10 Steps To
WHAT IS AN ADVENTURE BLOG?
For this post I’m defining an adventure blog as a place where you tell the story of your explorations of the great outdoors and/or your inner self. Storytelling can take any medium, from the written and spoken to word to photography and film. Your stories may be a journal of your adventure of cycling around the world, walking across Mongolia or running home from Rome; or on how to travel in a specific area, a certain way (e.g. solo, female, light weight etc.) or on how to do something e.g. becoming a digital nomad, working abroad etc. The limit truly is your imagination!
Only start a blog if you think it will bring joy and happiness to your life. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a blog and the reward can be minimal.
So take time to think if you really want to take time and share your story through a blog, or if you would prefer to do it through a Facebook page and twitter. Both can be equally as powerful.
However, blogging doesn’t just have to be about storytelling, you may also want to blog to raise sponsorship, help to sell something, build up your brand awareness, establish yourself as an expert in your field and promote your podcast.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
Define and visualise exactly what you want to achieve with your blog. If you do this from the start, you will save so much time in the future. It will help you decide what platform to choose, what your posts to write, who your ideal customer is, the design of your site and much more!
WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
This is a really valuable thing to think about and define. What will you need to feel, see and hear to know that your blog has reached the success you want? How will you know when you have got there?
It’s hard not to compare yourself to all the other blogs and figures out there, but don’t do it. Their success will be different to yours.
Blogging may be a cathartic practice so you’re not bothered by how many likes your post got on Facebook, or you may be concentrating on getting email subscribers, so the number of instagram followers isn’t a big deal to you. You may sack off twitter and instagram and focus only on a Facebook group. Others will probably be doing the exact opposite to you, there's no right or wrong way, just do what feels right for you and what will bring you your personal success.
Know what you want and go and get it.
STEP 1: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BLOG ABOUT?
If you’re at the very beginning of starting a blog, just humour me for a minute.
Forget about blogging. Think about your adventures and get juiced!
Start thinking about and planning your adventures, as this is the really fun part and the greatest motivation behind your blog! What adventures do you want to go on? Will you be exploring the world or self or both?
The key to a successful blog is being authentic, so make your adventures the focus and the blogging second.
Once your juiced about your adventures continue to step 2!
STEP 2: DISCOVER YOUR NICHE
Now you’ve thought about what success will look, feel and hear to you, and you know what you want to blog about, focus on finding your niche and being the best blog in that niche.
Your aim here is to find your 1000 true fans by deciding on your niche and unique selling point. Why will people come to your blog?
It’s best to be narrow and specific, as this will help you gain your 1000 excited, enthusiastic and supportive fans.
Why 1000 True Fans?
As Kevin Kelly explains in his essay ‘1000 True Fans', as a creator, you only need 1000 True Fans to make a living. He defines a True Fan as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce - they’ll drive 200 miles to hear you speak, they’ve got a Google Alert set for your name, they buy signed copies, the t-shirt, the mug, and the hat and they can’t wait till you issue your next work.
Engage directly with your 1000 true fans, go above and beyond to make them happy, be exclusive and tailor your blog to them. If people don’t like you then that’s good, it shows you’re being niche!
I’m now going to pass you onto Derek Sivers who will describe the process of how to create your tribe of 1000 True Fans with far more humour and eloquence than I can!
So in order to transform from a lone nut into a leader, hone in on the message you want to get across to your readers. For example, AL Humphrey’s is known for being the expert on microadventures and Tim Ferriss for being a self-help guru and deconstructing world class performers to help you live a more optimised and productive life.
Then sleep, eat, adventure, write and repeat. It will be a hard slog, but make the journey fun and keep plugging away! It’s that simple!!! Engage with your readers, ask them their opinions, evolve your blog with them, experiment, test, tweak and remember quality over quantity.
STEP 3: PICK A RE-MARKABLE NAME
Choose a name that will stand, is original, that people will like, re-mark on and remember. Make it short, sweet and easy to spell.
Avoid hyphens and numbers. It’s also best to avoid trademarked company names and words overused in your field e.g. Nomadic Naomi or Wandering Wendy. These have been done before and won’t help you stand out.
I would also be careful about pigeon holding yourself too, for example if you call your blog Amy’s Bike Trip - what happens when you stop cycling? Think long term.
Brainstorm some names, use thesaurus, share with a friend, share on social media, see what people like and what feels comfortable for you. You may like to brand your name like my friend Belinda Kirk's done - belindakirk.com
STEP 4: CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORM
Wordpress Org - what the majority of professional sites use (e.g. alhumpreys.com , challengesophie.com) I’m not a massive fan, as it’s challenging to use and get the design right. However google has the answers to most things and you can buy themes to help you along the way!
Tumblr - free, very simple, has a built in community, schedule posts in-house, can connect to google analytics and is mobile optimised. But the design customisation and functionality is limited, there’s no room to grow, it’s hard to build up content as it flows like a twitter feed.
Squarespace - what I’ve built Lilly Wild on. It’s simple, versatile, looks stunning, has different themes, user friendly, mobile optimisation, have to pay starting at $12/month - there is a free 30 day trial.
Strikingly - simple, user friendly, looks good, but design more limited than Squarespace, super quick to set up, free and paid options.
Medium - simple, user friendly, in-built community, fast growing platform, online publications with growing readerships you can get published on, looks good.
Facebook - wouldn’t bother with pages as the algorithm squashes views unless you get people to favourite it, but setting up a group is a good option. Great for connecting and engaging with people.
YouTube - only if you want to produce video content - again there is Facebook Like and Snapchat which are great too.
STEP 5: BUY YOUR DOMAIN NAME (OPTIONAL)
If you’re going with Wordpress, Squarespace or paid Strikingly then you’ll need a domain name!
I paid a grand total of £1.10 for lillywild.com and I don’t have to renew till 2018 - nearly broke the bank with this one!!
STEP 6: CREATE AN ABOUT PAGE
This is one of the most important pages on your site as it often receives the most traffic. People want to know your story, they want to know why you’ve started a blog and why they should follow you. Keep it fun, original, authentic and personable.
I highly recommend you watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, as this will help you write a compelling, authentic story for your potential readers.
STEP 7: BREAK YOUR BLOG’S VIRGINITY!
Write your first post! This can be about anything that aligns with your message and niche. For example, tell people why you’re starting an adventure blog, share your training schedule for the week, your packing list for an upcoming adventure, or your successes and failures from a recent adventure.
Writing your first post will also help you understand how to publish images, headers and the other formatting that comes with publishing on your blog. The first time may take you ages, but I promise you’ll get slicker at it the more you practice and publish!
STEP 8: CREATE GREAT CONTENT
Being consistent is key, so I suggest creating a content calendar for your blog. Start with 1-2 articles a week, but remember quality is more important than quantity.
For each month know what post you will be writing, what you will need for it (if anything) and when you will publish it.
Research what people are looking for in your niche, Reddit, Quora and forums are great places to start. And then start taking the time to crafting useful blog posts which will solve their problems! Inspire wanderlust in your readers and include actionable tips and tricks for them too!
Try writing about different topics to find and develop your voice and to see what kinds of posts resonate with your readers.
- Listicles are easy digested and can be fun e.g. 10 Things That Surprised Me About Beijing
- Show-off beautiful images in photo essays
- Share crazy adventure stories and the challenges you faced
- Budget adventure trips
- Packing lists
- How to’s e.g. How to travel solo through Mongolia
- Recipes for wild cooking
- Adventure travel guides
If you’re writing your blog as a journal, this may not be useful, but food for thought perhaps...
STEP 9: SHOUT ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
You may not want to hear this, but if you want to build a successful adventure blog, embracing social media and posting regularly is important.
Learning how to master social media is a big topic!
But to begin with sign up for the platform(s) you think your 1000 True Fans use the most and stick with it. If you’re limited on time then concentrate on Facebook and then perhaps branch into Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
Buffer and HopperHQ are great platforms that allow you to post content in the background and track your analytics. Then when you’re ready you can respond to the messages and tweets.
(If you decide to use HopperHQ for Instagram, please use the code ADELAIDE2 so we both get $10 credit each! Every penny counts!)
STEP 10: START COLLECTING EMAILS
This is the most important thing you can do regarding building your 1000 True Fans. Social media platforms come and go, but emails are here to stay.
If you want to email once a week, once a fortnight or once a month, it doesn’t matter, just be consistent.
Google G Suite for business which is best for collecting/sending emails and very reasonably priced at £3.30 month!
I would love to hear from you if you’ve started a adventure blog or if you’re thinking of starting one! Do you have any tips and tricks you want to share? Comment Below!