Shivya Nath currently makes her living as a professional travel blogger. 3 years ago, Shivya gave up her apartment, sold most of her belongings, and embraced a nomadic life – working on the go as she traveled around the world. The Shooting Star, award-winning blog of this travel blogger and her social media channels are home to her adventures – and enables her to work virtually with relevant companies as Shivya travels around the world. Digital marketing is at the very core of what she does.
How did you decide to become a travel blogger? Was it a thoughtful choice behind setting-up ‘The Shooting Star’?
Shivya: I kept several personal blogs through college and while I worked as a social media strategist at the Singapore Tourism Board – simply because I loved blogging, writing and social media. When I decided to quit my job in 2011 and experiment with other passions, of which travel was one, I decided to rejig my then dormant blog, The Shooting Star, with a travel focus. Back then, I knew nobody who was making a living through blogging alone, and I didn’t expect to make one either. Travel blogging for me was just a means to share lesser-known stories and adventures from the road, and it gradually developed into my personal portfolio to score freelance writing and social media jobs.
If you were to list top 5 reasons for your success as a travel blogger, what would those be?
Insatiable love for travel and writing:
If no one ever read my blog or paid for my work, I would still travel to the kind of places I do, and write about them.
Staying true to my audience:
I know that many of my readers plan their annual holidays based on my recommendations; I would never recommend something I didn’t truly love.
Focus on social media engagement:
After travel and blogging, social media is my biggest passion, and it’s not just about the numbers for me; it’s about building a genuine connection with my audience.
There is so much clutter out there on the internet; why should anyone read my blog? That’s the one thing I keep in mind with every single post on social media and The Shooting Star.
Love it or hate it, it matters.
How does it feel to be recognized with valuable titles in the travel blogging industry such as ‘India’s Best Travel Blogger by Vogue India?
Shivya: These little moments of fame are great for an adrenaline burst, but I think what really keeps me going is hearing from my readers on how they are following in my footsteps – especially in the way they choose to travel, and live!
How do you keep yourself updated on the latest trends about travel blogging? Which are the top travel-based sites and blogs you visit every day?
Shivya: I love reading social media content on Mashable, as well as follow Facebook groups where new trends and blogging developments are discussed.
You have been a full-time, location independent travel blogger for 3 years now. What are your suggestions to the newbies who are looking at building a career in travel blogging?
Shivya: Here are few suggestions:
- Do it because you genuinely love traveling and blogging. Becoming a professional travel blogger can demand more of you than a 9-to-5 job, and the only way to emerge successful and happy is if you truly love it.
- I wrote about how to get started travel blogging here, as well as alternative ways to make money while travelling (if blogging doesn’t seem to be your thing).
Please share top mistakes you’ve learnt from your journey as a Blogger.
Shivya: Working for free! Plenty of companies, especially in India, will make you offers in exchange for exposure, free travel or petty money. I think it took me too long to realize that if I don’t value my work as a blogger and learn to walk away, I’ll never ‘make’ it. You need to know when to start saying no.
Blogging to make money attracts a lot of youngsters these days. What’s your advice to those people? According to you, what are the top mistakes to avoid when they choose blogging as a medium to make money?
Shivya: Know that your blog might not make money for the first few months, even years. Especially in travel blogging, besides selling links and ads which don’t add up to much, you might not see any real income rolling in until you’ve built a real audience – and that will happen only if you genuinely love traveling, have a knack for writing or photography, and are willing to commit to it.
Blogging is increasingly becoming competitive. Do you think it will be a good choice for newbies to opt for travel blogging in 2016 and further?
Shivya: Absolutely. I think the travel blogging ecosystem is still evolving, and there’s a lot of space for new bloggers to bring in their unique traveling and writing styles to inspire a growing community of independent travellers in India.
What are your future plans? How do you plan to leverage your existing success as a Blogger?
Shivya: I hate planning for the future 😉 For now, I’m enjoying my digital nomad life on the shores of a pristine volcanic lake in Guatemala. But I gave a TEDx talk about my life as a travel blogger at a university in Delhi recently, and feel like the idea of an unconventional life needs to brought to more schools and colleges in India; I hope to connect with more students and aspiring travellers / bloggers through talks and travel meetups when I’m back in India.
Digital Vidya is ranked one of the top 10 marketing blogs by SEJ. Would you like to share a few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Although I’ve never had a chance to attend a Digital Vidya workshop, it seems like a promising way to tune in to the world of blogging and digital marketing.
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