How to find your adoring travel blogging audience (and keep it)

By | September 30th, 2011

Editor’s note: This is part five of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one, the second one, the third one and the fourth one. I’ll have the final installment tomorrow.

You’re missing a key ingredient to your super-successful travel blog: your audience.

Notice that I said “your” audience. Not “an” audience or “the” audience. When you become a travel blogger, you will make a deep connection with your users that goes beyond anything you had in old media. These aren’t simply readers, viewers or listeners; they are members of your extended family.

Earlier in this series, I mentioned that the best bloggers put themselves into their work — all of themselves — and if you want to find your audience, you’ll have to do that, too. Don’t hold back.

It used to be absolutely fine to be an objective, dispassionate observer of the news. But that’s so 20th century. It doesn’t work online, at least not in travel blogging.

Travel blogging is about big personalities and exciting destinations. It’s about oversized, emotionally-charged photos, jaw-dropping destination videos, drop-dead gorgeous women with cameras, handsome guys with Indiana Jones complexes and leather jackets for added authenticity … it’s about being there, and if you’re not there, dreaming about being there. Travel blogging is the most exciting thing you could do, and once you find your passion you’ll connect with your adoring fans.

Alright, I have to make a confession: As someone who deals with consumer issues, I get to mostly watch these beautiful people go on their trips. Occasionally, they let me out of my prison here in Stepford to take a little trip with my family, but I would hardly call most of my travels exciting.

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But you … you! You are about to join an elite group of writers and photographers who don’t just dream the dream, they do it. I’m so jealous.

That said, there are ways you can amplify your voice online to attract new followers. Let’s go over them now.

The good

Facebook – This site has become the primary driver of traffic to my site in the last year. I recommend a one-two punch of a personal Facebook page and a “fan” page. Here’s mine. I think Facebook works because it’s all about conversations, which is essentially what a good travel blog is — a conversation.

Twitter – This is my number-two traffic source. Here’s my account, in case you want to follow me (of course you do). Twitter is great for securing instant feedback on your posts and interacting with readers in real time. A few months ago, I dismissed Twitter as yet another social network, but it is the real deal, and it will bring you serious eyeballs.

Google+ – I included this fledgling social network because it shows a lot of promise, and it does deliver visitors to your site. With one hundred billion users — well, that may be something of an exaggeration — Google+ has the potential to send lots of new followers your way. You need to be here, even if there’s not much to see.

  • I agree with all of your points, especially about which social media sites to use!

  • Raven_Altosk

    Also: LiveJournal used to have some good travel communities, but since it was bought by Russians who don’t care that the servers go down half the time, not so much.

  • Eddy

    You forgot variety.  I consult on social media and I can’t tell you how many blogs have died because they run the same thing, over and over and over again.  And opinion is an asset, not finding new ways to express it is a liability.

    And never forget, we’re all entertainers.  The minute, no the second, you get boring it’s over.

  • Eddy

    Sorry, that’s “An opinion…”

  • Sadie Cee

    Chris, I will be spending the next few days going over all your material with a view to deciding whether my enduring dream of being a travel “writer” is in the cards.  My interest has never been in writing about the holiday sites to be visited as there are so many others who do this extremely well.  The work I have done to date centres around certain particular activities that operate behind the scenes.  Your series has been encouraging, positive and upbeat. Thank you very much for making the project seem possible. 

  • You never mentioned the importance of being a guest blogger to get fans from other web sites that have traffic. What do you think about that avenue?