We chatted with travel blogger Adventurous Kate about her exciting travels, what it’s like to be an influencer, and more.
http://oliviazao.com/wp-login.php 1) What made you want to start travel influencing and do what are you doing now?
It was never my intention to become a travel influencer — that didn’t exist when I started! My original goal was to have one of the biggest female-run travel blogs in the world. That was my goal when I started in 2010, and I achieved that fairly quickly. It was several years before the term “influencer” was a thing, but by then I already had a huge social media audience, so clients began contacting me for social media-only campaigns in addition to the blog campaigns I was already doing.
I consider myself a travel expert first and foremost. I just happened to fit the qualifications for “influencer” when they started to exist.
my website 2) What would you say is the #1 key to success in your business?
Trust. The number-one thing I hear from my readers is, “You’re so honest.” I tell the truth about travel, warts and all, because my goal is to help women travel the world safely, and it’s important to paint them an accurate picture about what they face. My loyalty is first and foremost to my readers. I tell my clients in advance that I’ll give them the right of reply — if something goes wrong, I’ll reach out to them about it before I publish my piece and I’ll give them an opportunity to provide a response.
Beyond that, I’m a genuine expert in solo female travel and I have an actual personality. Everything I write has my expertise and personality infused into it. I think most people have a good bullshit detector, and they can tell that I know what I’m talking about.
3) How do you help a new or micro influencer understand the culture of influencing?
My biggest tip would be that you need to get your own website. You can’t just have a popular Instagram account and call it a day. That’s extremely risky. Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks have already tweaked their algorithms and massively reduced accounts’ reach. It’s vital to have a piece of real estate that is your own — ideally, both a website and an email list.
4) What does a typical day in your week look like?
Every day is different. If I’m at home, I may be working on long-form content for my site; most days, I’m sending a ton of emails. I might be editing photos or optimizing old posts. I might be doing keyword research or working on a long-term project. I might have a call with a client, or a coffee meeting somewhere in Manhattan, where I live.
If I’m on the road, I’ll be trying to get a lot of content for the site later — lots of photos, lots of experiences. If I’m working with a client, I probably have a schedule with activities and businesses to cover, but if I’m on my own, I have more leeway. It’s important to get photos when the light is good — sunrise and sunset.
5) Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you for your career?
Rick Steves. He’s been a major proponent of ending the prohibition of marijuana and other liberal causes, even though many of his fans tend to be more conservative and often tell him to stop talking about politics. But you know what? He is successful anyway.
So many people say not to touch politics, that it’s anathema to your career. Well, I live and breathe politics, I write extensively about politics, and I think it’s irresponsible to write about travel while ignoring politics, so I weave it into my travel content. Conventional wisdom says that it should have earned me enemies, and it has, but I have earned exponentially more fans. And it doesn’t even scare off the brands. In fact, I had a client recently tell me that they vetted my political statements before pitching me (!!) and they found that I talk about politics in a very classy way.
6) What would you do differently if you were starting in your industry now?
I would have no choice but to play the dumb games on Instagram trying to get followers. I’m so glad I came up in a time when it was easy to get followers simply by posting good photos. That’s not the case anymore.
7) What are your three favorite software tools for doing what you are doing?
Snapseed is the best app for editing photos on your phone.
Evernote is where I keep virtually everything, from my to-do lists to my ideas for future posts.
And, um, Microsoft Excel? I love creating all kinds of crazy pivot tables for the hotel bookings and activities I sell so I can see trends throughout the year.
8) What has been your favorite place you’ve travelled to so far?
That’s such a hard question! It’s like choosing your favorite child. But I have to say that Antarctica blew everything out of the water. It’s the best place I’ve ever been and the most beautiful place. It humbled me beyond recognition. I have never felt so small and insignificant and vulnerable, and that’s a feeling I’ll be chasing for the rest of my life.
9) Do you prefer solo travel or with someone else?
It depends on what kind of travel I’m doing. I tend to travel solo the most, and when I’m trying to cram a lot of travel into a short time period or go on a fact-finding trip, it’s much faster and more efficient for me to travel solo. But I also really enjoy traveling with some of my friends and making great memories with them.
10) Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
It’s all about the writing. Everything I write is tailored with my reader in mind: a woman who wants to stay safe while traveling the world solo. I’m able to write to her directly, like a friend, and write something that helps her but is also funny and entertaining and truthful. I’m proud of the writing I’ve created over the past near-decade on Adventurous Kate.
To learn more about Adventurous Kate, check out her blog!