Hi buddies! We’re continuing to celebrate my 13 years in the blogosphere with Vol. three of the OG Travel Blogger Series! In this series, I’m featuring bloggers who began writing about travel considering that prior to “influencer” was the term du jour. It is been a extended journey and lots of comrades have provided up along the way, but there are nonetheless a handful of OGs left. I’m right here to inform you, the ones who have soldiered on via numerous algorithm alterations, Google updates and the Instagram invasion are so worth studying from. So glad you are right here!
If you have been in the travel weblog globe extra than 5 minutes, you have heard of Nomadic Matt. We met back in 2007 or perhaps 2008 at some NYC networking factor for travel media. Matt is so OG, I invited him on my pretty very first blogger-focused press trip to The Bahamas, way back when I was a publicist. When I quit my PR agency job to travel about the globe in 2011, I ran into Matt in Greece, exactly where we celebrated his book deal and his 30th birthday with an ATV ride about Ios. We had the jankiest ATV on the island and virtually rolled backward down a hill via a herd of goats… but it is such a funny story and we laugh about that every single time we run into every other.
Private reminiscing aside, Matt is the master of reinventing what it indicates to be a travel blogger. He began out sharing his strategies for price range travel in 2006 and 10+ years later, he’s the greatest-promoting author of How to Travel the Planet on $50 a Day, a prosperous conference creator and occasional controversy-stirrer. He’s not afraid to speak his thoughts and that has produced him a polarizing figure in the travel globe. But there’s no query, he’s carrying out really effectively for himself.
I’ve recognized Matt as extended as just about any in the travel blogging market, and it is been definitely intriguing to watch his profession evolve more than the years from gangly upstart to prosperous entrepreneur. Here’s a guy who’s been out there carrying out the blogger factor as extended as everyone and if his trajectory shows us something, it is that you have to make adjustments along the way and not be afraid to redefine what you are carrying out as you go.
Meet March’s OG Travel Blogger: Matt Kepnes from Nomadic Matt!
Q&A with OG Travel Blogger Nomadic Matt
You have been a complete time blogger for extra than a decade. What’s the greatest adjust in the market you have observed from the early days to now?
There’s been a lot of adjust more than the final decade (a lot!) but I would say the greatest is the sheer abundance of persons in the market now. Just before, you just had a handful of bloggers. Even for years right after YouTube hit, it was nonetheless a blogger driven market. Now, as persons do not comply with blogs as substantially, it is pretty substantially character driven. People today comply with Facebook pages, Facebook video channels, YouTubers, and Instagrammers. There’s a million bloggers plus all these other channels as well. Additionally, prior to you saw persons specialize a lot extra. You did travel or style or way of life or mommy blogging or finance. People today usually had 1 key concentrate. Now, every little thing sort of bleeds collectively, specially as brands got much less picky about what vertical persons fell into. Style bloggers who travel and travel bloggers who do style and way of life. It is all a mix.
In brief, there’s just a lot extra quantity these days. Just so substantially quantity.
And that presents a lot of challenges to it, the greatest getting that it is a lot tougher to get identified and heard above the noise. It is not not possible. It is just tougher.
For the reason that in the finish, there’s not a lot of excellent. And there will generally be area for excellent.
Certain, the rise to the top rated is longer but it is nonetheless achievable if you have an amazing item!
Like most OGs, travel blogging is not your only gig, and you have generally been an advocate for diversifying revenue streams. You are a greatest-promoting author and a prosperous conference creator, amongst other items. What other projects are you operating on and how do you discover the time to do it all?
I believe an individual can make their complete-time revenue from just blogging/Instagramming/YouTubing. What’s vital is that you have many approaches to make a living. For the web site, that indicates we have solutions, do affiliates, run events, tours, and have attempted a host of approaches to diversify our revenue beyond 1 channel. I by no means wanted to rely on just travel insurance coverage or show advertisements or solutions. If most of your revenue comes from 1 channel, then you can not brave the ups and downs that will come with operating a enterprise. A negative month will ruin you.
I take a lot of non-web site projects simply because I just like to do this type of stuff. Writing books was a organic outgrowth of what I did so I view that as promoting for the web site anyways. I also like to create. This year I’ve reduce down the quantity of projects we do on the web site. We’ve reduce out something not connected to TravelCon and the web site to concentrate on extra. I merely didn’t have the time or the sources to half start off projects. We do not have something else on the horizon now. I believe it is straightforward to come up with suggestions but you definitely want a individual in your enterprise to handle that project complete time. For instance, we’ve had a charity aspect to our web site for close to 4 years now but it is only been in the final year and a half that something has definitely occurred with it. Why? We got a complete-time individual for that. Somebody whose job is to consume and breathe that organization. I generally see bloggers want to start off items without having the right sources. You definitely want to have the time and power as effectively as the employees to launch new solutions. Time is restricted. No 1 can juggle many projects on their personal.
You are presently organizing for the 2nd year of TravelCon, a three-day conference focusing on the enterprise of travel blogging. (Cannot wait to hear Cheryl Strayed!) Who is TravelCon for and what can attendees count on to study this year?
I designed TravelCon simply because I was disappointed that travel media didn’t have an “advanced” occasion the way other industries do. I imply even believe of a conventional market like medicine. There are enormous events that concentrate a lot on continuing education. In reality, it is generally necessary for certification and employment. Teachers also HAVE to go to education events. Exactly where is that in travel? Only fools believe they are smart. There’s generally extra to study. And there’s extra to study from persons outdoors of travel.
Marketers, video professionals, Search engine optimization professionals, photographers, writers – just simply because is an individual is outdoors our market does not imply they can not teach us something. It is generally the exact same persons speaking. I wanted to produce an occasion that brought in professionals from outdoors the market. I wanted anything that was beneficial even if you have been in this market for twenty years. I wanted hands-on workshops and education. I imply there’s a lot of persons who’ve been blogging for a decade who could nonetheless use some strategies on writing and style, ya know? In no way cease studying and enhancing. It is a mantra I’ve generally felt our market necessary extra. It is anything I generally see in other industries and events I go to. No Search engine optimization specialist I know stopped studying ten years ago. They generally function to enhance. No marketer, medical professional, lawyer, teacher, or tv producer. They have teachers. They attend events. They study. Why not us?
Pondering of attending TravelCon in Boston this year? Click right here for pricing and availability
When we began blogging, there had been only a handful of people who would be regarded as travel bloggers – now, there are tens of thousands. What tips do you have for up-and-coming bloggers attempting to discover their voice and a spot in this crowded marketplace?
I believe it is straightforward to speak about getting on-line and flooding the social mediasphere but great ole fashioned networking wins the day. Given that there are so lots of persons about, it is simpler to meet persons in your location. There’s in all probability some persons carrying out some on-line media inside an hour or two of you. Go meet up with them. Get to know them. Collab. Discover approaches to do stuff collectively. Placing extra stuff out onto your channels is not going to develop your platform. A lot more of zero is nonetheless zero. You want to discover readers and other persons have readers! No 1 gets there alone. You want buddies and allies right here. Even if the depth is just you assist them and they assist you. You want these persons. Not adequate persons worth in individual relationships. You are only as powerful as your network!
Now you are a respected travel specialist, but like all entrepreneurs, certainly a enterprise venture or thought flopped along the way. Can you inform us about a time when items didn’t go according to program and what you discovered from it?
I after designed an app that would assist persons track their costs. We even ran a Kickstarter campaign for it but I underestimated how substantially function an app was and, ultimately, we abandoned the project. We also gave away t-shirts as element of that and everybody was like “Hey, I want 1!” So we went and purchased a ton of t-shirts to sell…. and no 1 purchased them. I believe I nonetheless have a box of them someplace. We just finish up providing them away anytime we can. Two total failures that expense us a lot of cash.
Our lesson from that? Even though you can know your audience, do not assume you know them all that effectively. Run some surveys and get a really feel for what their true demands are.
You in all probability get asked your favourite location all the time, so I want to know: what’s 1 spot you wouldn’t stop by once more?
I utilised to remain Vietnam but, getting older and wiser, I believe every single spot deserves a second opportunity. There are merely locations whose second opportunity is definitely, definitely pushed down on my list. I do not believe there’s any spot I’ve been I wouldn’t attempt a second time. But there are locations I’ve been that, if there’s by no means a second opportunity, I will not really feel like I’m losing out as well substantially. If I by no means went back to Curacao, Macau, Panama City, Frankfurt, Milan, Atlanta, The Cayman Islands, and a handful of other locations, I can not say I would be as well disappointed. Although, for all the shit I gave it ten years ago, I would definitely like to go back to Vietnam and give it yet another opportunity.
If travel blogging as an market abruptly ended currently, what would you take into consideration carrying out alternatively?
I’d move back to Thailand, teach English, and function on my tan on 1 of the islands there.
What’s anything your readers would be shocked to discover out about you?
I utilised to be a higher college history teacher. In reality, I’m nonetheless a licensed history teacher! Perhaps that could be my fall back?
How to Discover Nomadic Matt
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Thank you for taking the time to respond, Matt! And thanks to all of you for the enthusiasm surrounding this series. If you are just getting the OGs for the very first time, verify out January’s installment featuring Gary Arndt of Every little thing Everywhere and February’s edition featuring Hecktic Travels’ Dalene Heck.
Got a query for Mr. March? Have yet another travel OG you’d like me to interview? Ask away!
What is the OG Travel Blogger Series?
The OG Travel Bloggers Series is about the entrepreneurial wanderers who have stuck it out extended previous the early days exactly where a free of charge hotel area was regarded as compensation. Previous Search engine optimization and HTTPS and GDPR hurdles. (Do not know what these items are but want to be a blogger? You have got lots to study, grasshopper!) This remaining handful of OG storytellers has reinvented the way travelers investigation trips, hotels and destinations. These trailblazers, most of whom self-financed for years prior to blogging ever became lucrative, are the cause there are so lots of sources for travelers on the Internet currently.