A simple way to carve out your own travel blogger niche – and why it’s so important to have one.
There are three types of travel bloggers in this world;
- Those who write the occasional, first-person narrative to keep family and friends in the loop;
- Those who are caught somewhere between travel blogging as a hobby and travel blogging as a job, and;
- Those who have a huge following, and make an income from blogging about their mostly free worldwide adventures.
Most fall into that second category, trying to wriggle their way out of it and become a member of the exclusive third. A lucky few make it… but the majority don’t.
There are a number of reasons why travel bloggers get stuck in that second-place limbo. A lot simply don’t have the time or motivation to blog on a regular basis. Others are lacking in digital skills, or can’t quite master the art of the hashtag. Many fall into the second category, but are still writing like they’re in the first.
But the one, major reason why so many travel bloggers can’t get out of the hobby blogging rut is because they fail to find their niche.
If you’ve been anywhere in or around the internet in the last, say, five years, you’ll have come across this buzzword on more than a few occasions. It’s so overused as an adjective – niche marketing, niche writing, niche photography, niche café – I throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear it.
But still, as much as it pains me to say it, we mustn’t ignore the power of the niche when it comes to travel blogging.
Finding your speciality is the difference between the second and third category. It’s the difference between having a run-of-the-mill travel blog, and a real slap-you-in-the-face stunner.
Take a look at some of the most successful travel bloggers out there: all of them have something in common, yet something that sets them all apart. Their niche.
What makes a niche so great? Well, it’s not just the little pocket of the Internet where you belong, but it’s also the store department where readers go searching when they want a fix of what you’ve got to offer.
Fun and fearless female travel? I head straight to Girl vs. Globe. Smart, savvy writer taking on the world? Easy – that’s Journalist on the Run. What about a guy who’s made himself a millionaire while visiting every country in the world? One Step 4Ward, of course.
Your travel blogger niche can be as big or as small as you want to it be. Just make sure you can easily define exactly what it is in less than a couple of sentences.
How to find your travel blogger niche in 3 easy steps
1. Put pen to paper
There’s nothing like a good bit of word vomit. Take a nice, clean piece of paper and start scribbling everything that comes to mind when you describe yourself, and your blog. Ask yourself: Who am I? What do I like? What am I good at? What do I do on a day-to-day basis?
For me, the answers are simple: I’m a young, female expat living in Spain. I like slow travel and short, weekend trips from my European base. I’m good at writing, social media and digital marketing which, as it turns out, is also what I do on a daily basis. Connect the dots: a long-term travel, expat blog with a feel for savvy online marketing and solo female travel. Sure, it may seem an odd niche, but it’s all mine.
2. Be a star
Just like you, your travel blog is unique. Sure, thousands of bloggers have been museum-hopping in Berlin, window-shopping in Paris and beer-sipping in Dublin and lived to blog the tale, but only one you has done all those things, and more.
Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch: funny anecdotes about things that happened to you on the way, your opinions and feelings about certain things and places, cities you adore and others you hate.
Overdo the personal narrative and you run the risk of falling back down into category one – strike the right balance and you’ll be on your way up.
3. Set criteria – but not too much
Never, ever let your wild-running imagination be limited by a silly set of criteria about what constitutes your ‘niche’. If you’ve read my series on SEO for travel bloggers, you’ll know that I always write my posts in a free-flowing, careless way, and reel them them back in during the editing process to reflect good SEO.
The same applies to your niche. Once you know what it is, keep it stored away in the back of your mind. Write your post – whatever it may be about – without referring to your criteria, at all. Once you finish your first draft, ask yourself if it fits into your niche. If it doesn’t, don’t bin the blog – keep amending it until it does.
A couple of months ago, I desperately wanted to write a piece about my 24-hour visit to Istanbul. I wrote and wrote, only to realise that my finished product read more like a tour guide than a travel blog. But, instead of submitting it to Lonely Planet and calling it a day, I asked myself – what did that trip mean to me, as a solo female traveller and an expat? You can read the post and find out the answer!
Have you found your travel blogger niche or are your still struggling to find it? Let me know in the comments, or drop me a line on social media!