Travel Secret #363
Meet Victoria and Steve. She is a writer, he makes films. They run bridgesandballoons, a mega-popular blog that chronicles their worldwide travels. We asked them to spill their success secrets, and lo!
Should one have a disciplined blogging routine? What’s your own blogging routine like?
Victoria: Ideally, I think it’s good to have a regular blogging schedule so that your readers know when to expect an update. It also helps you to stay disciplined – a little bit of routine with work is always helpful for being efficient. That said, it can be hard to keep to that routine, especially in between travel dates and other work commitments. I try to update the blog at least once a week, and twice when I have time.
Social media tips: 3 that really work!
1.Engage with other users – it’s called social media for a reason!
2. Share other people’s work – no-one likes someone who only talks about themselves (except on Instagram).
3. Don’t treat all the social networks as equals – different things work well on different platforms. For example, you can get away with more casual photos on Twitter and Facebook, but you should only put your best ones on Instagram.
The best way to monetise your blog?
Victoria: Making money through blogging is complicated and as it’s such a new field, it changes and evolves all the time. It depends a lot on the individual blog’s strengths. For example, a lot of bloggers use their blog as a platform to promote their skills and get other jobs, such as freelance writing, filmmaking or photography. Both Steve and I do that a lot.
Making money directly through the blog is more complicated as it can compromise the integrity of a blog and therefore the reason people read and trust it in the first place. It’s tricky as bloggers aren’t supported by a publisher in the same way journalists are so they have to make money somehow – I think it’s important to strike a balance. For example, we sometimes work with tourism boards to promote their destinations, getting paid a fee to visit and write about places – but we choose those destinations carefully, only agreeing to a trip if it’s something we would do regardless of whether or not we were being paid. It’s a hot topic in blogging – some staunchly avoid anything sponsored while others get sponsored for everything – it’s about what works for you and your readers.
Affiliate marketing is also a good way to make money through blogging, but it relies on large audience numbers.
Bloggers/photographers you admire and follow?
Victoria: My favourite blogs are The Everywhereist, A Little Adrift, Uncornered Market, So Many Places, Flora the Explorer, This Battered Suitcase, As the Bird Flies and Legal Nomads.
Steve: I spend a lot of time on Tumblr, Imgur and Instagram looking for great photography. Emmanuel Lubezki is my favourite cinematographer and his Instagram (chivexp) is amazing.
Your best-loved blog post: do share!
Victoria: Currently the most popular post on Bridges and Balloons is ‘The Best Way to Spend a Month in Kerala and Goa’, which outlines our full 28-day itinerary. It was such a wonderful trip so it makes us happy to know that other people are finding our tips useful. One couple even got engaged on the houseboat we recommended!
Victoria and Steve spoke to TS Writer Tanya Anand.