Why we need a clear definition of a ‘travel blogger’

Knowing who is who Update (26/8):  this post has clearly generated a lot of strong opinions; mainly I suspect as a result of me not articulating what I wanted to say very well. I won’t alter the original text in any way (that would be wrong given the many comments below that provide far more of value than the post itself). But I wanted to add this brief introduction to stress that the purpose of this post is not to suggest to bloggers what labels they should and should not apply to themselves and each other.  It is intended to suggest that within the travel industry as a whole the term ‘travel blogger’ does not provide any real insights into the great diversity of motives, skills and interests of those who maintain their blogs. 


What is a travel blogger? The label is applied to a variety of people many of who never use it to describe themselves. There is no universally accepted definition so let me attempt to summarise what, for me at least, the name ‘travel blogger’ implies.

A travel blogger is someone whose main income-generating activities are derived from the site or sites that they own and manage.

Put simply, they make money (or attempt to do so) from the stuff that they put on their website. Their site is their property; by making it a valuable piece of real estate they can lease out parts of it for hard cash.  It might be sponsored posts, adverts, text links, affiliate sales, downloads or most likely a combination of these.

Not everyone who owns a travel blog is a travel blogger. To suggest that is akin to saying that everyone who plays football on a Sunday morning with their friends is a footballer while those who strum a few chords on a guitar are all musicians.

In a recent post Debbie Hindle from Four bgb highlighted the diversity of people who maintain their own blogs and lists several very different motives for having a travel blog. Heather Cowper wrote a very detailed post on the topic showing the many different ways there are in which people have tried, with varying success, to monetise their sites. It’s well worth reading these posts as they illustrate neatly how many different business models exist in the online world.


Does it matter?

Who cares about names and labels? It certainly does matter for the increasing number within the PR industry who seek to work with bloggers to promote their clients’ products or destinations. Those who are making money through their own sites have a fundamentally different approach to looking after their site than those who use their sites principally as a showcase.

The travel blogger (by the above definition) will consider what they write and how they write and present it with their clients foremost in their mind. Their business depends on having a professional, search-engine friendly site that attracts high levels of traffic; traffic that is attractive for their paying clients. Those who run their blogs for other motives (such as this site which I use as a tool to promote my freelance writing work) are likely to manage their sites with an altogether different mindset.

Travel bloggers need to travel to constantly produce new material to keep their sites fresh and bring in traffic to please their advertisers and hopefully allow them to keep increasing their revenues. Their relationship with the travel PR industry is therefore crucial. The PR folks want exposure for their clients and it is exactly this that bloggers can give them by writing, photographing and making videos about their destination. It is along the lines of the relationship PRs have enjoyed with journalists for many years: similar but different, a new approach that supports but doesn’t replace the old one.

Bloggers, journalist, writer: titles that are frequently applied to the same people at different times. Calling a person by the wrong label might do little more than bruise their ego. But if you are a travel company, PR firm or advertiser looking to work with any of these characters then it certainly does matter who you approach and what their business model looks like. Failure to appreciate the different approaches and motives of those who manage a blog can lead to a lot of wasted time and money.

Author Information

Freelance travel writer

40 Responses to “Why we need a clear definition of a ‘travel blogger’”

  1. My website stopped being a ‘blog’ long ago and I usually avoid describing it as such – but I’ll never get rid of the blog perception. That’s fine. I don’t really care. I run a website and I make my entire living off of it – that’s all that matters. I’m not in it for prestige or titles. I’m certainly not a journalist and I’m a crap editor. But I have passion for my topic and it brings people back again and again – and keeps the advertisers happy.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm
  2. So if you run this blog & don’t make a direct income with it… You are not a blogger? Hey buddy, I thought you were one! 😉 hahaha

    August 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm
  3. pam #

    Andy, I find myself in the rare situation of being at odds with you on this. By your definition, I wouldn’t be a “travel blogger” — I don’t make my living from my site. I contribute to other sites, and they pay me, and also, I run site of my own that earns me a little bit of income.

    A travel blogger is someone who has a blog about travel, that’s really about it. Whether or not they take that occupation (or hobby) seriously is another story, as is whether or not they care about journalistic integrity, quality writing, and any number of issues relating to being (ARGH, I HATE THIS TERM) a “content producer.”

    Labels are just short cuts for lazy partners unwilling to do research. The web is full of charlatans and players, and some of them meet your literal guidelines for “travel blogger.” In general, I’d prefer to work with a PR company that takes the time to understand what I do and who my audience is over someone who’s just wants to “work with some travel bloggers.”

    Your definition shuts me out of owning the title for an occupation I’ve had for a ridiculously long time. In my snobbier hours, of which there are many, I tend to prefer the word “writer” as the label for what I do, but I write a blog, and it’s about travel. When it comes to my work in travel, I am first and foremost a “travel blogger” even if I don’t fit your definition of what that means.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:54 am
    • Pam, you took the word out of my mouth–BRAVO!!

      “A travel blogger is someone who has a blog about travel, that’s really about it”

      In fact, I started “travel blogging” because travel and blogging have been passions of mine for over a decade. In short–I simply LOVE doing both. Thus, I’m a travel blogger!

      August 25, 2011 at 4:17 am
      • I think you are onto something with the definition, but I think that anyone who blogs about travel could legitimately call themselves “travel bloggers”. There are many kinds of travel bloggers though, and maybe that’s where distinctions could be made.

        One never knows when a blog will make its money. I was a tech blogger for years and my tech blog didn’t make a significant amount of money until I sold the website. That moment of the final sale didn’t make me a “tech blogger”–I had been a tech blogger from the moment I began publishing content on technology.

        What is the difference between a Web publisher and a blogger? Some “full-time travel bloggers” are making a living from websites other than their travel blogs.

        My travel blogs don’t directly make the majority of my income, but I make a full-time living from the Internet, including the several travel blogs…

        August 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm
    • Sorry Andy, but I have to agree with Pam on this. A travel blogger is somebody who blog about traveling – income or no income. It’s as simple as that. I only think that it defines better on somebody who blogs about his/her own traveling experiences and not someone else’s.

      August 27, 2011 at 7:42 am
  4. I hope Pam is right in her definition. I’ve already been told that I’m not a travel blogger because I’m not looking to make money off my blog (at least for years).

    I like the idea of an all-encompassing definition. If you make money off you blog, I have no problem calling you a professional travel blogger. I’m fine with calling myself an amateur.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:10 am
  5. Sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t support that description. As someone who’s built one of my niche’s foremost websites, there’s not (yet) a full-time income in it. I do make some money from my site, and as such I can safely call myself an entrepreneur, a businessperson, a writer, and any number of other titles.

    Further, this new concept deters a lot more people than it attracts. To say ONLY people whose full-time job is travel writing is like saying only people that play professional football can say they’re football players.

    May I propose an alternative?

    A FULL-TIME travel blogger is someone whose main income-generating activities are derived from the site or sites that they own and manage. You call yourself a full-timer because you either have no other source or revenue, or they’re nominal at most. It’s easy to explain that you’re making X dollars a month, spend X hours a week working on your site(s), and so on.

    At this point, the way to show your seriousness about your endeavors is not a title – it’s your numbers (Analytics) and your connections that distinguish you.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 am
  6. Jonathan, Melvin, Pam, Erik and Chris, many thanks for the great contributions. My post was intended to start a discussion as it’s a subject that (to me at least) appears increasingly relevant. As is often the case, your comments have shed more light on the topic than my original post.

    Pam, it’s that laziness and tendency to make short cuts and apply labels you talk about that spurred me on to write this. I’m finding myself forever fielding approaches from advertisers, PRs and other bloggers who make assumptions that because I own and maintain a travel blog I also work in a particular way. The fact that over 90% of travel bloggers do work in that way makes me question whether the ‘travel blogger’ label is appropriate for me. I love being able to pass work and connections on to the many good friends I’ve met within the travel blogging community, but wonder if some form of label might make it easier for others to distinguish who does what and make the correct initial approaches.

    I don’t care a great deal as to what I’m called, but think there must be a way that people who are looking to engage with the blogging world can have a simpler way to distinguish the full-time blogger, the hobby blogger and the indirect income generating blogger…

    I guess that this does boil down to labels. I made the initial argument because I think so many people apply the ‘travel blogger’ label to everyone and assume a whole load of stuff with it. Even within the blogging community however we have different criteria for what constitutes a travel blogger. Should money earned or time spent be considered, as Chris suggests?

    Melvin, if we’re standing at the bar and you’re buying a round of drinks for the travel bloggers, count me in 😉

    Thanks again for sharing your valuable opinions.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:38 am
    • Sure… I count you in! :)

      I liked your example with the footballer. But another question. If someone likes to travel, (s)he is a traveler, right? Even if you don’t make an income with it.

      I of course know where to get with your article. But I guess you can’t get there just with naming someone a blogger or not. Everyone who runs a blog, is a blogger.

      If the PR agencies & the others in the industry do their job good, it’s no problem to filter a better blogger from one who does it just for fun. It pretty much starts with the url, structure and layout of a site.

      I really like your articles… they always get the discussions going! 😉

      August 24, 2011 at 8:38 am
  7. Hi Andy – thanks for this. I really like the fact you’re starting the debate but I too think your definition is too narrow. If you make your main income from a blog that is a certain metric of success. But people strumming chords in their bedroom – as you put it – can go onto develop huge audiences who love their particular voice.

    I’ve divided bloggers in my own head into ‘professional bloggers’ who monetise and generate their main income from blogging and ‘life bloggers’ who have started to express themselves and are considering commercial opportunities as they develop. Either type of blogger can be valuable for my clients depending on their voice and audience. As Pam says, it’s about better understanding and finding the right relationships.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:00 am
  8. Andy, I do think that some sort of definition which makes the travel blogger’s motivation and aims more obvious would be good thing.

    IMO, travel brands will get more exposure in travel blogs which are run as a business, as, to generalise, these blogs are focusing more on SEO and getting traffic to their site versus a “hobby/lifestyle” or “freelancers” travel blog. A business orientated travel blog is trying to provide information on topics for which there are many searches vs writing about what interests the author or personal reports of the most recent press trip.

    Also all traffic is not the same, if a blog’s traffic is predominantly from other members of the travel blogging community as opposed to “real” travellers (not sure of best way to put that, as I mean the man/woman in street), then I don’t believe it’s as relevant to travel brands.

    It’s also important for me to be perceived as a reliable source of information to readers e.g. honest hotel/resort reviews, instead of fluff where everything is wonderful.

    I like Debbie’s definitions of “professional” and “life” bloggers. Although some life bloggers, who build up a large following, can get a lot of traffic traffic.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:18 am
  9. Provocative stuff, Andy.

    Would actually change the headline ever so slightly to: “Why we need a clear definition of a ‘GOOD travel blogger’…”

    Have seen this debate from both sides now, having been a formally trained journo of 16 years, working for big media companes, to more recently launching a startup media site for the past two years,.

    Many people think Tnooz is a blog because it’s hosted on WordPress, and they think we’re bloggers because we write in a different way to other B2B media brands, being a bit more analytical, editorialising and combining news with analysis and opinion.

    I used to fight against the label when we first started. “NO!!! We’re a media brand, not a blog.”

    But it just gets really tiresome, so don’t worry about it anymore. So does the blogger/journo thing.

    I think the far bigger issue nowadays (because PRs, other media, readers probably DO understand the difference) is, frankly, about quality.

    There are some absolutely brilliant travel “bloggers” out there but, bloody hell, there are pages and pages and pages of utter nonsense, some of which is clearly supported commercially – which is actually mind-numbingly depressing.

    Conversely, there are some wonderful reporters and travel writers in the mainstream media and business press, but equally there’s a lot of shite, too, which apparently passes off for quality journalism.

    For example, you’ll struggle to find bloggers simply regurgitating a press release at the same rate as MSM journalists tend to do. But equally there appears to be less of the “me, me, me”-ness of blogging in the MSM.

    Might be wrong on that last one, actually 😉

    Anyway, the point is that there is too much focus on the channels and not on what is actually being put through them.

    If PRs, for example, stopped worrying about whether they should invite a truckload of bloggers on a junket and just picked the best WRITERS instead, we wouldn’t have this endless debate about it.

    Sorry, Andy – rant-a-rama this morning.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:19 am
    • Shaney Hudson #

      “If PRs, for example, stopped worrying about whether they should invite a truckload of bloggers on a junket and just picked the best WRITERS instead, we wouldn’t have this endless debate about it.”

      Exactly. Nail on the head.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am
      • @shaney – yeah, thx, although a picture of my head is probably being nailed to yet another dart board for using the word “junket” a sentence.

        August 24, 2011 at 10:29 am
  10. Well, this comes as a huge relief to me! For a while now people have been calling me a “travel blogger” because I do, in fact, travel and I do, in fact, have a blog. Meanwhile, this term has never really sat that well with me. I’ve always considered myself more of a “A writerly-person who likes to blather on about stuff in her blog which usually has to do with the country she happens to be living in or visiting… but maybe not… it’s possible she’s just blathering on about cookies.” But that doesn’t really have a ring to it, you know? And it really is not the easiest thing to fit on business cards. So I’ve settled for the term “travel blogger,” and haven’t put up too much of a fuss about it.
    But now that I know I am most definitely NOT a travel blogger as I make no money on my blog, then I guess I can ask everyone to refer to me by my aforementioned preferred title. And maybe I’ll just go by The Artist Formerly Known as a Travel Blogger. That seemed to work well for Prince.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:21 am
  11. Sally, being a Prince fan, your “The Artist Formerly Known as a Travel Blogger” had me laughing out loud.

    BTW I now call myself and online publisher.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:29 am
  12. Tony #

    What happens when the best writers have no-one following them? Surely the media buyers are wanting to leverage an audience they don’t already have access to? It has to be a mix of the two.

    Whilst you would hope that the best writers attract the biggest audience – its not always the case. In fact it is often not the case.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:47 am
    • @tony – think you’re putting too much emphasis on social media there…

      Media buyers have to look at multiple metrics, esp search.

      Besides, if I was a media buyer (and I’ve written about them in a previous job, so know a fair amount about how they work), I’d be more impressed with someone that performs well in search than one of the circle jerks that copiously retweets their own and everyone else’s rubbish every day.

      Where’s the media value in that? There isn’t…

      August 24, 2011 at 10:19 am
  13. I sit on both sides of this fence… as a part-time digital agency person and a freelance travel writer with a blog….
    I think the only people who need to work out the answer to this question tho are the PR and Digital marketing agencies. And that’s just a case of doing the research. It’s not THAT hard to see what kind of stuff a blogger writes about, whether they are monetizing their blog or not, who their readers are. It just takes time. I agree that bloggers who are looking to monetize should make this clear and develop some kind of rate card or media pack – Heather’s post explains this well. But then it’s down to the PR/Digital agency to do their job and earn their pay from the clients that expect them to know this stuff. To develop networks of appropriate people for their clients to work with and find ways to gauge the value of each blogger in it.
    All too often I’d argue that they don’t.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:20 am
  14. Wow and I thought it was just me and my self-doubts, but suddenly this topic is hot.

    I haven’t even gone so far as getting a domain name exactly because, I don’t want to be a “travel blogger” according to your definition. For a year I’ve been struggling with “to do or not to do.” It has become increasingly clear to me over the last year that “travel blogging” is more to do with marketing and less to do with writing, which is what I thought it was back then. Yet I like writing about “my” island and when I travel. I like to share, and, like Sally, I sometimes rant about stuff which has nothing to do with travel. I’ve always had a resistance to having labels stuck on me, but it seems that online one has to accept being categorized?

    I’ve found that there are some travel blogs I like to read simply because they are written well, and I could read them even if they are about what the writer had for lunch, and there are others with whom I am bored because, well, I might as well read the new Thomson brochure. I’m not getting what I want from a travel blog, which is a unique insight into a place, and some vicarious travel when I’m island-bound.

    As to whether there should be a definition of the label, travel blog, I don’t know. After all, both Dan Brown and William Shakespeare are both called authors.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:14 am
  15. Andy, you invariably manage to start a heated discussion. Does it get lively when you start having a debate with friends and a good cake, in St Albans?

    Personally, tags and definitions don’t really excite me. The travel companies, PR firms and or advertisers you refer to, employ qualified personnel to decide where they will channel their advertising money. A definition wouldn’t really help them, for the reasons Kevin and Linda highlight. They are looking for a good synergy between their product and a website.

    Sadly, it is hard work for these companies. In Karen’s circle of bloggers, Alexa rankings are likely to be artificially high, as bloggers probably have the Alexa toolbar and visit each other’s sites frequently to post “Wow, what a great place. It’s now on my bucket list!” Just as getting lots of followers on Twitter can be achieved by following lots of other members, getting a good Klout score is simply a matter of engaging other social media members all day long, everyday. The certain way I know of finding the financial value of a web partner, is by using tracking codes from adverts / links on that partner’s site or blog and recording the sales generated.


    August 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm
  16. John, my wife forever accuses me of playing Devil’s Advocate, choosing an argument even when I’m in agreement with her.

    I’m glad that the conversation has moved toward the quality of writing rather than labels – a far more interesting topic (thanks Kevin). Although I don’t believe that quality writing automatically reaps the best financial rewards for a blogger. As Karen suggests, choosing material based on search volumes and writing with an awareness of SEO is arguably more important in order to draw the right traffic to appeal to advertisers.

    And then there’s the topic John raises of blogs having artificially high rankings, whether on Alexa or Klout. These tools are incredibly easy to game. Take a look at bloggers’ forums on Facebook and you’ll see groups of bloggers offering mutual reviews for Alexa while other tools allow auto-RTs on Twitter, helping to boost Klout scores while you sleep. PRs and digital agencies who select blogging partners based on these metrics are heading for trouble.

    As for Sally’s “A writerly-person who likes to blather on about stuff in her blog which usually has to do with the country she happens to be living in or visiting… but maybe not… it’s possible she’s just blathering on about cookies”. I say go for it with the business cards – just don’t sign up for a pay per word package!

    August 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm
  17. My immediate reaction to this is why would anyone who was seriously trying to make a living out of writing online want to define themselves as a blogger? 

    I think in many editor’s minds blogger equates to cheap. I imagine in many a publication there’s a convo along the lines of “ahh we don’t have budget for a real writer to do this, let’s just get a blogger to do it, you got anyone’s number?”

    Why on earth would you want to have your number at the top of that list? You want to be the writer they can’t afford!

    From an advertiser’s pov in most cases they want to reach the most appropriate bunch of punters to buy their crap. Sure, the more the better, but they’ll go for fewer if you can prove you’re blogging along a very targetted theme that gets people’s wallets warm. There are some very lucrative niches out there. 

    Lastly, is quality important? Of course it is – and most of the people who bleat that it isn’t tend to be great authorities on poor writing because they produce it on a daily basis – and are often engaged in revenue streams where quality isn’t an issue.

    So call yourself a writer (or a typer!), determine the stream or niche you want to hitch your wagon to and get on with it.

    Apols for the essay – eating alone!

    August 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm
  18. I’m not sure what you were hoping to achieve by doing this. It just seems petty and irrelevant. I mean really- quibbling over who can be called a travel blogger? Why?That’s like fighting over who can be called a knitter- is it the gal who makes booties for the neighbour’s baby or the one who sells scarves on Etsy? I mean, the first one doesn’t even have a business plan! How can she be a knitter if she doesn’t sell the knitting? What if the bootie-knitter actually is a better knitter of the two?

    If a person has a blog…and they travel… and they write about travel… but they’re not interested in selling/SEO/ads so much as just being really good writers who connect with their growing readership, what else should we call what they do? I’m serious.

    I’m bringing this up because I’m apparently no longer a travel blogger because I don’t want to monetize my blog. I have nothing to sell. I love writing.

    I think I’ll call myself a Bootie Knitter.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm
    • Hi MaryAnne and thanks for sharing your thoughts. If the post was meant to label people to judge their writing skills (or blogging skills) in some way then I agree it would be petty and irrelevant. That was certainly not the aim. I wanted to highlight precisely the fact that the label ‘travel blogger’ is used to cover so many people who blog for so many motives. Yet there are differences in how/why many of us and it’s those differences that mean that a PR or ad agency needs to differentiate beyond the broad term ‘travel blogger’. Many don’t, and as a result the industry as a whole is still not working with bloggers as it could be doing.
      If discussing this topic at least helps to raise awareness of the many different skills, interests and business models of those who go under the broad label travel blogger and helps those who seek to engage with bloggers to look closely at what each type of blogger can offer them then it’s not a waste of hot air.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm
  19. pam #

    @Andy: I’m curious about this way you’re being approached that applies to (supposedly) 90% of the bloggers out there.

    @Stuart: When I’m feelng contrarian (often) I like to reclaim the term blogger. See, a blog is just a format. It’s just like any product. You can get shoes for 15 dollars or 500, cheap is the buyer’s choice and you get what you pay for. Just because I have a blog doesn’t mean I’m cheap.

    @Kevin: I love your rant-o-rama.

    I have this idea that PR folks looking to work with bloggers might inquire as to the how and why of what the blogger is doing. How did you build your audience? Why do you write a blog? What do you use social media for? It’s sort of like looking for replicants. (Blade Runner was on TV last night.) It’s a lot more complicated than just picking the top numbers of the Klout list.

    The ideal is a combination of stats and quality. I suspect the tendency is to screen for stats first and then for quality. Inverting that equation would change everything, but it’s a lot harder and a lot more subjective.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm
    • Pam, the 90% relates to the model of monetising a site through ad, links, affiliate sales etc.; the standard bloggy stuff. The approaches therefore go along the lines of ‘can I write a guest post for you?’, ‘how much for a text link on your site?’ and ‘hey, we have a great new competition. Your readers will love it!’ My 90% is a guess but from where I’m standing those are the type of approaches that might be a business opportunity to a large majority of bloggers. Feel free to disagree

      August 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm
      • pam #

        I ALWAYS feel free to disagree, but thanks. :)

        Though on this I think you might be right. Anectodally, I hear that the folks making bank are doing so selling context links (meaning, inline, in the post) or taking sponsored posts.

        I have an autoreply set for those inquiries, I get so many of them. They must work, right? They’re like spam, you only need few takers to make it worth while.

        I NEVER get follow up inquiries to my guest post requirements from advertisers. Essentially, my answer is yeah, you can buy a guest post. Write me a compelling narrative with two links in it, I will charge you way too much money to run it. If you want to pay me a lot of money to put content I find is interesting in front of my users, I’m happy to let you,

        But mostly, they want to pay me hardly any money at all to junk up my site. No.

        August 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm
  20. Thanks again for the many comments and lively discussion that my rather clumsy post has generated. As MaryAnne, Maria, Erik, Sally and others have articulately stated no-one should be imposing labels (or in fact withholding them) – that was not my aim with this post. I wanted to approach this from the other side – from the point of view of those who want to work with bloggers and who contact them with business propositions. For them it is important to be able to clearly differentiate between the many ways in which those who maintain a travel blog operate – it is for this purpose that I feel some form of classification would be helpful.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:30 am
  21. It’s so strange… blogging started out as a really democratic way for those who loved to travel/write about travel to share those experiences with a wider audience. It was a reaction against traditional guidebooks, traditional “tourist travel” and I don’t *think* it was that money-orientated.

    Obviously times have changed, but to be honest, as long as the content’s good/useful/helpful/funny I don’t see that it matters too much whether someone writes on a blog, a webiste, a – ahem – “media portal” or whatever they fancy calling it.

    Good debate Andy :)

    August 25, 2011 at 10:32 am
  22. Andy, I can see exactly where you are comming from and what you are trying to put across, but I think if you are trying to have a “clear definition” you’ve just overcomplicated it – and started a heated discussion which was the REAL purpose of your article. 😉

    Blog = web log, so if you keep a web log on your travels, you are a travel blogger. The difference between “I play football” and “I am a footballer” is not as distinct as “I blog” and “I am a blogger”. I’ll join Pam on “A travel blogger is someone who has a blog about travel, that’s really about it”.

    The fact that footballer, dancer, painter, writer, etc. are recognised as professions does not imply to blogging, which has been developed as something you do like keeping a diary. If there is to have a “clear definition” then we should use a clear term: “professional travel blogger”. This goes along with what Karren described as someone with “a business orientated travel blog is trying to provide information on topics for which there are many searches vs writing about what interests the author or personal reports of the most recent press trip”.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:37 am
  23. When my Travel Rants head is on I call myself a blogger and in my own eyes (I don’t care what other people think) it has become a successful blog BUT 95% of readers (survey undertaken in the local pub on five people) have no clue what a blog is. When people visit Travel Rants they find the page on Google for a given search term, find the information they want and leave (sometimes they will comment but this only equates to 5% of people visiting).

    Having a blog makes getting media attention and links much easier, probably even more easier for me because of the negativity of my content. The media like to mention blogs and quote bloggers, so for this reason – I have a blog, and I’m a blogger – my readers don’t care.

    The problem for me with the term ‘blog’ and ‘bloggers’ is that PR/SEO etc agencies think that you will publish a sponsored post, text link ad for $5 for lifetime. In other words they think bloggers are CHEAP and I am afraid to say, a lot are. I cringe when I see some of the sponsored content out there, I really do, and I think it has got to the point where people don’t take bloggers seriously. I think it is a huge shame.

    This is why when I have the My Life in Leeds head on and approach local businesses I am the editor/owner. I want them to take me seriously, and that I have writers who want to write quality content. To recap I think ‘blog’ / ‘blogger’ are just words and people shouldn’t get so hung up on them, but, I do think that if you are trying to make money from your content, you want to be taken seriously.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm
  24. Great read Andy. I’ll keep it short here as you’ve sort of hit it right there in the ‘thinking’ department for many people. Personally, I’d ask everyone – Do you write for your readers or do you write for the PR company? – Now if only the rest of the ‘travel bloggers’ and ‘PR’ from around read this article.

    August 27, 2011 at 7:54 am
    • @david – another element if your question is whether people write for themselves. Judging by the quality of some travel blogs, I would suspect quite a few.

      PR agencies would never support some of rubbish out there, and readers quickly move on from crap sites.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm
  25. That definition certainly, and realistically, narrows the field right down to a very short single-file.

    August 28, 2011 at 8:18 am
  26. I don’t have a travel blog, I’m managing a corporate travel blog for which I write and manage the publishing plan. BUT I write also for other travel blogs.The majority of the bloggers I write for have become friends,

    So when a brand (or a PR agency) approaches me I usually fix some sort of cooperation, engaging the blogger that I may find suitable for the sponsor’s goal achievements.

    Actually, my question is, what am I?

    September 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm
  27. I have been doing what I do for nearly five years now, three of which I didn’t make a penny. However, I’ve never referred to myself as a travel blogger. I’m a travel writer, pure and simple. And the day we all stop referring to ourselves as bloggers is the day we will begin to garner respect from “traditional travel writers,” many of whom disparage the term and use it against us to imply less than professional ability.

    September 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm
  28. Hal Peat #

    No, the definition doesn’t matter, why should it? Also, considering that those who consider themselves to be the pre-eminent travelbloggerati are also usually among the first to proclaim the mantra of “anyone can do anything”, “all media is equal”, and “raw content is the only authentic content and equal to edited content”, doesn’t leave much room if any for claiming that there are any valid criteria involved here.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:22 am


  1. unbrave girl | By Any Other Name: Why I Call Myself A Writer - October 21, 2011

    […] I read a blog post entitled, “Why we need a clear definition of a travel blogger.” In the article, the author defined a travel blogger as “someone whose main income-generating […]