Fight the Inertia – Building a Personal Travel Writing Brand
Lisa Niver Rajna and George Rajna, founders of We Said Go Travel, host travel storytelling contests for emerging travel writers.
They shared a few minutes with Trover on building a personal travel brand. Here are a few gems from our chat.
You and George have established quite a travel blogger together. What advice would you give to someone considering a travel blog of their own?
Lisa answers: Thank you! We have been fortunate to have so many travelers choose to share their stories with us through our website and contests. My advice for someone considering a travel blog of their own would be to just start. The inertia against beginning is one of the hardest things for most people. There are many choices to be made but you can always refine your site later.
Pick a day of the week and post once a week somewhere. I started with blogger because I had Gmail already, it was free and I would not need a new password! That is really how I chose it. You can begin by posting on your Facebook page, blogger or another site that has a free blog like tumblr. I recommend 500-800 words with at least one photo. Commit to posting once a week. Once you begin, you can figure out the next pieces. As they say, “Every journey begins with one step.”
Our next travel-writing contest begins September 11 and closes November 28, 2013. It has a free entry and $1,000usd in cash prizes. All contest entries that meet our requirements will be published on our site and that is another great way to get started!
How essential is photography these days, in the travel blogging world? Is it possible to get away with stock images?
Lisa: For George and I, using our own photos and writing about where we have personally been is essential. We recently heard about a writer who wrote about places she has never been and uses creative commons photos. For us and our site, if you are going to share about how a place transforms you, you need to have actually been there!
George: However, if personal photos are not an option, we would recommend using creative commons on flickr or another site where usage is permitted.
We all look up to role models. Who are your travel idols?
George: For me, it would be other travelers that I have met on the road who have inspired me to continue to travel. In addition, certain travel writers have inspired us and we have thought about following in their footsteps.
Lisa: My mom gave me Origin of Species about Charles Darwin’s travels in the Galapagos to read on a trip when I was young. I realized you can travel, learn and write about science. George and I both enjoy sharing our discoveries and look forward to more exploring!
When did you know you were a Traveler, and not just someone taking a trip?
George: I realized I was a traveler when my rationale for traveling changed from being someone that wanted to just relax or hang out to learning about other cultures and peoples.
Lisa: During the years I worked for Club Med and on cruise ships, I realized that being away was a lifestyle choice. My manager had been at sea for twenty years. I started to consider that I could invent whatever plan worked for me. Traveling with George and being on the road feels like home!
Learn more about our Travel Writing Contest: Click here!
Lisa and George are speaking in Oahu October 3rd at Lotus Honolulu, in Los Angeles October 16th at Luxe on Sunset and in an online webinar on October 23rd for the University of Pennsylvania! Join us!