When we started traveling non-stop in 2009, we had no idea that travel blogging could become a “business.” Had we known that, we might have built our brand from day one. It is daunting trying to break into this now, as the market seems saturated with blogs that have tens of thousands of followers. Is there room for another? We are offering things other blogs don’t, such as an emphasis on the anthropology of drinking. But who is our target audience, and what is our mission with the blog? At first, it was just a personal travel diary for friends and family. Now, we are expanding.
Yet the concept of blogging-as-business seems funny to me. What are we doing, really? Providing low-cost PR/marketing to tourism bureaus, travel agents, and retail companies?
It shocks me to see there are hundreds of people like us out there–“digital nomads” or whatever you want to call it. All this time, it felt like we were alone. Wherever we went, owners of guesthouses, other travelers, and border agents acted like we were insane when we told them we didn’t have a home base. None of our friends or family knew about you guys. Where have all you bloggers been? Better put, where have we been?
Seeing all the blogs out there brings out the competitive spirit in me. We have the experience and content to leverage an entry into this elusive market, if only we can break through the tight wall that has been established by first-wave bloggers who have better timing and second- and third-wave bloggers who have their pulse on the market.
Here are my doubts:
- It could take years to build brand recognition. The wall of established bloggers is thick. We will be working for free and without acknowledgment for a very long, frustrating time.
- Do I want travel to become a job? Won’t that take the fun out of it?
- I’m online enough as it is. Engaging with social media as a business is bad for my physical and mental health.
- My real passion is writing screenplays, and this work might be detracting from that.
- Realistically, this seems to be a low-paying PR/marketing gig more than anything else. Is that what I want?
- Travel blogging seems awfully solipsistic. Meaning, it seems that some bloggers are writing to an audience of other bloggers as opposed to an audience “out there.” So I’m a little confused as to the greater purpose of travel blogging.