Thinking that your amazing content will bring people to you in droves.
It’s so easy to think this is the pattern. And careful social media curation doesn’t do a lot to dispel this myth. While it’s true that those with 1+million followers or even those with 10,000 might look like they live on the beach, getting thousands of dollars in ads and per post for amazing products companies just throw at them, the reality is the following: THEY.WORK.HARD.
If you ever have the good fortune of meeting one of these “carefree” and “bohemian” social media travel blogger stars, the first thing you’ll note is how incredibly driven they are, and how hard they work for what they get.
They’re out there, in the travel community. Making friends, hustling, contacting sponsors, and, of course, creating meaningful and useful content that people enjoy, get inspired by, and learn from. They’re reaching out to news sites, pitching ideas to Afar, Huffington Post, Forbes, Elite Daily etc.
Looking at your own Instagram or Twitter with 20 posts and 50 followers (mostly friends), it’s tempting to fall into the pit of doom that many have fallen into before: buying followers *gasp*. Don’t do that. It’s less of a numbers game than you think, and QUALITY reigns over quantity every time. In fact, challenge yourself to look at the followers of an account with many followers and few posts. Chances are, you’ll see a lot of ILUVU_958 and HOTGRL011z accounts. Bought followers, fake accounts, low credibility, sloppy, and dishonest. Just don’t do it.
This brings us to our next myth….
Your readership/follower count is too small to even attempt a brand ambassadorship.
If you aren’t interested in brand ambassadorships, that’s totally fine, but they can be some of the greatest opportunities you get as a blogger. Not just financially, but the feeling of genuinely providing a service and fostering a relationship with someone in the industry (whether a big company, a creative business, and everything in between), helping them increase brand awareness, is pretty great.
You may think that only those with tens of thousands of followers have a chance. This is incorrect. First, as stated above, many have bought their followers (and savvy businesses can smell these shoddy practices from a mile away). Second, they might be a smaller company or a startup and going for the ‘big fish’ in the social media marketing world might actually not be in their best interest financially or creatively (a chocolate company might not want to reach out to someone whose Instagram is all bikinis and who commands $3000 per post). In essence, you’re both helping each other out. Some bigger companies prefer to have representatives with at least 5000 followers (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), but if you don’t have that yet, either patiently keep doing good things and wait for followers to increase, or reach out anyways with a cool and unique pitch they can’t turn down.
You’re not a brand.
If anyone ever said this to you, they’re full of lies. Hopefully, you’ve come this far and realize that you’re selling yourself and your adventures as much as you’re selling a lifestyle.
You and your travel accounts (blogs, website, social media etc.) are basically a fledgling actor, trying to make it big. You’re going to need to sell yourself a bit. You MUST have a media kit. It doesn’t matter if you started your website yesterday or 5 years ago, if you want to advance in the travel blog world, a media kit is your biggest representative. This might not be something you have on your profiles directly, but when contacting businesses for potential partnerships or sponsorships, they’re going to want to know who you are, and what you can do for them. A media kit (more details to come on that later) is basically your site’s glamor shot and business card rolled into one. Even if you never send it out, if someone reaches out to you for collaborations etc., it’s good to have on hand.
It’s important to put your best foot forward. if your site talks about how you lack design skills and social media savvy, don’t let that reflect on your media kit. If you can’t do it yourself, get someone who can!
Some great posts on media kits can be found from Katy Widrick and The Blog Maven
Someone has already been there, done that before you.
They may have been to the same countries/cities/places, what have you. Don’t you dare let that stop you from also writing about it. Everyone’s experience is different. Many people get robbed at knifepoint on the steps of Notre Dame. Many do not. Does it change their experience? Of course! Will the write about it differently? Naturally.
While our goal here is to not rehash the same things that everyone else has done (how many times can you go on about the best cafes in Paris or where the best chips are in London?), the fact is, we could, and it’d be different from everyone else’s. Things change, circumstances change, and you never know what adventures might befall you just by adventuring in your own hometown.
It’s all worth writing about.