Planning a long ride and thinking of journaling as you go along? Here’s what you need to build a successful ADV blog.
Find Your Niche
Lots of people are riding round the world these days, so the mere fact that you’re on the road isn’t that novel any longer. This means that to build a successful ADV blog, you need to stand out in some way. Ed March stands out because he’s hilarious, Lea Rieck has stunning photography, whereas Michnus and Elsebie have some great information and travel tips. What about you? How are you unique? What can you offer your readers that’s exclusive and exceptional? Define your niche, and then stick to it.
Have a Great Story
Once you’ve found your niche, think about your own story. Who are you? Why would people care about you? Personal stories are all the rage these days, and there’s a reason for that: humans love connecting on a human level. So be as real and authentic as you can: corporate facelessness is a thing of the past.
Define Your Goals
To build a successful ADV blog, you first need to define what success means to you. Do you want to earn some money from your writing? Get sponsored? Share your experiences with an enchanted audience? Simply give back to the community? Defining your goal will help you narrow your focus and work towards it.
Attract Your Tribe
Whatever your niche and your goals, there are people out there who will love it – you just need to find them. Be active on social media, post regularly, keep your people up to date, and see your audience grow.
Speaking of regularity: there’s nothing worse than posting a burst of blog entries, then disappearing for weeks or even months. Consistency is key, so create an archive of a least 10-12 blog posts before you even launch your site and schedule them in advance. That way, you’ll always keep your audience happy!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is now king: if Google isn’t ranking you, you can be posting the best content on Earth – and nobody will read it. There are plenty of online SEO tutorials and courses available, so there’s no excuse to be lazy. Figure it out and grow your traffic organically!
Another great way to get discovered by readers is collaborating with other bloggers. Reach out to your favorite writers and see if you can collaborate on a piece, do reviews of each other’s work, or exchange posts and links.
What can seriously boost your blog numbers is links from well-established adventure motorcycle publications (yep, exactly like this one!). Make a list of your favorite ADV mags and pitch a story to them: you might get published, and they might link to your blog, too, bringing you new traffic.
Become an Expert
Nowadays, people read online mainly because they want to learn something new. You need to become the person who can teach them something, and to do that, you need to be an authority in your field – even if that field is telling silly bike jokes. This ties in with your chosen niche: is it budget travel? Sneaky ways to stealth camp? Creative bike builds? Whatever it is, become and expert in it and make people believe in you and trust you.
A successful ADV blog needs to offer people value. In addition to a defined niche and a great personal story, you need to give people something. It can be free GPX file downloads, tips on best routes in Central Asia, advice about camping or border crossings, or it can be something completely different like pure entertainment, storytelling, or inspiration. Whichever you choose, make sure you deliver instant value to your readers – for free.
I’d already mentioned social media, but it’s a little more than just a bunch of free platforms to attract readers and build your tribe. Social media is where you need to actively engage with your readers, keep them hooked, answer their questions and just generally be there for them. This goes not just to your personal profile and page, but also to community groups and pages.
Keep Things Simple
Don’t try and come off smarter than you actually are. Use simple words, don’t go overboard with fancy website themes, and don’t post long walls of text. Simplicity is beautiful, functional and elegant – there’s no need to clog your content and visuals with unnecessary excess.
Always Be Honest
In addition to keeping this simple, you also need to be honest. Don’t pretty up your fuckupery, don’t hide your mishaps and misfortunes, and don’t photoshop spills out. Being real is what people value the most, because it’s our failures that teach us the most – so don’t build a pretty but shallow facade, build honesty and trust.