9 Tips for Travel Bloggers with a Day Job

 

Today’s guest post is from Chris Christensen, speaker, blogger and podcaster.  He’ll be speaking on podcasting at TBEX Europe, but in his guest post today he talks about being a busy guy who also has a full time day job.  How does he balance it all and still keep his content fresh and engaging?  Even when he’s not traveling?  Here’s his story.

wall clockThe recent post on TBEX “4 Tips to Keeping A Travel Blog Going While Traveling” is not my problem. I have had a popular travel blog and podcast (Amateur Traveler) for over 7 years, but except for one 8 month break, I have had a full time job that entire time. What traveling I do, as well as what blogging and podcasting, has had to fit into nights, weekends and 3-4 weeks of vacation. For many bloggers, the end of their year long career break is the death of their travel blog, but that does not have to be the case. But, neither can your blog be unchanged.

Think like a Travel Editor

Make friends with a travel editor like Spud Hilton if you can and you will find that most of the time they are doing a normal commute to an office. I am not talking about the travel journalist who hasn’t been to his hometown since the Carter administration, but the guy who gets out the travel section every week or the travel magazine every month. How do they do it?

1) It’s not about your trip

One of the things that Spud will remind you about traditional travel writing is that the story is not about your trip but about the trip that the reader might take. So while the fun part about being a travel blogger or writer is the actual travel, any time you can provide a valuable service for the future traveler you can build a readership (or in my case a listening audience).  After starting the Amateur Traveler podcast I quickly learned that I was going to run out of travel stories since I was traveling about 4 weeks a year and publishing an episode about 48 weeks a year. The solution for me was interviews. Sometimes travel writers get on the phone and talk to someone about a destination. Of course the quality of your content can only be as good as the quality of your sources.

2) It does not always have to be your voice

The most popular style of travel blog is a single author blog. The closest analogy in traditional journalism would be a columnist. You always get the same style and sense of humor. You always know what you are going to get. But clearly, that is not the only model. Magazines and newspapers have for years been using multiple authors, some regular authors, and freelancers. They then use editors to maintain a consistent style or consistent quality standards. Purists will say that this is not a blog. Let them. But remember that there are dangers in this path. Getting other people to offer to give you “free” or affordable content is not so difficult as you might think. At Amateur Traveler I am probably pitched a dozen or two dozen articles a week. Most of these are crap. Some of these are crap that someone would actually pay me to put up on the site. Think like a travel editor. Don’t lose long term readers for short term gain. It is still your site. If you don’t like the article, don’t publish it.

Think Like a Road Warrior

Not all day jobs tie you to a desk. My last job as a Director of Engineering at TripAdvisor had a 2700 mile commute. It was not easy to get hired to manage a group remotely, but once I was, remote in San Jose looks pretty much like remote in Long Beach. My wife had a training class in Southern California and I tagged along. I still had to put in a full day’s work but in the evenings I was enjoying the nightlife and taking pictures for my blog. If your job is on an automobile assembly line they will probably not let you take work home, but if you are knowledge worker you might be able to negotiate some flexibility. My manager is working remotely next week from Maui.

If you travel for work, can you write about business travel? Can you leverage business travel to create content. You may have noticed more content from Boston on the Amateur Traveler over the last 2 years. TripAdvisor was paying for me to travel to Boston one week a month. Sometimes I was able to get out of the office in the evenings or stay an extra weekend. This gave me a great chance to explore a second home base.

Think Like a Hoarder

When you travel constantly you can write about what you saw today. When you travel less often save up and spread out your content. There is a shelf life for your content but most destinations don’t change so much in a year or two that you have to write all your posts now. But, you do have to either keep good notes or write your articles and schedule them. Think about an editorial calendar. When can you get the most leverage for your articles?

Think Like a Collaborator

So you don’t travel every week, but maybe if you created a site with 2 or 3 other reliable partners you could more easily create a steady stream of content. The dangers here are what you do with your spoils when things work well. How will you split up any revenue or opportunities. How will you deal with problems when things go poorly. Will there be a minimum number of posts that each person has to write? If things don’t work out, how will you dissolve your partnership? Who gets the URL? Decide those things in advance as much as possible.

Think Like a Teacher

You don’t have to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower every day to write about how people can take better pictures of the Eiffel Tower. You don’t need to pack your bag every day to teach a novice how to pack better. What skills have you picked up from travel that you could teach? Do you know how to book travel? Do you know how to learn a language? Do you know how to get a visa or renew a passport? All of these skills can be turned into useful articles, videos or podcasts.

Think Like a Local

Do you live someplace where people either do want to travel or should want to travel? Your local tourism board might be looking for someone just like you to help spread the word about your home town or about destinations that you can reach on a weekend excursion. I happen to live near San Francisco. You better bet that you can find pictures, walking tours, shopping advice and other information about the city by the bay on my site.

Think Like a Professional

Make a plan. Go through the categories in this article and come up with 3 blog post ideas for each. Then come up with your own categories. What did I miss?

Author bio: Chris Christensen is the host of the Amateur Traveler, a popular online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. By day he works at PayNearMe.com where they create products to help people without credit or debit cards pay for things. Chris was formerly the Director of Engineering for TripAdvisor’s New Initiatives group, the EVP Engineering at LiveWorld which runs online communities like those for eBay, HBO, and American Express, and a Software Manager at Apple, Momenta (pen computing) and HP. 

Photo credit:  SXC

ITB to Sponsor TBEX Costa Brava; Partner for Speed Dating Event at ITB Berlin 2013

 

Some things just seem to go together – peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic, bacon and. . . well, practically everything.  That’s exactly how we feel about today’s announcement of a partnership between TBEX and ITB Berlin.  They just seem to go together!

ITB Berlin is the world’s largest travel trade show, bringing together destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels, and other travel suppliers.  Last year, this business-to-business show had over 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries, and over 170,000 attendees.   We’re talking miles of exhibits and booths, meetings, and other events to help the travel industry conduct business and keep informed about the latest news in travel.

This is a big trade show!  And we know that it’s the kind of show that serious travel bloggers are going to want to attend.  That’s why we’re very excited to announce that we’ll be organizing a blogger speed dating at ITB Berlin 2013.  Connecting travel bloggers with travel industry representatives is something that we’re passionate about, and we believe this is a wonderful opportunity for bloggers to integrate themselves within the community and create important business relationships.

Be sure to stop by to meet the ITB team while you’re at TBEX.  You can find them in the sponsor area, and we know they’ll be eager to meet you as well.  A huge thank you to ITB  for recognizing the important role that travel bloggers play in the travel and tourism industry.  Let’s make good things happen.

Details and further information about the partnership and speed dating event will be announced at TBEX Europe in Girona, Spain.  Until we can announce more, just put these details on your calendar and we’ll hope to see you in Berlin.

Dates:  March 6-10, 2013

Location:  Messe Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Competing with Astronauts

 

Do you think you have an interesting travel adventure to tell?  A story that’s sure to captivate your readers all around the world?  Today’s guest post from speaker Pam Mandel tells you why your adventure isn’t all that special.  And tells you what you can do about it.

 

blue moon

We go places. We write some things down. We think that our experience matters, that what we write matters. I wanted to write about this idea. About this vanity and how we have to make people care with our writing, we can’t just assume they care by default. But I set the idea aside, because I was feeling snarky. I try to do this when I’m feeling snarky, so I turned off the computer and went to dinner with my husband.

Then, I was distracted by Neil Armstrong.

We had walked home from the neighborhood fish and chip shop. I shot some pictures in the golden hour light with my phone and turned around to see a nearly full moon in the pale blue sky. “I wonder if he’s there,” I said to my husband, “now that he doesn’t need his body to travel anymore.” “There’s a memorial for him on the date of the blue moon, the 30th, I think,” the husband answered. A blue moon is when there are two full moons in one month. It’s a rare occurrence, hence the phrase “Once in a blue moon.”

Once in a blue moon, a man will get into a tiny tin can strapped to a rocket and go barreling through space. He will stand on a dusty rock and look back at the earth, a tiny blue marble from his vantage point. And then, he will return home again. I forgot about being snarky and thought about Neil Armstrong instead.

His travels blow my mind. All these years after the fact, after the romance of space travel has faded and gloriously revived with the landing of the Mars Rover, it blows my freaking mind. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, for the love of god, and I think it was a big deal that I went trekking in Ladakh? What is the matter with me?

I am surprised at how sad I feel at Neil Armstrong’s death. I think he is the greatest traveler for my lifetime. What modern traveler can surpass Neil Armstrong? Imagine what he must have felt — the first person to step foot on the moon, knowing, unequivocally, that not one single human had been there before. Imagine turning around and seeing your footprints behind you on the surface of a previously untouched ball of rock. Armstrong’s steps, those first indentations, one foot, then the other, on a place unknown…the bottom of his boots hitting that same pale silvery globe hanging in the late summer sky. Oh.

The responsibility of being that first person is almost too much to bear. You must take it all in; you must look, hard, twice, three times, and remember everything. You must think about the awkward climb down the ladder and the puff of dust released into the atmosphere when your boots, one, and then the other, hit the ground. You must not only embrace this moment of discovery, the moment when you turn and look across the horizon back to the black sky from whence you arrived, but you must hold on to the idea of “This is what it feels like. This is what it feels like to be here, right now.”

According to the International Antarctic Association of Tour Operators, in the 2010-2011 season, 33,824 tourists visited Antarctica. Some of them blogged about it; some of them will be at TBEX. Now, the world is such that you can now be in a place with multiple bloggers who have traveled to Antarctica! And you could be heading to the seventh continent yourself — it’s only a question of expense now, not logistics. But it is not enough to have gone to Antarctica. You must be your own Earnest Shackleton, another great traveler, and take your crew there and back again. To demand the attention of an easily distracted readership, one that is choosing between your post and a photo of a kitten with a clever caption, you have to find the story and write it until your readers are there with you.

Shackleton was filled with awe. Between the dull factoids about his ship and his crew, his journal, South, is full of poetry. “I seemed to vow to myself that some day I would go to the region of ice and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth, the end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns.” What a story he tells; I shook my head at every twist and turn. And Armstrong, he went to the moon! “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” These great travelers picked their words and told their stories and made us care, so completely, about their adventures.

As modern day travelers, travelers with our own mini media empires, we like to delude ourselves that we are important, that we are seeing these places differently than the thousands of others who have been there before us. My Paris. My Honolulu. My Bangkok. But we are not Neil Armstrong, our trips are exceptional only to those who know us and care. Angkor Wat is full of tourists who look just like our neighbors. Our shadows cast the same shapes on to the deserts of Jordan. The penguins are bored with our presence as we tumble out of zodiacs on to Antarctica’s rocky ice. We go places. We write some things down. We think that our experience matters, that what we write matters.

But it doesn’t matter, our presence is not enough. We’re not Shackleton or Armstrong, so we need to work a lot harder to make our readers care. I’ve made any number of people mad at me by suggesting they take a writing class, as though this was an insult. What they often ignore is that I follow that remark with the statement that taking a writing class — a basic composition class, not a travel writing class — is the single most effective thing I have done for my career. Great adventurers during the golden age of exploration did not have to rely on their prose to gain attention, the fact that they had encountered an elephant or found Livingstone was enough. We don’t have that luxury. Someone has been there before us, our adventures are in reruns. We have a joke at my house. I’ll say something like, “I’m going on safari, I’m going to see lions,” and my husband will say, “That’s cool, but I’ve seen that on TV.”

Before I left my house for that walk, that snark reducing walk,  I had written these words: I don’t care about your trip. I’m happy for you and I’m glad you’re blogging about it, writing is good for your brain and your mom (or cousin or college roomie) will be glad when you check in alive from the riotous streets of Cairo or after that week you spent in the South African bush. Bully for you. But if you want me to pay attention, really pay attention, you’re going to have to learn to write, to really write. It is all you have. It is all we have.

Don’t believe me? Look at the sky and consider the competition.

Author bio:  Pam Mandel writes Nerd’s Eye View, a blog that’s mostly about travel.  She’s presenting How to Tell a Creative Story at TBEX Girona with Will Peach.

Photo credit:  Josué Cedeño via wikimedia commons

Girona, Travel Massive & TBEX Post-Conference Party

 

Girona

We’re very excited to partner with Travel Massive and the city of Girona for what we believe is the first organized post-TBEX party.

You already know about Girona and all the wonderful things they are doing to welcome TBEX attendees.  And we tip our hats to them and extend them a very big THANK YOU for their help in staging this fabulous send off.

Do you know about Travel Massive?  It’s a global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel brands, travel startups, and travel bloggers and travel professionals.  They have a team of global organizers who run events in their respective cities around the world.  And they’ll be at TBEX.  And they want to meet up and keep the travel enthusiasm going.

The Girona, Travel Massive & TBEX Post-Conference Party will be held following the official close of the conference on Saturday.   Shuttles will be available to take attendees to the gardens behind the Girona Cathedral for some local beer tasting, appetizers, and a theatrical performance of Napolean’s French battle.

After the performance, take a quick walking tour of the area with a local guide pointing out and suggested restaurant and bar choices in the area.  Pick your spot – or spots – for the evening and continue into the wee hours.  The fun doesn’t stop when the conference ends!

Photo credit:  Girona Tourism

El Celler de Can Roca Welcomes TBEX to the Castle

 

If you were excited about the opening night party at St. Gregory’s Castle, this news is really going to WOW you!  The menu and food for the evening is being prepared and served by the famous restaurant El Celler de Can Roca.

Roca Brothers of El Celler de can Roca, Girona, Spain

El Celler de Can Roca is located in Girona, and was founded over 25 years ago by three brothers.  Joan, the oldest brother, is the head chef.  Josep, the middle brother, is the sommelier.  And Jordi, the youngest brother, is in charge of desserts.  The three brothers have combined their talents in creating a restaurant honored with three Michelin stars.

But forget about the stars – perhaps even more noteworthy is that for the past two years El Celler de Can Roca has been named the second best restaurant in the world by British magazine, Restaurant.  This ranking is bestowed by vote of a panel of international chefs, restaurateurs, gourmands and restaurant critics.  In other words, the very people associated with quality dining.

So get your taste buds prepared for a taste of their life time.  See you at St. Gregory’s Castle on Thursday night.

Note:  For those of you are asking yourself, well, if El Celler de Can Roca is the second best restaurant in the world, what is the first?  The answer is Noma, located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Girona Tourism

Girona Offers Free City Tours to TBEX Attendees

 

Jewish Quarter Girona Spain

The city of Girona has an illustrious history.  It’s undergone 25 sieges, been captured 7 times, and been devastated by disease and famine.  The defensive walls of the city were taken down to allow for expansion, although recently some of the walls have been reconstructed.  The city of Girona wants to share this fascinating history with TBEX attendees with a FREE city tour that will familiarize visitors with the city’s Old Town and Jewish Quarter (in photo), the colored houses along the river, and the surroundings of the Cathedral, among other hidden spots.

The FREE city tours start at Punt de Benvinguda.  The tours will be offered on Thursday, September 20th, at 4 pm and 5 pm.  The tours last about an hour and a half, and will give participants a brief glimpse at the history and architecture of Girona’s past  as well as a look at the Girona of today.  And they’ll get participants finished in plenty of time to catch the shuttles to the opening night party at St. Gregori’s Castle.

Participation in the tours require an RSVP.  Feel free to bring a guest, but please sign them up so the city of Girona can get an accurate head count.  The tours will be launched in groups of 30 people, and everyone who is interested will be accommodated.

Photo credit:  Naevus via wikimedia commons

TBEX Europe Heads to the Beach

 

Expedia beach party

After the first day of educational sessions at TBEX Europe, we’ll be heading to the beach for a party with Expedia that includes food, music, and a few surprises. We know that Expedia knows how to throw a great party, and this is shaping up to be another great event.

The beach party will be held on the beachfront of the beautiful Hostal Empúries, the first hotel in Europe to receive LEED Gold certification. The hotel is located next to the Greco-Roman ruins of Empúries, the only such ruins in the area. Preserving and enhancing the heritage of the ruins is a major goal of the hotel and, combined with a desire to leave a legacy for future generations, the hotel has commitment to sustainable practices in every phase of their business.

TBEX attendees will be shuttled to and from the beach, and in between will enjoy a tapas buffet that includes delicious choices like Iberian ham, watermelon bloody mary’s, grilled vegetables, padron peppers, and a whole lot more. Along with the delectable nibbles will be a drink bar, music, and plenty of time for networking, laughing, and have a great time.

The beach party is part of the TBEX Europe registration package and is open to registered attendees only.  So if you’re not registered you’ll be missing out. Shuttle schedules will be provided on site.

A big thanks to our diamond sponsor Expedia for hosting our Friday night beach party! And, for their continuing commitment to travel bloggers.

Let’s hit the beach!

 

Context Tours Offer FREE Barcelona Walks for TBEX Attendees

Context walking tour City of Chocolate Barcelona

Since Barcelona will be an arrival or departure hub for many TBEX Europe attendees, we are excited about this fabulous invitation from our friends and partners at Context Travel:  Context Travel invites TBEX attendees to participate in its series of Barcelona walking tours for FREE.

Context is a critically acclaimed network of scholars and experts who organize small group walking seminars in the world’s cultural capitals. The Barcelona tours were launched last year and they are thrilled to take visitors under the skin of the city to discover the true Barcelona, from understanding the mind of Gaudi to discovering the city’s links to the history of chocolate. Context is organizing several walks on Wednesday, September 19th and Thursday, September 20th before the conference, and then additional walks on Sunday, September 23rd. Spaces are limited, so contact them quickly to reserve your spot.

Take a look at the walking tours offered:

Wednesday September 19th

9:30 a.m. – Gothic Quarter: Accompanied by an urban specialist or archeologist, discover Barcelona’s Barri Gótic, or “Gothic Quarter,” from ancient Roman outpost, to capital of the Crown Aragon in the Middle Ages, to the making of a modern metropolis in the 19th century.

10:00 a.m. – City of Chocolate: A delicious exploration of the history of chocolate through the narrow streets of the old city and out onto the Ramblas, from 19th century bomboneries famous for dark truffles to the adventurous palates of 21st century chocolate masters.  (Take a look at the photo up top and I know this one will be high on your list.)

Thursday September 20th

10:00 a.m. – Made in Barcelona design walk: Led by a design journalist, see first hand how the city’s vibrant design culture has developed from the whimsical fantasies of Gaudí and his fellow modernistas, to the cutting edge show pieces of the world’s starchitects in the new neighbourhoods, to astounding design hotels and restaurant interiors and beautifully crafted pieces of industrial and decorative design that make up the city’s everyday landscape.

10:00 a.m. – Farm to Fork the Boqueria and Beyond: This culinary walk goes to and around the reigning queen of Barcelona’s vibrant market network, La Boqueria. As the center of the city food scene and epicenter of Catalan gastronomy, La Boqueria offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the sites, smells, and tastes of culinary Barcelona.

Sunday September 23rd

9:30 a.m. – Homage to Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona: A foremost expert of Barcelona and the Civil War leads this three hour walk in Orwell’s footsteps during the 1937 May Revolution, described in the author’s “Homage to Catalonia.”

4:00 p.m. – Gaudi in Context: In the company of an architect or urban specialist, enter the fantastic architecture of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s most important architect, and situate his work within the context of Catalan society at the time, while also looking broadly at how Barcelona expanded in the late 19th and early 20th century and became a breeding ground for the modernist movement and, eventually, such luminaries as Miro and Picasso.

How to Schedule Your Spot: 

Space is limited, so act quickly to reserve your tour.  Contact Context Travel with your dates and preferred walk and they’ll work with you to make it happen.

Oh – if you’re arriving earlier or staying later? Let Context know and they’ll try to schedule you on another available walk.

A very big TBEX thank you to Context Travel (follow them on Twitter) for providing this terrific value-added for our attendees.

Haven’t registered yet?  There’s still time.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Context Travel

More Speakers Announced for TBEX Europe

 

Girona Conference Center, Spain

We’ve got a few more speakers to announce and this group all represents the Travel and Tourism industry perspective.  We’re very excited to have them joining ed sessions in the Industry Track and look forward to hearing what they have to say about the travel industry, how bloggers fit into the industry, and to get their perspective on what the future holds.

Please join me in welcoming:

  • Jessica Parker – Jessica is joining us from the New York office Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest public relations firm.  She’ll be co-presenting with blogger Amy Moore on what makes a good pitch.
  • Joantxo Llantada – Joantxo was born Bilbao, works in Valencia, and rests in the Canary Islands.  He’ll be joining a session on how to organize blogger trips.  (P.S., Industry attendees, if you’re interested in learning how to get your boss to buy off on a blogger trip, you won’t want to miss this panel.)
  • Nicholas Montemaggi – Joining us from the Emilia Romagna Region Tourist Board, Nicholas will be co-presenting on the topic of How to Form Creative Tourism-Blogger Partnerships.  He’s had a rather cutting edge blogger program and will be sharing what it takes to be ahead of the curve when working with bloggers.

We continue to update the speakers and our program, so check back often to get the most up-to-date information.

[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”Sound Off” bcolor=”c53a4a”]Which speaker are you most looking forward to meeting?[/stextbox]

Photo credit:

How People Can Bring Your Blog Posts to Life

 

Today we have a guest post from Michael Turtle, one of our speakers for TBEX Europe.  Michael has a journalism background, and will be joining with fellow journalist Chris Gray Faust, in a session titled Travel Writing 101:  Writing the Creative Service Piece.

Here’s what Michael has to say about why you should incorporate interviews and interviewing techniques into your travel writing.

Emilia_Romagna

“Today I went to see the pyramids. I’d always wanted to visit them, ever since I first saw a picture of them as a child. They were much bigger than I expected and it was a really great experience.”

Ok, pretty boring, right? But sadly this is how too many travel stories online sound. As a writer, it’s much easier to say what’s on the top of your mind, rather than consider what a reader wants to hear. Making the extra effort to write engaging content will be better for your blog in the long run, though.

Often it helps to think like a journalist. Not in the sense of where you’re going to get a beer after your story is filed (although that’s not necessarily a bad thing) but about the elements and structure that will best illustrate the point you’re trying to make.

We’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves, though (not a good thing to do as a writer) because one of the most important things to work out first is what your point is. In the journalism game, this is called your angle or your hook and basically it’s a matter of answering the question “what will interest someone enough to read this story?”  Once you know that, the hardest part is done. During my years writing stories for television and radio stations, the easiest assignments were always the ones where I knew what I wanted to say.

It’s then a matter of collecting the elements of your story and putting them together in a compelling way. I just want to talk about one of those elements now – interviews. This will be one of the main focuses of the session I’m co-presenting with Chris Gray Faust at TBEX in Girona, Spain, in September.

Look at it this way: the world as we know it is made up of people. It’s their creations, their interactions, their opinions, and their traditions which are such an important part of the fabric of society. And it’s from people that the best stories of humankind have been told. Can you think of a good novel that had no people and was just about a landscape or a building? No… didn’t think so.

New_OrleansSo injecting some characters into your stories is a really straightforward way to bring them to life. While you’re travelling you could do quick and easy interviews with people you meet along the way – or you could arrange some more formal ones in advance or once you’re at a location. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, as long as it helps you with your angle.

I’m not going to go into the best techniques for interviews right now (because it would be really embarrassing if you didn’t come to my session because you thought you’d learnt enough) except to say that it’s actually quite easy once you know the basics. The key is tailoring your interviewing style to the situation. In my former job (back when I actually had an income) I would interview a movie star one day, homeless drug addicts the next, and the Prime Minister the next. As you’d expect, each required a slightly different approach… but also had plenty of common elements.

The best thing about interviews is that the quotes you get from people are quite malleable – if you’ve done well with the chat then you can use them in any type of story to achieve a wide range of effects. Not that I want to force you read my own site (heaven knows that travel bloggers NEVER want to do that), I thought it would be helpful if I pointed to a couple of examples.

  • If you get a great interview with a really interesting character, often that’s enough for a story in itself. Readers are fascinated with the lives of other people – especially if they come from a foreign culture or have led a unique lifestyle. That’s just what I found when I interviewed the world’s oldest backpacker.
  • Often you can leave the best storytelling to the characters in your post by choosing good quotes from their interviews. They usually know the topic better than you so it’s a nice idea to let them explain the information and you can fill in the context and the details needed to link everything together. As you’ll see in this story about the destruction of Paraguay’s forests, it can also add a personal touch to a potentially dry issue.
  • Sometimes you’ll do interviews with representatives of organisations or with individuals who are central to your story. But a useful technique to create a sense of place is to get quotes from people on the streets who can speak for a whole community – or give you a range of differing views on one topic. This story about the state of the Greek economic crisis used tourism workers to paint a picture of the effects on the industry.

ParaguayAs I mentioned, there are a few elements you can use to spice up the writing on your blog. Why not just start with one, though. Perhaps try putting some interviews into some future posts and see how your regular readers respond. Remember: it’s all about people, not you.

Author bio: Michael Turtle used to spend his days as a journalist interviewing people and telling their stories on Australian radio and television. Now he’s travelling the globe indefinitely, sharing the things he finds on his blog Time Travel Turtle.

Photo credits:  Courtesy of the author