There’s one simple trick which will make your travel blog stand out from the rest.
Let’s just put it out there: the Internet is bloody huge. I mean, crazily, mind-bogglingly huge. Almost everything and anything that exists has been covered – it almost makes you wonder if we will run out of things to write about.
In the world of travel blogging, that’s pretty much the case. Any off-the-beaten-track, bizarre and unheard-of destination you can think of, and I can guarantee that there’s a blog for that. There is so much content out there, that it almost feels impossible to make your travel blog stand out from the rest.
But fear not, there is a way.
I’m not talking about actually getting people to your blog (that’s a whole other how-to guide), but rather, I’m talking about actually keeping them there. What makes your ’10 Things to do in Berlin’ or ‘How to Survive a Long Haul Flight’ post stand out from the (literally) thousands of others? And, most importantly, what will make people want to come back for more?
Of course, as any one with a WordPress.org managed blog and the ability to search for plugins knows, there are a whole host of flashy pop ups and scrolls bars and sign up forms out there (guilty as charged!) to get people subscribing to your travel blog.
But, they’re only going to sign up if they actually want to.
So, what’s the secret?
One word: authenticity.
When I look back at my old posts it’s seriously cringe-worthy. It was as if I had an idea in my head of what a travel blogger was supposed to write like, and I packed in as many nonsensical metaphors and whimsical adjectives as humanly possible.
It took me hours at a time to write posts, because I felt so restricted to express myself in a certain way.
Writing like that was really boring – not just for me, but probably very much so for the reader. Inspiration-less and brain-blocked I began trawling through countless other travel blogs, looking for a way to put a spark back into my writing.
That’s when I came across Young Adventuress, One Step Forward and Hippie in Heels, three blogs that write such brilliantly captivating content that’s often impossible to tear your eyes away from the screen.
What do they all have in common?
They write relateable, authentic content, that makes you feel as if you knew them. They talk to their readers like a friend, invite them into their lives and experiences, and teach and inspire them along the way.
How to write authentically (and make your blog stand out from the rest)
Write like you speak
Sure, it’s easier said than done. For me, I had to find a common ground in between writing like I speak, and writing in way that people can actually read (mostly due to the fact that my speech is a mixture of Kath and Kim/Little Britain quotes and sound effects). Once I struck that middle ground, however, the words started pouring out of me like a dodgy Greek gyro.
Sometimes the best way to write authentically is to get everything onto paper. Once I get an idea for a post, I quickly jot it down in a notebook or save a reminder in my phone. Then, when I get the chance, I write out everything that comes to mind on the topic.
I scribble, draw arrows, doodle little pictures and spill drops of tea all over the page, so that the end result is barely legible. Then, I go through with a pink highlighter and select all the most important points.
Once you’ve word vomited every feasible angle of the story onto a page, the writing itself is simple. You’ve got the ideas, the facts and the figures poured out onto paper, and your brain can recall them from its short-term memory.
Imagine yourself telling the story to friends
When I was in year 10 at high school, I won the end of year ‘best storyteller’ award. Let’s just ignore the fact that someone decided that would be a good idea for an award, for a second, and focus on the positive: I had a knack for telling (and re-telling) crazy stories.
If you’re a travel blogger, chances are you’re exactly the same: you love recounting your awesome travel experiences, and when your friends got sick of hearing them starting a travel blog was only a natural progression.
A really simple trick to write authentically is to imagine yourself telling the same story to your friends. You know when you have an argument with someone, and you replay it over and over again in your head, inserting totally witty ripostes that you should’ve said? It’s like that – but, in this case, you’ve got a brilliant story to tell.
There’s the context, the build up, the complication and, of course, the punch line. Then, you need to include all the extra information in case your friend (or, your reader) wants to go out and do it, too.
Sure, it’s all be done before – but it hasn’t been done by you. At the risk of sounding corny and cliché; there’s only one you. You’ve got your own, unique way of thinking and speaking, of telling a story or sharing an experience. Own it, embrace it, and let it filter through in your writing.
It’ll make your travel blog stand out from the rest, and your readers will be coming back for more.
Do you think authenticity is the secret to make your travel blog stand out? Or do you have a better tip? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below, or connect with me on social media.