Running a travel blog – Kate Els (IndiKate.net)

My second time that I get to profile a travel blogger making a mark for herself in the travel industry. Blogging is gaining momentum in South Africa and opening up a lot of opportunities from writers to share their talent. As a result many businesses now make use of bloggers to reach out to a captive audience of dedicated readers who follow blogs of their particular interest.

The travel industry is blessed with a growing supply of travel bloggers who showcase tourism products and destinations on a regular basis. Today the spotlight falls on Kate Els, who runs IndiKate and whom I’ve known since her early years at NowMedia where she was a travel journalist, then a short spell at Hotel & Restaurant before joining to South African Tourism. She has now gone solo to become a freelance writer and blogger, let’s find out why she loves blogging…

Describe your travel blog and niche is it targeting?

My blog is a mix of lifestyle elements that interest me, such as food & wine, health & wellness and travel. It speaks largely to independent travellers who are looking for something different to do when they travel and in time will include a lot more international content than just the current South African features.

What inspired the creation of your travel blog?

I started blogging for work a few years ago and really enjoyed the reaction that my writing got. I’ve also always been known to recommend hotels, destinations and restaurants amongst my friends and family so it’s great to have an online repository where I can store all these together.

IndiKate.net - Just a girl who likes travel

IndiKate.net – Just a girl who likes travel

How is your blog monetized?

My blog currently doesn’t make any money, but has opened up a few opportunities that will hopefully in time lead to revenue. It does give me a great angle to include in my other freelance pitches though.

What challenges do you encounter running a travel blog?

It’s often difficult to decide what readers will find interesting and it’s quite  difficult  to be disciplined about posting often enough to hold interest. There’s also a lot of competition from other blogs that aren’t particularly good, but still pull eyes away from the few South African travel blogs that are great.

Is your travel blog a hobby or business and why?

It definitely started as a hobby, but as a freelance writer, I can see potential for it growing into something bigger. Although truthfully, I’m really not sure it could ever support me in entirety.

How is content for your travel blog generated?

I write about a lot of the experiences I’ve been through and also use my own photos. These are a mix of my own holidays as well as work trips that involve some item of interest. I don’t write about everything I do and everywhere I stay, just the exceptional experiences.

What major milestones has your travel blog achieved in recent years that make you proud?

I’ve only been running this blog for a few months after consolidating a few of my individual blogs, but recently the growth in traffic and recognition from other bloggers has been a great motivator to keep going.

What content format is your travel blog mostly using and why?

I mostly write posts between 500 and 1000 words and include four to five big images, but I’m looking to include video as soon as I get better with it.

How is your travel blog promoted on social media and which platforms attract best results?

I post each of my posts a few times in the days following their publishing across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Facebook still pulls the biggest results right now, but I’m experimenting with Bloglovin’ and Google+ to see if they’re worth keeping up.

Can you share one failure that you have experienced running a travel blog and what lesson did you learn?

Although not really a failure, I wish I had started sooner. The lesson really is to just get going and not worry about making it perfect from the get go.

Are you involved in any collaboration projects with other travel bloggers?

I work on a curated Twitter account with Merushcka from Mzansigirl.com and Heather from 2Summers.com, but that’s a project we’ve just taken on. I’ve also been involved with organising the MeetSouthAfrica trips and the selection of local and international bloggers that attend. I’m working on a couple of other ideas right now, but nothing I can reveal just yet!

What is your pet peeve about travel blogging and why?

There are so many mediocre bloggers out there who really just seem to be looking for freebies . There is also very little understanding of developing a niche for your blog. If you’re looking to appeal to a certain audience, then cover the things that audience would like, not just any item that comes your way.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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