Most travel bloggers don’t make the majority of their income from blogging.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some that do, but most don’t. I certainly don’t. The majority of my moolah comes from freelance gigs where I do travel writing, content management, social media management for travel brands.
BUT… the strange thing is that nearly all of my freelance gigs have come about because of my blog. So while I don’t make all that much money directly from blogging, it is still the reason that I am able to find work as a freelancer.
I also know plenty of travel bloggers who work part-time or full-time for brands in the travel industry, and I can guarantee that when they interviewed for the role, their blog would have been a major consideration for the brands hiring them.
You might be surprised to find out how having a blog can help get your foot in the travel industry. If you do it right, you can use blogging to get your dream travel job! Here’s how.
step 1: Decide on what you want to do
You might already know exactly what dream travel job you’re aiming for (if so, skip ahead to step 2!), but most people have no idea what they want to do as their ideal job.
For me, it’s really only been the past few months where I’ve finally got my head around where I want my travel career to go. If you’re not sure what you want your travel career to be, try this:
- Get a piece of paper and a pen, and write down all of the things that you love doing and feel like you could do on a daily basis. Are any of these things that you could turn into a job?
- On another piece of paper, write down all of the types of companies, brands, or people that you might like to work for.
When I did this exercise, it made me realise that travel writing and preparing images for social media are some of my favourite tasks, so I decided that those things would be my future dream travel job.
Then when I wrote down the types of companies that appealed to me, I found that tourism boards, tour companies, and other travel bloggers were the types of brands that I’d like to work with. Now I know exactly the types of jobs I should aim for!
STEP 2: update YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Your resume and online presence should be updated with all the skills you have that relate to your dream travel job, and that includes any skills that you’ve been able to acquire through blogging.
When I was adding my social media experience to my resume, I listed all of the achievements I’d made when marketing my own blog. In my first year of travel blogging I managed to acquire 10,000 social media followers, so I put that in there. I also grew my blog to over 50,000 pageviews per month by learning how to drive traffic using Pinterest, so I added that in there too.
Even though I hadn’t done any professional work in social media, it looked good to put those numbers on my resume. This definitely contributed to my success in landing an freelance social media manager for Instagram role with the New York Travel Festival this year.
As well as updating my resume, I created a services page on my blog and listed out some of those skills, so that anyone who landed on my site and might be looking for a social media manager could find it. Then I added that same information to my LinkedIn profile.
One last thing I did to update my online presence was to ask people for testimonials. I wanted to prove that even though I hadn’t managed anyone’s social media before, that I was competent and professional.
step 3: become an expert
One of the best ways you can use blogging to get your dream travel job is to write about it as if you’re already an expert.
For example, if you want to be a tour guide you could write about the best historic attractions in a certain city, or suggest a trip itinerary that hits all the best cultural sights in a certain country. By doing this, you’ll look like a person who gets to know the destinations you visit in detail and can easily talk about them to other people.
When I started by defining myself as a freelance photographer, I began writing informative posts about travel photography on my blog. I compiled posts on the best camera gear for travel and travel photography tips. Eventually, people started coming to me for photography advice, because I had positioned myself as somebody who knew a lot about it.
The key is to write truly comprehensive, high-quality content on the subjects that you want to do professionally to prove that you know what you’re talking about. When a potential employer looks at your blog, they should be impressed by your content.
STEP 4: Find your dream job
This is probably the hardest part. Your ideal job might not be available immediately, so this step might take a few months or even years. Here’s how I went about it:
I was looking for freelance work, so I spent a lot of time looking through job sites and pitching to companies that might have work for me. I had some success getting occasional freelance gigs through the job sites.
I also joined some Facebook groups with other travel industry professionals in New York City, so that I would be in a position to offer my services if any opportunities came up. This is how I got my first freelance photography job in NYC, which ended up leading to 2 other photography jobs. Triple-whammy.
Aside from networking online, I also found that networking at events is a great way to get potential job leads. I try to attend Travel Massive meetups in NYC every few months, and large travel conferences/events (such as TBEX or the New York Travel Festival) once a year where I talk to people about what I do.
Pro tip: Before attending any networking events, make sure you order some professional business cards. This will make a huge difference to how professional you look. I designed my own cards then printed through MOO.com. I got so many compliments about them at the New York Travel Festival!
Some final advice:
Don’t expect all of this to happen overnight. I had been living in New York City for nearly a year before I got my first photography job, and it was another few months before I got my first social media job. It may have taken a while, but I managed to make it work by persisting in my search and networking with the right people.
If you set goals and keep blogging your way towards getting your dream travel job, you will eventually get there. Work hard, don’t give up, and it will eventually happen!