Travel Blogging 101: Finding Your Niche

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Jessica Peterson

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Five years ago blogging was a totally different ball game. There were fewer players and even fewer rules. Now there are millions of bloggers and readers have even shorter attention spans. The bar for bloggers is at its highest ever. This makes finding a niche absolutely essential. In fact, it’s the first step to starting a successful blog. I know, because I started a few unsuccessful blogs before I found my niche, quit my job, and started making more money blogging than I did working full-time.

WordPress, a popular blogging platform, reports that 42.6 million blog posts are created each month. Consider that your competition! Yes, blogging is about competition. Bloggers compete to keep readers engaged, which in turn attracts advertisers. Readers now expect bloggers to turn out content that is as good or better than mainstream publications.

Don’t Start a Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown

Think about starting a blog the same way a chef would think about starting a restaurant. Don’t start a Chinese restaurant in a town with hundreds of great Chinese restaurants. Do something that few are doing, or better yet, that no one is doing! Finding a unique niche is even more important than being an authority on the subject. Your knowledge of the theme can grow the more experience you have and the more research you do.

How can I find a niche in travel blogging?

But, you may say, there are already thousands of excellent travel blogs. How can I compete? That is the exact question you should be asking. The answer? Find a subject that has not been exploited to its full potential. Travel blogging isn’t just about creating postcards from beautiful destinations. Consider these sub-genres of travel blogging:

  • Budget travel
  • Solo travel
  • Female travel
  • Travel photography
  • Adventure travel
  • Luxury travel
  • Around-the-world travel
  • Traveling for work
  • Food destinations
  • Music destinations
  • Off-the-beaten path travel
  • City or country guides

Let’s talk about the last one because that’s where I found success. Before I started Global Girl Travels, I created The Guam Guide. Can you believe in 2011 there was no guide to the U.S. Territory of Guam? I couldn’t either, so I quit my job at Guam Visitors Bureau to devote myself full-time to my blog. In less than four months, a local news station asked me to host a weekly TV segment based on my blog. Within a few years, The Guam Guide became a household name here on Guam. I believe a huge part of my success was that there was virtually no competition for an English language website about Guam (most were in Japanese).

In this day and age, it’s very difficult to start a totally unique blog about a subject that no one has covered, but I still recommend you push yourself to find a unique niche. Are you an expert on GoPro travel photography? Do you know Central America like the back of your hand? Have you stayed at every castle featured on the BBC?

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Even though I recommend having a very specific theme, it doesn’t mean you can’t expand your editorial content to include other topics. Blogging is like writing a symphony — even a 30-minute opus returns to the motif several times.

This is the part that you may not want to hear… Just as senseless as it would be to start a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, that’s how much of an uphill battle it would be to blog about popular travel destinations. That being said, if your travel experience has been mostly mainstream, ‘niche’ it up. Everyone covers New York City, but are you an authority on Polish delis, Salsa clubs, or vintage shops? Can you share the perfect itinerary for 12 hours in NYC? Can you recommend something to do in all five boroughs?

And one final piece of advice on this subject, the last thing the travel blogging world needs is another picture of the Eiffel Tower. Now, get out there and be original!

Case Studies: Travel Blogs That Nail Their Niche

The Funnelogy Channel 

Couple travel from Brussels to Hong Kong strictly on land since April 2014, capturing the soul of each city. Expect honest portraits, mouthwatering food, and unexplored Middle Eastern destinations.

Classe Touriste

Belgian power couple showcase immaculate photography in uncommon destinations like North Korea, Bhutan, and Antarctica.

We Are 365 

Twentysomething sisters chronicle outfits in exotic places like Iceland and Istanbul. Come for the travel, stay for the hyperreal, yet dreamy photography.

See why finding a niche is so important for travel bloggers.

Are you a travel blogger? What’s your niche?

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Jessica Peterson
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Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson is a travel filmmaker, photographer, and journalist. She released her first documentary film about indigenous culture on Guam in 2016, after having lived nearly 7 years on the Pacific island. Jessica is currently on the Great American Roadtrip in her Airstream trailer.
Jessica Peterson
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  • lavieenliz

    travel blogging seems like so much fun!

    Giveaway on blog starting tomorrow!

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • I love how honest and realistic you are with this post, it’s some truth that travel bloggers need to hear. I’m still quite new to the game, trying to figure out my niche. I guess I’m somewhere within the budget-introvert-socially anxious-eco traveller-biologist genre. I’ve certainly thought about it a lot, but I’m still taking my time to truly develop my voice and settle on a niche. This post helped me think about it from a more straightforward perspective. Thank you!
    http://www.marieaway.com

    • Hi Marie. Thanks for your comment. It’s hard not only to find a niche but to stay in it. I think once you connect with your audience, it’s perfectly find to vary the theme.

  • Elizabeth Mckinnon

    Great advice, I love to travel now I want to blog about it. Coocoo4coco.blogspot.com

  • Jenny

    I’ve just started travel blogging and this article has helped me think in different ways in terms of what my niche could be! I guess I’m somewhere within luxury travel and around the world travel. I’ve just recently discovered your blog and am learning so much reading your older posts! Love you blog!
    http://www.nnyley.com

    • Thanks for reading GGT. I would be a luxury traveler if I could afford it!

  • minitravellers

    Just found your blog and love it. My blog is still finding its feet, but enjoying it all the same!

  • newsfromNOMADS

    Hi, we are Hugo & Elise, and our blog http://newsfromnomads.com/ is about us travelling the
    world and inspiring you to do the same! Our goal is to make you (even
    more) enthusiastic about living a life full of travel and adventure by
    inspiring text, photography and movies. We focus on photography and inspiring movies and write about places off the beaten track. Have a look on our blog

    http://www.newsfromnomads.com

  • Jodie @ à la perchoine

    Great advice and what a great story about how this all began for you. I have recently transferred my blog over from a personal diary into the public eye for all to see. This post has provided clarity on where my blog now lies: round the world travel for couples.

    À la perchoine, Jodie
    http://www.alaperchoine.com

  • Love this post! I’m in love with Tofino located at British Columbia, Canada, and there are few pages about it apart from the official tourism ones (there is one just for Tofino and then one for Vancouver and another one for BC). But as I’m from Spain, I think I could give another point of view and mix what locals, visitors and adventure/nature lovers want and make a whole and comprehensive Tofino Guide. Even with kids and pet friendly activities! What do you think? 🙂

    • The great thing about blogging is you can change directions at any time. I started as a fashion blogger and realized that wasn’t my niche — it was travel. I didn’t regret the time invested because I learned a lot about photography and could apply that to my travel blog. I say go for it if you have a well-founded hunch! Best wishes on your endeavor.

  • Nvrmore

    Great advice…

    We, travel bloggers have different niches not just “TRAVELLING”….

    Also, you’re right that you should not just stick in a single niche maybe two or three but you should never pick it all up and scramble it in one blog.. It will be a mess.

    In my Blog ESTUDYANTE TRAVELSx , I mostly blog a destination emphasizing photography ( mobile photography to be exact).

    When you’re done on picking a specific niche, make it work. Think of your unique ability on how will your project those things on your blog….
    Happy Travelling

  • Gwyn Goodrow

    This is a good reinforcement of why I enjoy the blogging community. My site, http://www.crochetgetaway.com/, has a travel backdrop and emphasis on the specific niche of crocheting enthusiasts worldwide. My expansion plan is to learn more about regional crafts, worldwide. So much fun ahead!!!

  • Paul Reavey

    amazing post, would appreciate if you could all have a look at my travel blog, I was long haul cabin crew for 18 years and have some great travel tips to share https://mrpaulblog.com/2016/08/24/jet-lag/

  • Wilbur

    More great sense! Thanks Jessica.

  • My Writing Universe

    Just found your blog today and subscribed. I’m just trying to find my feet with my blog. I’m enjoying writing but I’m struggling to identify whether this is a hobby or a more serious venture so the points about sub-genres of travel blogging was really helpful.