Why? Because “windy” and “cold” are relative. I live in Sweden, and what you consider cold may not necessarily be cold to me.
Finding your travel blog's voice
Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström
Quick Background Writer, photographer, blogger – www.akinmade.com Blog at Geotraveler’s Niche – www.lolaakinmade.com Blogger for Sweden.se Write and photograph for many publications
Why do you blog? Love of travel Blog trips Money Family & friends All of the above None of the above
Truth be told Chances are most of us here want to live successfully doing what we love through our blogs…Money + Flexibility = More Travel
Here’s the problemTravel blogging reality curve
Here’s the problemTravel blogging reality curve YOU + Thousands of Other blogs
Here’s the problemTravel blogging reality curve Where you YOU want to be over time + Thousands of Other blogs
Here’s the problemTo get past the hump of generic fluff: - Passion YOU - Quality + - Unique Voice Thousands of Other blogs
Travel blogging frustration Many “voices” are already taken Budget Transportation Luxury Shopping Backpacking Spa Slow travel Boutique Food Local expert
Travel blogging frustrations Ironically, these “voices” are taken by the same bloggers on the same blog trips writing about the same things.
So we’re back… …to the generic hump of fluff! YOU + Thousands of Other blogs
And the truth is… Its too late to beeverything to everyone. Other blogs already jumped on this much earlier.
Goal of this workshopGive you solid ideas on how to [naturally] improve the overall quality of your blog content by finding its voice
Finding your blog’s voice Tip #1 Focus on you firstLove readers = yourself, not > yourself
Finding your blog’s voice What are YOUR interests? YOUR hobbies? What turns YOU on when you travel?
Finding your blog’s voiceQuality naturally improves when you know what you’re talking aboutbecause you’re genuinely interested in it. ……….Examples
Example1 - FocusI know nothing about surfingI’m not really interested in it either…
Example 1 - Focus But, if I just visited California or Hawaii, I may be tempted to do a “10 Cool things to try in Hawaii” and include surfing on the list…
Example 1 - Focus The problem My “10 Cool things to try in Hawaii” no longer becomes unique because I’m trying to please everyone with things I don’t even care about.
Example 2 - FocusI just got back from a blog trip where I got to enjoy Michelin-starred food and was wined and dined by the tourism board…
Example 2 - FocusThe problemSay there were 10 other bloggers also eating, drinking, and taking the exact same pictures of the lobster claw…
Example 2 - FocusBut I noticed one of the chefs had a tattoo of the city I was visiting…
Example 2 - FocusInstead of focusing on how I absolutely LOVED the city, I could actually ask the chef why he tattooed the city on his arm.He obviously loves it more than I ever could, right?
Revisiting Tip #1 - Focus Focusing on your own interests Focusing on what naturally piques your interest
Finding your blog’s voice Tip #2 Kill adjectives and clichés “Absolutely stunning” = generic
Finding your blog’s voice Think about your favorite bloggers…
Finding your blog’s voice Not just bloggers you respect because they’re where you’d like to be (i.e. making money from blogs, hopping on blog trip after blog trip).But travel blogs you actually read.
Finding your blog’s voice Because of how they write There’s a certain “openness” to their writing
Finding your blog’s voice They tend to“show” you what they experienced,rather than “tell”.
Finding your blog’s voice Showing “tells” your reader so much more than telling does by reducing adjectives.
Example – Kill AdjectivesGenova is a fascinating city with historical gems
Example – Kill Adjectives “[New York/Paris/Lisbon/Rome] is a fascinating city with historical gems” “Fascinating” and especially “Gems” tell the reader absolutely nothing.
Guess what?We’re back to the generic hump of fluff! YOU + Thousands of Other blogs
Finding your blog’s voiceClichés “Stockholm/St. Petersburg – The Venice of the North” “Bangkok/Udaipur/Alleppey - The é Venice of the East” “Georgetown/Christchurch/Melbou rne – The Venice of the South”
Finding your blog’s voiceAdjectives – Flat and/or Too Many Sun-kissed/Sun-dappled é Best-kept secret, Best, Great Perched, Nestled Exotic, Gem, Can’t miss/Must- see
Examples DISCLAIMER! For you fact-checkersIf you find clichés like “exotic” or “gem” in my other writing (not on my blog), an editor put it in there, not me.
Examples Generic”The Moyo restaurant pier is a popular place for surfers.”...okay, but what do the surfers do there? Drink coffee together?
Examples Unique It was enough to pull me away from the succulent prawns I was devouring at Durban’s iconic pier restaurant, Moyo. The sight of surfers waiting patiently at the tip of the pier scanning for waves out at sea.
Examples Generic”Hilo Farmer’s market is a place where you can bask in the colors, the exotic tastes, and smells of tropical summer.”…replace Hilo Farmer’s Market with any market
Examples Unique I walk past mounds of red cayenne pepper, yellow saffron, and green pistachio powder. There’s a strong smell of ripening pineapple in the air. This is Hilo Farmer’s market...that smell of pineapple may be distinct to Hilo Farmer’s market
Revisiting Tip #21. Write what you see, hear, and smell without a lot of adjectives2. Weave “yourself” into “your” experience3. Write like you’re writing to a friend, or be poetic if you like. Just be you.
Finding your blog’s voice Tip #3 Take creative risks…and don’t be afraid to fail at them
Finding your blog’s voice Remember this guy? www.wherethehellismatt.com
Finding your blog’s voiceOkay, great but it seems every single idea has already been taken.What can I do to be creative?
Finding your blog’s voiceTips for creativity Look at your daily non- traveling life Look at your habits Look at your other skills
Examples Hobby -> You like playing the flute Creative idea -> Learn to play a bit of each country’s national anthem and add that to your blog.
Examples Hobby -> You like to sketch Creativeidea -> Start blog posts with few sketches from where you’ve traveled
Examples Habit -> You’re obsessed with coffee Creativeidea -> Write posts about your quests for odd coffee flavors around the world
Revisiting Tip #3 Take creative risks by looking into your life: Your daily habits Your other skills
Finding your blog’s voice Tip #4Stop doubting your own voice One man’s “funny” is another man’s “boring”.
Finding your blog’s voice Will people still like me if they find out what I really think? Am I really boring? é Do I need to be funny? “Boring” & “Funny” is relative
Remember this chartYou can’t afford to be generic anymore YOU + Thousands of Other blogs
Finding your blog’s voice You can’t afford to be generic anymore because that ship has sailed long ago….And yes! I used a cliché
Finding your blog’s voice For your blog to please everyone, you will comprise on the overall quality of your blog. This makes you generic again.
Finding your blog’s voice So unless you’re Google with only one image and a textbox,Your personal voice matters – boring, funny, or not.
Finding your blog’s voice Tip #5 Be Patient Nothing was built overnight.
Finding your blog’s voiceBe patient with yourself Just like a teenager’s crackly voice, your blog’s voice will also mature as you continue to focus on what you’re passionate about and what interests you.
Finding your blog’s voiceBottom line… People are naturally drawn to people who are authentic and share the same interests beyond just a love for travel.
Finding your blog’s voiceBottom line… …and that’s how you can start building your own real and engaged community of readers.
In summaryHow to find your blog’s voice: Tip 1 – Focus on you first Tip 2 – Kill adjectives and clichés Tip 3 – Take creative risks Tip 4 – Stop doubting your own voice Tip 5 – Be patient
Workshop challenge In 200 words or less, describe one experience youve had so far in Genova.
Workshop challengeInstructions – Submit by Saturday, Oct 20 at 18:001) Share your assignment - Facebook.com/TravelBloggerElevator Tweet the link to your content with hashtag #TBE12 #best_westernITA2) Email – email@example.com [English] - firstname.lastname@example.org [Italian]