Anna Phipps, from the UK, has a serious case of travel addiction. She quit her job in December 2012 and has been travelling ever since and set up her blog Global Gallivanting to show others how affordable it is to do the same.
Anna has inter railed around Europe, worked in an outback pub in Australia and fallen in love with Asia and in particular, India, a country that she is passionate about exploring and encouraging others to visit what she feels is the ultimate travel destination.
What advice would you give to travel bloggers who are trying to get 'on the map' online?
Firstly, try and be original, or if you can’t be original (there are so many travel blogs out there!) at least be specific, hone in on a niche or a particular passion and become an expert in that. Learn about SEO and network with other bloggers and be prolific on social media. Most of all I think you have to have a passion about something and write it about it well and stick with it, nothing happens over night. Write about something you are so passionate about that you go on about if for a year before you see any reward because that’s how long it takes in most cases!
How can travel bloggers ensure their content’s different from everything else out there?
I think it comes down to passion again! If you are passionate about something it is much easier to write well, write originally about it and keep at it. Also don’t be afraid to show your personality, that’s often what will set you apart and how your readers will relate to you. Don’t be worried that not everyone will like it, you don’t need everyone too! Be true to yourself and be real! A relevant and engaged audience is the most valuable thing.
Would you say that social media’s a vital tool for bloggers?
Totally, its massively important! At the start, before I really knew much about SEO and keyword research, the majority of my traffic and readers came from social media, don’t underestimate the power of social media. I’ve even been offered sponsored trips from my Instagram account too! Also don’t underestimate the value of networking face to face with brands and other bloggers. I recently attended TBEX, a conference for travel bloggers. For more blogging tips take a look at my 10 takeaways from TBEX.
Which articles/stories did far better than you expected?
The ones where I was the most true to myself, the ones when I wondered whether it was too personal and should I really be publishing this!
My most read articles are useful, informative ones so things like How to Find a Job on an Australian Working Holiday and How to Buy a Campervan in Australia and Safety Tips for Women Traveling in India. Also articles about Free Travel or the Cheapest Places to Travel have done well too but what works for another blogger and their audience could be totally different to me.
Have you ever been surprised by a lack of interest in a piece which you thought would do really well?
I guess at the start yes, I would spend ages writing beautiful prose about a beautiful place in India or Cambodia only to find that not many people had read it but then I realised that what works on a travel blog is totally different to what people want to read in a travel magazine or book. Readers have short attention span online and they often want to read something practical or useful that solves a travel problem.
How often should a blogger be posting new content online, and should most of it be written content? Can video content be just as popular?
I think quantity not quality is the most important. It’s good to publish as much content as you can but if it’s rushed and poorly written then there is not much point. At least once a week is the minimum though I think otherwise you will start losing readers. I try to post every other day but often I’m too busy traveling or have problems getting internet access.
Content can come in so many ways - be creative! The more creative the better, video content (vlogging) is huge right now and podcasts too. Find new ways to entertain and engage with your audience. The blog world moves and changes quickly.
Which travel bloggers do you rate at the moment?
There are so many great travel blogs that I seek destination advice, tips and inspiration from. These are a few on my favourites at the moment:-
Be My Travel Muse, great destination pieces and tips and reflections from the road as a solo female traveller.
Breath Dream Go and Hippie in Heels are a great resources for travel in India (my favourite destination!)
Wandering Earl, has been traveling over years now and has great tips and stories from all over the world.
Goats on the Road, have loads of useful content on sustaining travel by blogging, house sitting and working on the road plus loads of great destination pieces.
Nomadasarus are currently traveling overland from Thailand to South Africa and cover some really interesting, off the beaten track destinations on their way.