Is Anybody Out There? Hang in There, Travel Bloggers

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Recently I've noticed more than a few travel bloggers becoming frustrated. Frustrated about being passed over for blogging opportunities. Frustrated at being left off lists of “top” travel bloggers. Frustrated over feeling left out of the clique of “cool” travel bloggers who seem to be so much more successful than everyone else.

Someone said that travel blogging feels a lot like being back in high school. The kids who are deemed cool remain so, and it's difficult for any newcomers to reach that same level of coolness.

I've felt frustrated, too. It's not easy to always feel left out, or feel like you're lagging behind with no chance of catching up. I think it's especially bad when I put a blog post out there that I'm really proud of, and then it flops. Some days, I wonder who I'm even blogging for; I wonder if anyone is even out there, paying attention.

But I think this feeling of frustration is only natural.

The “cool kids” of travel blogging started in the exact same place that I am now. True, there wasn't as much competition in the travel blogging market a decade ago as there is now. But everyone has to start somewhere.

So, on those days when I start feeling frustrated, I try to remind myself of a few things:

  • It's not the end of the world if no one leaves a comment, or retweets my new post. Sure, it's disheartening. But, in the grand scheme of things, one off day shouldn't ruin my whole week. If anything, it should just inspire me to try harder next time.
  • Sometimes, it's just dumb luck. I can write what I think is a brilliant post, but maybe I just post it on the wrong day. Maybe the people who would also view it as brilliant just aren't around. And maybe the next day, when I post some silly Top 10 list, that's the day someone like Lonely Planet decides to retweet my post. Often, I think it's just one of those things that's very hard to predict, and impossible to control.
  • There can be no success without failure. I'm really just a baby blogger when it comes to the travel blogging universe. I haven't been doing it for that long, and yet I'm slowly crawling my way up in the ranks. The little successes — the RTs from Lonely Planet, the occasional big boosts in traffic — feel even better due to the little failures. If I keep at it and don't let the frustrations ruin the experience, eventually those successes will come more and more frequently.
  • It's not anyone's “fault.” I cannot blame everything on the successful bloggers. I can be jealous that they continually get opportunities I would kill for, but I can't blame them for being successful. They've worked hard to get where they are, and what I should be doing is taking note of how they made it happen for themselves.

Obviously I'm not going to become one of the “cool kids” overnight. Contrary to popular belief outside of blogging circles, travel blogging is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, and even more dedication. It's not something you can just half-ass and expect to be successful at.

I know that, in the end, I'm the only one who can make my blog as successful as I want it to be.

And no amount of whining or feeling sorry for myself is going to change that fact.

Are you feeling like this too? Are there days when you feel like you're just screaming into a void, begging to know if anybody is even out there?

Well, you're not alone. Believe me.

Giving advice on handling this sort of frustration is near impossible. But here are the best tips I can come up with to try and break into that “cool kids” clique. It's my plan of attack, at least:

  • Post a variety of quality things. Some insightful, some silly, some practical. You don't want to pigeon hole yourself into one specific sort of advice or writing. (Or maybe you do?) Especially when first starting out, I think a bit of experimentation with your writing can help you figure out what works and what doesn't for your blog. But, no matter what, focus on quality. Proofread your stuff. Make people believe that you know what you're talking about.
  • Stay true to yourself. Even though you want to try and hone in on what people want to read by trying a variety of approaches, you also want to stay true to yourself. Don't write about something you don't enjoy. And certainly don't write about something you don't believe in, just because it's what you think people want to hear. Stay true to your own convictions; your voice will shine through.
  • Don't make comparisons. No two blogs are the same, because no two bloggers are the same. You shouldn't be comparing yourself to others, or feeling bad because you don't feel like you stack up. If all bloggers were the same, what would be the point? Be who you are, and others will undoubtedly appreciate it.
  • Read and comment on other blogs. If you remain in your own little blogging bubble, it's going to be much more difficult for people to find you, and — more importantly — relate to you. Read other travel blogs. Leave comments and share your insights. After all, how can you expect others to do the same on your blog if you're not doing it yourself? Plus, reading other blogs can give you a sense of different styles, and perhaps help you figure out the sorts of things you do and do not want to write about yourself.
  • Be active in social networking. Start a Twitter account. Utilize StumbleUpon. Create a Facebook page. Engage with your potential readers, and forge some online relationships with other travel bloggers. Not only will you make some friends, but it's likely that you can help each other out by driving new traffic to one another's sites.
  • Be open to guest blogging. A good way to gain some free exposure when you're just starting out is to write a guest post for another (perhaps even more successful) blog. Save something good for your guest posts, and you'll likely be rewarded with some new readers.
  • Try new things. Never tried your hand at video editing? Not sure if travel photography is really your thing? Try it out anyway. Who knows, you may discover a new talent. And adding things like strong images and video to your blog will only make it more appealing.

And, most importantly:

  • Don't give up. If travel blogging is really what you want to pursue, then don't let those rough days get you down. Don't let anybody tell you that you'll never succeed. Because, if you're serious about it, I think you can make it happen. You have to be persistent. You have to actively go after what you want. Eventually, it will pay off.

The frustrating days suck. But, often, at the end of those days, I get an e-mail from someone who has just discovered my blog, or a great comment, or a kind retweet from someone I respect. And those make all the difference.

So hang in there, fellow travel bloggers.

Because, yes, it seems there is somebody out there, paying attention.

Do you sometimes get frustrated with blogging, too? How do you cope?

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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267 Comments on “Is Anybody Out There? Hang in There, Travel Bloggers

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  1. Aww, this is such a fantastic post! I can relate to feeling insecure around “the cool kids”, thinking maybe I’m just not young enough, then I see a more mature blogger succeeding. Then I think, well, I’m just not thin enough or blond enough when I see Instagrammers who are famous, but then I see my sexy, curvy sisters who are rockstar bloggers…and I could go on and on. But a post like this reminds me to just stop it and get my butt back to work and I’m inspired to continue doing what I love more than anything; creating content about the amazing places I get to visit and the wonderful people I meet while traveling.

    Thank you so much for this!

      Sometimes we all need reminders like this! I’m still guilty of comparing myself to others, too, which only ever leads to negative feelings. Focus on what you’re good at and what you love, and try not to look at other bloggers and competition!

    Hahahaha – I laughed at the part where you said “travel blogging is like high school” – it so is! And like at high school I feel like I’m definitely not one of the cool kids yet. But I have my own little spot. Your article literally just exploded open a realisation for me. In high school I seem to remember feeling like I wasn’t “popular” or a “cool kid” – but I found my little groove and niche. I had a group of friends who were beautiful and actually truly cared about me and wanted to spend time with me and valued my contribution to the group. I could be completely myself around them – perfectly imperfect – and they “got me” and what I had to say. That one phrase in your post made me realise: I need to write my travel blog with my own voice, to my own people, and be myself. It’s better to have a small group of loyal, devoted readers in your corner who engage, subscribe and genuinely want to hang out than squillions of people who are not that engaged or truly loyal. Thank you so much for the insight! This post was just what I needed!!!

      Just like in high school, I think people respond and can connect with you better if you’re just yourself. You can never please everybody, just like you can never be friends with everybody! You do you!

    Thanks for the inspirational post! I am new to travel blogging so not expecting to appear on any lists at the moment but hope to in the future!

    Nice One Amanda, I also love travelling but never wrote anything related to travel. Now i also started one blog and hope my readers will like the same and explore places where I visited recently.

    This post gave me just the hope and inspiration I needed today. My blog is relatively new but took almost a year to get up and running and lately I’ve been feeling like giving it up entirely. Mostly for the reasons you’ve listed….feeling like I’m never going to “catch up”, be as good, learn it all (getting a website set up by yourself is quite challenging sometimes when you’re teaching yourself and it takes day just to get something to look or work the way you want). And, I don’t know about you, but my family and friends just don’t really get it and aren’t that supportive. It’s just refreshing to read an article like this instead of the typical travel bloggers post which makes it seem like they are just living the dream and getting paid to travel the world. Do you know of any free groups that are out there for general support and that provide a feeling of a community with others who love traveling, photography and blogging?

      I totally know how you feel, Carol, and would tell you to hang in there!! There are some Facebook groups about blogging that are pretty good, but my favorite is the Travel Blog Success group. Unfortunately it’s not free – it goes along with a blogging course that you have to pay for (https://travelblogsuccess.com/?ref=658).

    Hey, thanks for the advice, this is an really good article. It somehow encouraged me, I’ll hang in there!

      Good! It’s worth hanging in there. 🙂

    Loved this post. I just started my travel blog a few weeks ago and hope that I’ll get readers soon.

    Thank you for this post! I am starting out blogging and it can be equally frustrating and elating depending on the day. Especially the days when I put out a blog post that I just think people are going to love and then 24 hours pass without so much as a like–those are the worst. It definitely feels like navigating travel blogging can be like entering the wilderness without a map, but it’s good to know there is a supportive community.

      “Like entering the wilderness without a map” – that’s exactly what it feels like some days! But yes, you’ve got a supportive community at least to fall back on! Keep at it!

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