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Choosing Blog Content – Travel Bugs World


Welcome to the latest edition of #TravelBlogTips chat review. Last month at the Twitter chat, we discussed choosing blog content. It is one of the most important decisions a blogger makes. Moreover, choosing the right content is often the difference between a successful blog with lots of traffic and one that has no readers.

If you are not interested in learning about blogging, we are sure you will find inspiration from our post  “Best Road Trip Tips for Your Vacation”.

Thanks for reading on to learn about choosing the best content for your blog. Firstly we want to thank all the #TravelBlogTips chat participants. Your eagerness to share both your knowledge and questions about blogging, make this chat possible. It is for you and for those who were unable to attend that we write this review of the chat each month. Hopefully, it will inspire you to take action on what you have shared and learnt.

If you have never been to our chats, please welcome to our educational chats every last Sunday of the month on Twitter. To join, search and follow the hashtag #TravelBlogTips.

Travel bloggers claim they join our chats to hear tips, share what they have learnt, gain inspiration and motivation. Additionally, they also join our chats as a way to way to discover new blogs.

Choosing Blog Content
#TravelBlogTips Chat Review

Deciding What to Write

We usually write posts on what we feel passionate about and what we think our audience wants to read. Further, we typically write about topics in batches of two to four. For example, we wrote one post a week about Laos, or more recently for our Staycation Series. This way there is a related post to refer traffic to, as well as making sure there are enough posts in a tag or category. Further, this practice shows to Google that you are an authority on your subject.

We have also written posts related to the most-read posts on the blog and the ones generating the most traffic from Google.

There were over 45 bloggers at the chat for ‘Choosing Blog Content’. Most of them stated they wrote about where they have most recently travelled. They wrote useful travel guides and stories about their experiences.

However, the most significant response was they wrote according to their mood and the things that inspired them.

Most of the bloggers wrote about what they think their readers would like. Some even ask their followers on social media what they want to read first. Or they get ideas from other bloggers and the reactions to their promoted posts.

Others use a more scientific approach for choosing blog content and look at Google Analytics and where their traffic is coming from and what they are reading most.

Further, to get ideas on what people have the most interest in, some bloggers said they looked at Google and Pinterest Trends.

Many bloggers at the chat said they chose blog content from a list of blog post ideas on destinations they had been. And the decision for choosing blog content was based on what they thought would work well with their existing posts.

Additionally, several mentioned they used an editorial calendar with posts in mind, that they tried to stick too. However, sometimes they blogged about seasonal or current travel events that are happening.

Finally, some bloggers said choosing blog content was based on which posts made the most sense for their internal linking structure or based on travel commissions they had received.

“I’m trying to stick to posting about places I’ve already written about, but every so often I’ll just write something unrelated because I got inspired or want to use a photo.” @SarahsSojourns

“We brainstorm to find topics that are not too common but also interesting & use our keywords tool for inspiration. We focus on our niche (South America + responsible travel) & also break down some big guides we already have into single topics.” @GreenMochila

Travel Itineraries and Blog Content

We build some of our travel itineraries with blog content in mind. We try to allocate a day for a self-guided walking tour of our destination. That way, we get to see as much as we can and get a feel for a place.

Most of the bloggers at the chat stated they never planned around their blog. Many said that when they travel, they want to be free to explore anywhere they want without the restrictions a blog places on them. However, there were times that they had gone out of their way to see something that would add value to their post. 

Some bloggers claimed that when they travel, they have possible blog content on their mind. Further, they built their travel itinerary with blog content in mind. They make a layout of topics to get content for and a list of places they want to visit.

Others did not necessarily build a travel itinerary but researched for inspiration for potential blog articles at their destination, as well as places to visit for food or drinks.

The exception was travel to local places where there was a plan for a blog post. In these cases, an itinerary and post outline was usually done before the trip.

Many bloggers said they tried to take lots of photos while travelling in case they needed them for a post. Further, many bloggers discussed their quirky habit of taking photos of stuff such as timetables, maps and signs. A discussion ensued, and it ends up many bloggers, we included, took trivial photos such as textures for backgrounds.

When questioned about returning to places they have previously been, many of the bloggers wanted to return to these places. They felt that before they had a blog, their photos were not adequate, and they wanted to go back for better photos. Further, some of them have returned to places to get better content and photos, especially if they were local explorations.

“Not necessarily. We often start with a few ideas of what we COULD create simply from researching the destination, BUT for the most part, the content creation is organic and flexible.” @dipyourtoesin

“I choose places based on interest & inspiration just comes. I take pics & vid of everything mostly for memory but for the potential post too.” @NYCapricorn

Writing Blog Post Outlines

This question had our bloggers divided down the middle. Some bloggers never planned posts before travelling. They claimed it’s the experiences while travelling that give them blog post ideas.

We, too, feel that travelling without an outline of a post feels more authentic. When writing a blog post, we start with an idea and write freestyle. We then work on the structure after writing the post.

Those who said they wrote without an outline said they felt they had more freedom to write creatively and felt too restrained to write any other way. Plus it allowed them to enjoy the moment and travel unrestricted.

And just because there is no outline, that doesn’t mean that they do not take notes and jot down ideas during the trip. Mostly they made notes of highlights while travelling and things like names of places, location details and unique points. And along with the photos they have taken, after the trip, they create a post.

Further, this lack of outline doesn’t mean bloggers don’t research for their trip and create a list of what to see and do. Some do.

However, it was interesting to note that half the bloggers at the chat said they did the opposite and create an outline of their post first. They fill in the details after travelling and then create the post. They feel it not only saves time but feel the structure helps them make more sense out of their writing.

Some bloggers kept track of things such as destination details, ideas and quotes during a trip on a notepad or mobile phone. They also write an outline during the trip from those notes.

Others have list and outlines in Evernote or other apps. They listed the things to include in each post.

Additionally, some bloggers use Airtable, which includes their blog calendar, posts, photos, and payments all in one place.

Others use Trello to make up a list and outline of their post. They add notes and details into it as they travel; this includes images. They then use this information during the writing stage.

A couple of bloggers also mentioned Create, where they have templates for different types of travel posts. They set up an outline and then fill it in before creating a post.

“No, although I always plan to. I’ve gotten used to writing freeform when writing for myself. I do create an outline when writing for another site besides my own though.” @MarceaCazel

“I used that method before, but now after more than 500 written posts, I’ve developed the ability to know what each post should contain before and after traveling.” @magnomxofficial

“Yes! Created a template with all the formatting & sections than fill in with details from the Trello app. Much more streamlined now than in the beginning of launching the blog, the learning curve.” @savvycaligirl

Reaching Out to Hotels, Attractions & Others

There were a few bloggers at the chat that said they felt they were too new to blogging to reach out to hotels, attractions and others. But in the future, as their blog grew, they intended to do so.

Many said they reached out before their trip, while others said they travel spontaneously, so they did not. And some said they did not look for sponsorships as they wanted a “real experience”.

For those that get in contact before a trip, they send a travel pitch email and a digital media kit. Some will make the first contact on Twitter, other social media or by phone. In their email pitch, they give information about who they are and what they can offer.

They also make contact to ask for permission to take photos or for additional information.

“We have not formally to hotels, attractions, or restaurants. We have been known to ask travel-related questions & got gifts (meals, discounts, & free upgrades) while traveling. Many places are very nice to bloggers.” @eatlivestay

“My biggest advice? Never be afraid to reach out & ask. I can’t tell you how many amazing experiences & stays we’ve enjoyed because I pursued them, rather than waiting for people to find me. Then you can use those to help establish yourself with future partners.” @MomsWanderlust

“It’s not about numbers (or how big you are). It’s more about your engaged audience and what you can offer a brand.” @Clarissa_Laskey

Sponsored Travel Content & Negative Experiences

Some said they have not created sponsored travel content as yet, and others said they weren’t planning to do sponsored content.

Of the ones who did create it, most said they did not have any negative experiences yet, or there were a few minor mishaps which they felt were acceptable. 

Most of the bloggers agreed about being honest and upfront if things are going wrong or not up to standard. Further, they said it was essential to do it during the experience, so there was an opportunity to sort out the issues.

Bloggers felt the best way to neutralise a negative experience is to research the client beforehand to make sure they are a good fit.

And a couple of bloggers said, when they had a bad experience, they concentrated on talking about the good part of the experience. They preferred seeing the positives. 

“Only had one negative travel experience (that was sponsored). I let the PR contact know immediately & explained why I couldn’t promote their resort. Be upfront and honest.” @Clarissa_Laskey

“I don’t… because my travel style and content doesn’t easily lend itself to it.” @RTWBarefoot

Content Ideas & Keyword Research

Our content ideas come from our trips. We then do keyword research before writing a post to see the volume of searches for a topic. Also, if a particular post is getting terrific traffic, we look at doing a follow-up on a similar theme. For example, when our 73 In-home Staycation Ideas During Lockdown went viral on Google, we had the idea to write back up content for after lockdown. Thus, we wrote 54 Things To Do On A Staycation in Your Home Town.

We found most the bloggers at the chat were identical in how they found content to write. They included travel memories, reading other people’s blog posts and Twitter chats.

Others included what was trending in Google or Pinterest, social media polls they created or current events.

For keyword research, many bloggers realised they needed to focus more on it, but hadn’t done so yet, or they were leaving it till the editing stage to do it.

However, quite a few bloggers did keyword research before outlining a post or just after the outline. And some said they also rechecked it at the end to see if they needed to change anything. Further, some have created blog posts based on a particular keyword.

“Asking my audience, using SEMRUSH for the best type of keyword research, SEO and content ideas, Google Analytics, Google Trends, social media and Pinterest Trends.” @Clarissa_Laskey

“Content ideas & Keyword research go hand in hand. If there’s a topic we absolutely want to write about, we don’t care much about the keyword. But often, browsing through possible keywords give us content ideas.” @GreenMochila

“I got some inspiration for content when I tried to find information online and couldn’t. Those posts have then been very successful.” @TopTravelSights

Choosing Your Next Travel Destination

We choose our next travel destinations based on places we have wanted to visit. Sometimes, we just end up unexpectedly at a place. And, at times, social media photos have inspired us to visit a destination. 

There were so many inspiring suggestions about ways that bloggers chose their next travel destinations. Thus, we have compiled this list for you.

How to choose your next travel destination –

  • free inflight magazines
  • social media
  • other blogs
  • based on where the cheap flights go
  • new places 
  • travel guides
  • books and magazines
  • movies and TV shows
  • based on bucket lists and travel goals
  • press trip opportunities
  • which places are good to travel to for the season they are in
  • co-worker recommendations
  • where there is a job opportunity, and then travel locally there
  • current festivals or events
  • by high or low season
  • time availability and where you can get to in that time

“Often, bizarrely, historical news reports from my childhood. I find it interesting to see a place I’d only previously heard about. Also, places where interesting things have happened – which I find out from books, documentaries, other bloggers, etc.” @RTWBarefoot

Have you read our post
Blogging in Lockdown & The Road Ahead?
Find out bloggers predictions for the future, as well as their tips for bloggers in these unprecedented times.

Writing About Travel Essentials  

Recently, we have started to write more about travel essentials and included transport and activities options in our more recent posts. The reason we do this is we are finding great responses to these posts from our readers.

Most of the bloggers at the chat wrote about essentials including information on culture, food, attractions and transportation. They wrote this information either in a story post or a listicle.

They believe it is what people want to know. Also, they think these types of posts are important for new travellers.

However, some said they only wrote about essentials within their destination posts and not separately. They included information on how to get there, where to stay, where to eat and what to take.

A few said they were not interested in the travel essentials side of travel, but more about destinations, culture and food.

“We try to add tips into a specific post but now compiling those tips into a potential wrap-up piece.” @savvycaligirl

Previously we spoke about Optimizing your Site Structure for SEO. It is about how you set up your pages and includes tags, categories, and links. It is important to Google. And a good site structure can help you rank higher in search engines.
Read it next!

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading! We hope you found some inspiration from this review of the #TravelBlogTips chat “Choosing Your Blog Content”.

Thank you to the hosts of #TravelBlogTips chat. These travel bloggers share their priceless knowledge and organise the monthly Twitter chat to help bloggers grow. 

They are –
@KaliTravel  @GreenMochila  @MonkeysVentures  @Clarissa_Laskey

Resources

Check out our past posts to help you on your blogging journey.

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