Picture this: You are parked at a Hawaiian beach in your pyjamas. Swinging on a hammock, you type out your ‘to-do’s on your laptop. There are gadgets and camera equipment scattered all around. You occasionally take a sip of your mojito, feel the breeze in your hair, and enjoy a peaceful work life funded by companies that sign you up as their brand ambassador.
Did you enjoy this visual? Well, sorry to break your idealistic bubble, but being a travel content creator is so much more than this! Read on to know more on this, as I try to shed some light on the reality of being a travel content creator.
But before I proceed with giving you a reality check, let me introduce you to Jeff Greenwald — the first man in history to pen down the first travel blog on the World Wide Web. Back in the early 1990s, he circled the globe by land and sea with a battery-powered laptop and documented his sojourns.
Creating a benchmark is easier when you are the first one to carve a niche. Today, there are plenty of fish in the sea of travel creators in India, which makes it harder to make the cut. You may create content out of sheer passion, but so do your competitors. And the fact that travel content creation is thought of as this unstable and unserious profession makes it worse.
But hey, there are things that you can take note of to prepare yourself better before joining the bandwagon of #wanderlustsouls. If you are passionate about travel content creation, becoming a full-time travel blogger, or currently are one, read on as we decode things that no one tells you about being a travel content creator!
Here Are Things That Every Travel Content Creator Must Know
1. Your Profession Is Bound To Spark Curiosity
People are going to be curious, and you cannot change that. When you tell someone that you’re a travel content creator/influencer, a barrage of notions and observations pop up in their head. “Ahh, another one!”, “Tere toh saare trips free me hote honge na?”, “She must be super rich to be able to fund her travels!”, “What kind of a profession is this? You get money to just travel?”. Come what may, you cannot really stop your audience from being curious about your hatke career choice.
Travel content creation is a lucrative field of work, and only you know of your diurnal struggles ﹘ the time taken to curate each blog/post/video, learn new content creation strategies, digital marketing, SEO optimisation, and publicising. You’re often missing out on living in the moment and soaking in its beauty because you’re busy running around to get that perfect photo or video to create your content.
You are a one-woman crew-your own entrepreneur. And while your stories speak of positive things, they do not portray the real picture of your hard work.
2. Sponsored Travel Is A Rare Phenomenon
If you’re planning to become a travel content creator because someone has told you that you will get to travel for free, you’re mistaken. Remember this especially when you’re just starting out: travel blogging for beginners essentially means that you won’t always be travelling for free, unless you make it big with more than a 100k followers on social media, or 200K subscribers on your blog. Brand sponsorships come via hard-pitching your brand and yourself as a travel creator.
Free travel mustn’t be a motivating factor for you to become a creator. To reach that stage, start small and strategise your content. Network and build connections with tourism boards, travel guides, commutation, property and cafe owners frequently. Look at what is trending, start with budget-friendly trips, learn how to shoot your own content, edit videos and photos, and write and post what your audience wants to see. Most importantly, be consistent at it.
3. Making Money As A Travel Content Creator
If you’re already thinking about how travel bloggers get paid or how much do travel bloggers make, what needs to be understood is that creating travel funds without selling your content is difficult. As a travel content creator, you might notice that when you put too many ads or sponsored posts, your audience does not reciprocate well, or even worse, unfollows/unsubscribes. So the question is how do you make money as a travel blogger? The way out is by maintaining a healthy balance between selling your content and staying authentic.
Consider cold-pitching your travel articles to bigger and popular publications. You will then have a larger audience reading your content, and it will help you build authority within your own niche. You can also contribute to travel podcasts or collaborate with other eminent travel YouTubers to keep the cash coming.
Start networking with tourism boards, accommodation owners, and your fellow travel content creators. You may also consider selling travel-themed merchandise through your blog or social media platforms, to raise funds for your travels.
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4. Hobby Blogging Is Starkly Different From Professional Travel Blogging
There is blogging to fuel your hobby, and then there is blogging to earn your bread and butter. If you have chosen to be a full-time travel content creator, you must be aware of the fact that posting what you love is different from posting what your audience wants you to. It is much like running your own business.
Professional travel content creation involves chasing deadlines, racing against time and nature to get that perfect content clicked, planning in advance, and lots of research. Learn how to do monthly data analytics to see what worked and what tanked. It is important for you to know how many people are reading your articles, viewing your stories, liking and saving your content, or even the bounce rate of your content. Ace your game not just creatively but also technologically.
5. Having A Backup Source Of Income Will Do You Good
There are many articles that feature people who have left their jobs to pursue full-time traveling. That’s highly idealistic and sounds fun. But ask yourself some preliminary questions: Did they have monetary backup or someone sponsoring them?
Things may look easy on the internet, but don’t let it fool you. Try and have a stable source of income while also pursuing your dream of creating travel content.
It will then be easier to fund your trips or meet your regular expenses. Keep a track of your finances and figure out your sustenance before making any decision.
6. Keeping Up With Ever-Changing Trends Is A Task
But you have to do what you have to do, right? It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the travel industry, as it will only help you create better content. If you want to know more about – how to start a travel blog on Instagram, wrap your head around its features. Reels, relevant hashtags, music ﹘ try educating yourself on what’s working there.
Watch the news and follow travel groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Follow as well as draw inspiration from your fellow travellers without getting jealous of their work. For instance, sustainable and slow travel is a major trend in the post-pandemic world. Think of how you would leverage it as an entrepreneur of your own travel brand, and spread the good message through your posts, pictures, and videos.
7. The Competition Is Real
When you’re a travel content creator, you aren’t competing only with travel bloggers. There are YouTubers, zillions of Influencers, and media giants like BBC Travel, Fox Traveler, and Nat Geo Travel among others. They’re always going to have an edge because of their massive reach. So, think of strategies that will make you rank higher on social media platforms as well as on Google.
Prepare a budget and keep that money aside to work on your brand. Sharpen your writing skills, try to invest in a good and compact phone. Learn the basics of digital marketing to promote your travel blog/page. Knowing how to work on generating trending SEO keywords and staying updated with Google’s ever-changing algorithm is very crucial to stay on top of the game. Take up professional courses and SEO-optimise your content if you have to. This almost completely answers and covers all tips on how to be a travel content creator in today’s times.
8. Conventionally Attractive Creators Will Always Have An Edge
This is painfully true. The audience associates a brand with a face, and conventionally attractive creators are always going to have an upper hand since it is naturally a part of their appeal and aura. However, something that will always remain evergreen is good content.
Start taking your brand voice and aesthetic seriously. Create a monthly/weekly plan and execute as per what is trending. When you lace your travel content with a healthy proportion of authenticity as well as market demand, it makes people want to try things out more, which further boosts your engagement.
Make your content so good that your face doesn’t need to be the star of the show!
9. Convincing Your Family Isn’t Easy
The mighty generational gap often gets in the way of one’s dreams. While your parents might still change their mind and support you, the fear of you getting into a flaky profession may dampen their hopes. It is always better to have a productive conversation with your folks and create a list of all the benefits of being a full-time travel content creator.
Focus on the pros while pitching your passion to them. Keep them updated about your plans. They are your family; even if they don’t agree with or understand your profession, they will always support you.
Any job that is worthwhile is going to be hard in the beginning. But travel content creation takes you to places that you had only dreamt of. It makes you open to experiencing different cultures, cuisines, and befriending awesome people. And even though you may have a few hiccups on the way, it is absolutely worth your time. So, never stop following your passion, and while you’re at it, tell us your beautiful travel stories in the comments below!
Updated 30 August 2021
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