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The Importance of Traveling Across to Other Niches


A couple weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Problogger Training Event in Melbourne. It was a couple of days of fun with old and new blogging friends, as well as blog tips, monetization advice, and networking.

Problogger Conference

Problogger Conference

I can honestly say it was just what I needed.

After being frustrated the entire month of September, seeing updates from hundreds of travel bloggers living it up in Europe at TBU and TBEX, and after feeling like I was constantly in a perpetual state of “catching up”, I was almost at a breaking point with my sites and work. The old juggling several projects at once, just trying to keep the balls from dropping, seems to get to me cyclically.

See. I get frustrated with my blogging life, too. It’s a job. It’s a challenge, right?

In times like this, you either need a vacation or you need a little motivation. (Yes, I travel a lot, but if you’re trying to write on top of that travel, it’s not so much a vacation. My Silk Roadistan Tour was taxing on the old noggin.)

So, like I said, the Problogger conference was just the pep talk that I needed (and from someone other than my boyfriend who really knows nothing about blogging). Besides that, I think my favorite part of the whole event was just the fact that it involved any blogging niche under the sun. Wow! Now that made for one interesting conference!

See, the travel blogging conferences rock.

They really do — but they are but one niche. And, niches tend to get stuck in their own niche, spinning ideas with their own minds until they end up all looking alike and with some potential downfalls in the long run. It can be a little incestuous, for lack of words. At Problogger, we had the best of the best in all niches — fashion, hair, travel, design, marketing, craft — giving really inspirational talks about what has worked for them. I got ideas. I got real ideas.

problogger networking

Networking at Problogger

Seeing what has worked for other bloggers and niches makes my mind scream with delight.

How can I do something like that in the travel niche? How can I turn that strategy into something that works for me? Through dimension building in your blogging and business, reaching beyond the straight-up travel niche offers real benefits.

Plus, networking with any type of blogger can lead you to opportunities you never imagined. What if person X is given a campaign to work on, but the PR person asks them for recommendations. Person X, knowing you would be a good fit, recommends YOU. It’s a very connected world these days, and the more you connect, the more you will probably do.

I know the importance and power of having a strong niche blog.

But offering up depth of knowledge and depth of person can actually help people better understand where you’re coming from and what you have to give. It helps a blog to stay interesting, and let’s face it, it helps you to stay interested in your blog as well.

A couple of months ago, I came to the realization that I had nothing to offer people in normal conversations and meetings. It wasn’t until the topic of travel came up that I could shine, carrying on for as long as necessary without the blink of an eye. I mean, travel is what I do. What was once my hobby is now my job… and hobby… and every word typed every day most likely involves taking trips.

It was an eye-opening moment for me to see how one-dimensional life has become, and it wasn’t just me having those thoughts. One day on Facebook, another travel blogger was asking which hobbies he could take up so he could have more non-travel stuff to talk about with “normals”. Yep, he felt it, too!

conference attendees

Conference attendees

With travel, it is SO EASY to isolate yourself to the niche. Not only do you push it all day with blogging and social media, but long trips overseas are physically isolating for days, weeks or months on end. Seriously. Being actively involved in the travel blogging niche might be the most difficult. In order to write good stories, you have to travel, but when you travel, you disconnect yourself from so much normalcy, routines, family, friends, life, home, and all the other stuff that is relevant to 99% of the world.

(Read my post on non-travel life musings.)

And for that reason, I especially think it is important to travel across niches, whether that be at networking events like Problogger, or just by reading non-travel (or your niche) blogs regularly.

How do you feel about niches? Do you think it is smart to target only those events/activities directly related to a niche, or does spreading yourself around get the job done better?


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13 Responses to The Importance of Traveling Across to Other Niches

  1. Johanna @ The Zigazag Mag October 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Enjoyed this post …Some good points Brooke. I agree, you can become stale if you only connect with others in your niche, and the other thing that happens is that you begin to compare and contrast … which in my case always ends up in a downwards confidence spiral! Crossing niches and interacting with others across a whole spectrum of subjects is much more interesting and always throws up lots of ideas that can be applied to travel blogging too.

    • Brooke October 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Oh yes, comparing yourself to others is a recipe for mental disaster! I’m guilty of this more than I’d like to be. Thanks for stopping by Johanna!

  2. Craig October 26, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I think of all the niches out there, blogging about traveling has to be the most time consuming. It’s not as simple as doing a bit of research, reading a few articles and then crafting your own article about the subject; you actually have to go out and DO the activity. And then, while you’re traveling, you’re constantly thinking about taking great pictures, taking notes, thinking of funny stories for your blog and it starts to feel a little too much like work. Ultimately you end up needing a vacation from your traveling (all the while wondering if your vacation would make a great write up lol). It can be so taxing! I think making time for yourself, for a new hobby and meeting people outside of your niche is a breath of fresh air. It recharges you, gives you new ideas and can rekindle your passion for your niche.

    • Brooke October 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Exactly, Craig! Why I chose this niche… well I know why, but damn, I wish I had done something more like food blogging 😉 Travel blogging is very intensive!

  3. Ashley of Ashley Abroad October 26, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I really liked this article. I actually feel like I need more hobbies outside of travel too – it kind of seems like my whole life revolves around travel blogging these days. My favorite things are to write, read, take photos, eat good food, travel and meet people – all of which relate right back to travel blogging!

    I don’t know much about niches yet, but it does seem smart to do what you did and study what other niches are doing right. I would love to attend a conference like that!

    • Brooke October 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      Yep, it’s been a big focus for the past month or so to try and do things that aren’t travel related. I’ve been cooking more and looking at new recipes, which has opened up another world beyond just travel. Have actually been experimenting with a vegan lifestyle because of it. Have been reading a lot of crime/thriller books. Also, been doing a bit of knitting, which is new for me 😉 That’s good because it just forces me to be off the computer completely! You need to do some non travel blogging things or else you will start to feel burnt out… fact.

      • JoAnna October 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

        Any chance you’re on Goodreads, Brooke? That’s one place where I like to interact with others regarding another one of my interests: reading.

        • Brooke October 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

          I’m not on it, unfortunately. I’m like the slowest book reader in the world, haha 🙂

  4. Caz Makepeace October 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Completely agree Brooke! Starting Mojito Mother was a really good move for me,(If I may say so!)
    Not only is it a great place for me to write about my non-travel stuff (and get a break) I have also made so many great connections across the blogosphere. It is so awesome to get fresh ideas and advice from those doing different things

    • Brooke October 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks Caz 🙂 I think a lot of people find it hard, too, to not be able to talk about things on their blogs because they have to focus on their one niche. And only focusing on the travel niche has meant that it’s getting to the point where I’ve read the same type of article on 20 different blogs over the years. I don’t like feeling disinterested in something that normally would have caused me so much excitement. Breaks are necessary!

  5. JoAnna October 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    You said it, Brooke. For almost a year now, I’ve found myself pulling away from the travel blogging industry. I felt like it was the same old stuff, over and over again, and I also believe the niche is very incestuous. I also find it very petty in a lot of ways, and I felt like I was suffocating by being surrounded by other travel bloggers. To give myself a break, I joined some general blogging groups, started a blog totally unrelated to travel and began attending other conferences way outside of the travel blogging niche in order to gain insight on blogging in general and small business management, both of which offer helpful information in regard to travel blogging but in a completely different way.

    At the more general blogging conferences, my world blew totally open. There is so much to be learned by interacting with bloggers in other niches. I walked away from those conferences with ideas that had never even entered my mind before. I began to think of my blog more in a business sense, which is giving me the power to harness its true capabilities.

    I still distance myself from the niche as a whole, and I’ve chosen to follow only a few travel bloggers that I trust and believe are ethically sound, interesting people. I work on a small scale, partnering with some of these people, but I’m starting to focus more of my energy on looking at my place in the greater blogosphere outside of the niche my blog is placed in.

    • Brooke October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      JoAnna! I had to read to your comment to my boyfriend, to which he replied, “Did you go and write a comment about yourself on your post?” Uhm… everything you said is exactly what I’ve been dealing with. I’ve also started another blog – just for fun – that has NOTHING to do with travel because I felt like I needed to focus on looking outside this niche a bit more. I don’t really have much time for another site, but it has been nice to see what non-travel people are interested in 😉 I also walked away from Problogger with a much different set of ideas than when I went to TBU in April – it was great like I said, but more ideas need to be filtering through travel for sure! I did just hear that Oliver is going to start a section of his conference where folks outside of travel come in and talk, which sounds really great.

      And, I’ve been getting some business advice and hopefully this whole shebang will transform into something where I’m not constantly drowning.

      PS, I saw your update on one of the FB groups and thought it was solid truth.

      • JoAnna October 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

        If the comment you are referring to in your comment is the one I think it was, then you might find this interesting. I dropped out of those FB groups a long time ago (about a year ago) because they felt nasty and biting to me. After I attended these other blogging conferences, I thought I had something to offer that could help grow the travel blogging niche. The resulting conversation in the group left me feeling otherwise, and I’ve since dropped out again.

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