window without a second glance.
I’m sorry that you paid for this shitty advice.
Demand to have all my contacts.
Ah no. At least buy me a drink before you try to screw me over. Please stop thinking that it’s ok to demand in a public space (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc) that I hand over my business contacts after you’ve seen that I’ve done a sponsored post of a FAM trip. I take what I do seriously. I don’t know who from a bar of cheap hostel soap. So why would I give you my business contacts? Those contacts that I’ve worked hard to gain their trust and respect? I’m not a telemarketer selling off a database of details.
I do a lot of brand – blogger engagement work. I do this as part of a service we offer here at Traveling Honeybird. Sorry but I’m not going to risk smudging my reputation with someone I a- Don’t know or b- have seen being a diva/dick online or even in real life.
Don’t be a Dick
So many travel bloggers have the DYKWIA syndrome. No, I don’t know who you are and I most likely don’t care. Actually I’m 99.9% sure that I don’t care/ You know who I know? Nice people. Who do I work with? Those nice people who are easy to deal with, are professional and who can be trusted.
If you do make it onto a press trip or to a networking event be a nice person. It won’t kill you.
So what can you do to be a better travel blogger?
Now that you’ve stopped crying at my harsh words or the pain from the Fish of Truth there are some really simple things you can do to be a better travel blogger.
Be prepared to work.
There I go again dropping the W word. You need to be prepared to work. On your blog. On your community engagement and building. And maybe even somewhere else along the way until you can comfortably and reliably start charging for the work you are doing. Whilst I love what it is I do here I also have several other income streams to ensure that we can pay rent, feed the animals and ourselves.
Pay your own way.
Not every trip that you do is going to come as a freebie. If you’re lucky and work hard then you might be able to convince some brands to work with you. There’s nothing wrong with approaching places and doing a wee bit of bartering. BUT that’s not what travel blogging is about.
We commonly pay full rates for the places we go and the things we do.
Network your ass off.
I run the Melbourne chapter of TravelMassive. Which is the worlds largest travel networking community. We have airlines, bloggers, travel agents, vloggers and just about everyone inbetween. Some events are for free, others have a small charge to help cover costs. With chapters in 130 cities around the globe you’re sure to find one near by.
Don’t be a dick
Ok so I know I’m repeating this one but it’s a big one. There are millions of travel bloggers out there. Yet we are still an extremely small community. We love to drink and gossip. Word gets around if you’ve bought back links. Or if you’re a diva, leave your bags in the hotel room on a FAM trip and the harass the other attendees then guess whos’ going to know? Yup, everyone. And what are they going to be saying – Don’t work with that twat.
Take yourself seriously
Get off the free websites. If you want to do this take yourself seriously and get rid of those plans that give you a free, limited website. I don’t bother reading or dealing with .wordpress.com style blogs. Hosting is really cheap these days. You can easily get a domain and hosting for a year for under $100. Which is less then what some of you will spend on booze this weekend.
Exposure doesn’t pay the airfares.
Or the food bill. If you want to do this travel blogging thing seriously stop working with brands for exposure. Exposure is a magical word which translate to “We’re too cheap to pay for you”. Also stop pitching companies for magical exposure dollars.
So now that I’ve broken your heart, slapped you in the face with the Fish of Truth I’m going to walk away and give you some time to process all of this. If you have any questions on how to be a better travel blogger or think I’ve missed out on something let me know in the comments below.
If you’d like some help getting off a freebie hosting plan we can assist you in setting up a basic and professional looking travel blog for a very reasonable fee. Contact us for more information on this service.
Lots of love,
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.