In the recent months I got a lot more request from sponsors for video content. Truth be told, videos terrify me. I am not comfortable speaking in them, I am not comfortable making them when I am at a destination.
But now that blogging and social media is my main source of income I end up paying attention to trends/change in trends! And videos seem to be in demand!
Now I could bury my head in the sand or I could do something about videos! Burying my head in the sand is my favorite strategy but this time I decided to experiment.
I get a lot of requests in direct messages for tips on blogging. People seem to have a romantic view of it. The one question that terrifies me is when youngsters ask me “how do I quit my job?”
That was my starting point. I made a quick video around it. I just kept the cell phone camera steady and spoke. It took me a while to realize that I can’t ramble given the attention span of people so I did end up shooting the video a few times. The question I was trying to answer was, so you want to quit your job?
Then for a while I buried my head in sand. But another sponsor came back with a request for a video and I was forced to shoot it! That gave me the push to shoot my second video. This time I had nothing to keep the camera steady.
Since I quit my job everyone tries to fit me into the “you quit your job to follow your passion” category. Unfortunately I do not fall into it that neatly. Anything in life is usually messy, including our decisions. So the second video is the take on “so you quit your job to follow your passion.”
This also quickly lets me know what I wish to talk about next, it is if I did not leave my job to follow my passion then why did I not go back to work? But that is a story for another day!
The first time I attended SATTE it was 2013! Gosh how time passes by! I attended it again in 2014 and 2016. In 2015 I was out of town. So what is SATTE? It is a leading trade event for tourism. In 2017 35 countries and 28 tourism boards participated in the event. The next logical question is if 2017 was a trade event, what is there in it for a travel blogger? SATTE 2017 New Delhi was held at Pragati Maidan (added after reading the comments from Joe and Jyotirmoy).
I too pondered along the same lines. In 2013 I was invited by Malaysia Tourism Board! After meeting them I had no clue what to do, I must have walked around and turned back! Even last year, I reconnected with the people I worked with in the past, might have made one or two new connections. If I said I was a travel blogger to new people many would give me a quizzical look and move on.
But this year things felt different! A lot more people showed interest when you told them you are a travel blogger! And of course, in the meanwhile I have worked with a few more tourism boards! So I had many people to meet at SATTE. I also felt more bloggers attended SATTE this year! The event is colorful too, with live dances and music thrown in!
On another note, the topic of making money via blogging comes up again and again. I surely make less money than my salary, but I have definitely traveled more than I did when I used to work full time. But then I was already blogging for 10 years before I quit my job. I was aware how much money was there in blogging. I think it is growing, but I did not quit my job thinking I will make tons of money after quitting my job. To anyone out there who wants to quit their jobs, give blogging a try part time first!
SATTE 2017 was extra special for me, because Israel Tourism Board used three of my pictures as posters in their booth! It was a first for me, it was a high! By now I feel at home at SATTE and I look forward to the next edition in 2018.
PS. I was invited by UBM, the organizers of SATTE to attend the event.
Read blogging advice and finding a travel blogging niche ranks up pretty high! Yet I refuse to find a travel blogging niche and here is why.
I used to be an academician before I became a full-time blogger. My travel patterns were defined by who I am, before I became a full-time blogger and blogging became a bread and butter question. I am someone who loves to go to the beach but I love the mountains more than anything else. I am happy to explore an old fort but I am happiest when I am exploring the open desert! I have visited small villages but then I have visited Disneyland Hong Kong too!
And if you look around, people mostly travel to nice places, anything that catches their fancy! I have not looked at a study but if someone did it, chances are they will find more people with eclectic travel interests rather than travel niches.
There are two exceptions to it that I have come across in my life. One is a British friend from academics, all his vacations, okay all his major vacations, are diving vacations.
And then there is my husband Seshadri, all his big vacations are trekking vacations! You can find him sometimes in other places too but when he has to spend his money and the substantial chunk of it, he will do it on a trek. Now it will make great sense for both of them to have a niche travel blog, because they have a niche travel interest. But they are not bloggers!
Other than that I find people around me happily visiting a monument, then going to the beach, after that to a mountain and everything in between. If you would ask me, I would like to go to New Zealand, but I would equally like to visit Rome, then Antarctica, Kalahari Desert, Himalayas, Alps and what not. I am happy exploring a desert, I am happy doing river rafting, I am happy just sitting by the river! I mean you name it and I am happy to explore it! I have loved soaking up experiences from a remote Island in Indonesia to the malls of Dubai via Dubai Metro and I have to say I have no plans to change anytime soon. I am not a niche traveler and that is why I refuse to find travel niche for blogging.
It probably makes perfect sense to have a nice in terms of revenue earning opportunities from the blog. Imagine if I only wrote about bird watching and I had a successful blog, then it would be easy to partner with everything related to bird watching. But is that the only reason we should find a niche? For me the answer is no.
So unless I discover something and turn into a niche traveler in future, I am happily traveling wherever my blogging takes me next. And who knows what the future has in store for me!