04 Jul How Travel Writing has Evolved into Travel Blogging
Travel writing has changed a lot during the last decade. Travel blogging seems to be the new kid on the block, and brands have been forced to rethink their marketing strategy.
It is no secret that the growth of the Internet spelled doom for many a profession, and few have borne the brunt as much as the traditional press has. What can be termed as the democratisation of the web has been gravy for bloggers and social media users who are now guaranteed thousands – if not millions – of eager eyeballs.
The good ole writing has been forced to move with the times, and no field has this been felt more than in travel writing.
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Gone are the days revered travel writers would be wooed to a destination in the name of having them wax lyrical about the destination. The catch? The catch was the glorious opportunity of the story appearing in the travel column of the glossy magazine or major tabloid – something that was sure to catch the attention of a good chunk of the guaranteed millions of readers.
And you can bet your bottom dollar brands would pay a premium to be featured.
But that was then.
The Great Migration
With travel writing metamorphosing into blogging, brands have no option but to follow the bee to the digital hive if they are to get to the honey. And travel bloggers – with a large sphere of influence in digital circles – can lead them to the hive.
This move comes with the added bonus of something destinations (hotels, resorts and the myriad vacation spots) seem to be after: engagement.
With the horde of social media fans willing to follow the blogger’s trip from start to finish, kept up to speed with the real-time coverage that comes with it, it provides for a perfect way for destinations or brands to measure the value of their spend. And they do so by tracking the impact – clicks, likes, shares…you know the like.
To paraphrase this in a few words, blogging has heralded a new era for travel writing. And it isn’t all gloom.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
The main reason travel bloggers have been able to lure brands so successfully is obvious – the guaranteed audience.
But there is also the issue of approach to content.
You see, travel writing has evolved from the long journalistic pieces of yore that we were used to; comprehensive pieces that often served as a ‘good read’ about a particular exotic destination.
While bloggers have it in them to digitally pen down lengthy posts, it doesn’t always have to be comprehensive. A good deal of the time, a simple photo of the destination accompanied by a caption is enough to attract thousands of ‘Likes’, provided the blogger is an influencer with a solid audience.
Incredibly, this is what most ‘readers’ want: a quick way to consume the content; and should they need more information, they can always invest a couple of more minutes going through whatever article is available.
The famous #FollowMeTo couple took Instagram by storm with their travel photography
You can’t blame them – attention spans have dwindled. And understandably so. With the migration of content to the digital platforms, so is the speed at which it is served. We no longer live in the days when we had to wait for the next day to get fresh news. Today, content creation is by the minute, nay – by the second – so much so that it is virtually impossible to keep up with it all.
And of course, social media, which relies more on tidbits (newsfeed content creation rather) and photos (which are the fuel for modern-day travel journalism) has had a big role to play in this.
This has only served to segregate online audiences the more, as people with similar interests follow their favourite influencers and visit their websites and blogs of choice for updates and information.
And that’s not an entirely bad thing because of…
Successful travel blogging requires one to hone in on particular demographics, what is known in blogging circles as niche targeting.
Old-fashioned writing was more of a scattergun approach where brands had to believe their message would be read by their desired eyeballs. Not so with blogging where it is possible to narrow your audience down to the race, or age, or sex, and all those other important categories and metrics.
For brands looking to advertise, it is a dream.
NOMADasaurus are successful travel bloggers in the Adventure Travel niche
Now, with travel, successful bloggers have been able to establish their target audience. For example, some bloggers choose to focus on family-friendly holidays, others destinations for singles. There are those who cater to backpackers, others choose to concentrate on the less travelled off the beaten paths. And so on and so forth.
In so doing, they are able to serve their audience the relevant content.
Over time, the audience will grow as more birds of a feather join the flock. And it keeps growing. And growing. And with it, the blogger’s stature.
For this reason, bloggers have been able to attract many brands because they (bloggers) present a more pinpoint avenue to reach the respective brand’s audience.
With the shrinking of the world thanks to the web, destinations initially thought to be no-go zones have been humanised by people lifting the veil on these locations by sharing their experiences. In turn, such locations have become more personable, fun and authentic (Bosnia and Herzegovina springs to mind!).
Blogs also carry content that would find it hard squeezing into a glossy magazine’s pages simply because it is curated for a very niche-specific audience. For example, the most unique travel experiences involve a trod down off the beaten paths where the real soul of the destination can be genuinely felt.
These are stories of interest that newspaper travel columns and magazines have traditionally shied away from. But you can’t blame them. For these conventional mediums, such spots may not sell because they are not always picture-perfect – and others may involve going into dodgy areas. Yet, this is where you are likely to find more amazing experiences (and good delicacies).
The Meeting Point
Travel writers are becoming bloggers as they not only look to take control of their careers, but also because many of them had managed to build up strong audiences and are only going where their readers want to be: online platforms.
So happens the modern reader is also looking for a different kind of experience with regard to the way they consume content. If it’s not on travel-friendly social platforms like Instagram or Facebook which rely more on photos and updates, then it’s on the more personable blogs.
This is not to mean travel writing has completely died. Not at all. It is still alive and well, although it has had to embrace the digital aspect of doing things.
If anything, travel writing and blogging complement each other through their different fortes. Anyone looking for more comprehensive factual information about a destination will readily find it on the travel section of their favourite major tabloid (or magazine). And the quick attraction snippets can always be found in their full splendour on the Instagram feeds.
But this is not to portray travel blogging as shallow. Actually, many travel blogs with a high authority are borrowing a leaf from the old travel writing script. A growing number of them are offering everything from information, to travel tips, to advice, and gear recommendations, not to mention firsthand stories. They are blogs ran by professional journalists.
Oh, the irony…
Not that brands would care though.
We have access to hundreds of travel bloggers and writers should you need expert travel content. Our travel content creators provide excellent travel articles, blog posts, guides, web copy and more. If you’re looking to partner with travel bloggers, our travel blogger outreach service can help you find the right match for your brand. Get in touch and we’ll get right back to you.