Thinking of starting your own ADV blog or social media account? Whether your reason for doing so is a personal motorcycle diary, a way to keep friends and loved ones in the loop while you’re traveling, or simply sharing your adventures with a bigger audience, blogging can be an awesome way to document your travels. If you’re not sure where to start or what to focus on, however, here are some pointers to help out:
Macro vs Micro
The way we create and consume media changes so rapidly it’s sometimes hard to make heads or tails of what’s going on. Blogging used to be about long-form, written posts; now, blogging can also take a video form, photo essay-style content, or, if aimed primarily at social media, be done in micro-posts. In many ways, an Instagram account can be a micro-blog: it’s not just about images anymore. If you post longer, interesting captions, each Insta post may serve as micro-blog post. There are no strict formats or formulas any longer – do whatever feels right, and it’s also possible to combine several platforms if you have the time and the capacity to do it. You can run a traditional blog and a YouTube channel, or have a Facebook page combined with daily Instagram posts; you can blog right here on ADV Rider and boost the exposure via social media – sky’s the limit. The common mistake, though, is to try and do it all. If you’re on the road and you’re thinking of starting a blog, that’s already a big commitment. If you’re going to also vlog, post on social, and keep up with forums, this will take up a massive amount of time and energy, and often, when you try to do too much too fast, there’s a burnout lurking around the next corner.
The best strategy is to pick just one or two platforms and direct all your efforts there. For example, blog and an Instagram account, a YouTube channel and an ADV Rider thread, a Facebook page and a blog – this way, you’ll be able to focus on quality content and deliver consistently rather than spreading yourself out too thin and not achieving anything at all.
Once you’ve decided on the platforms you’re going to use, it’s time to figure out your angle. Adventure riding, whether it’s domestic or RTW, is an inherently exciting undertaking, but in terms of blogging and social media exposure, the story has already been told over and over again. Rider X traveling from A to B aboard a GS-Or-Similar is no longer news; while there is a certain appeal to traditional ride reports, if you’re hoping to stand out from the rest, you’ve got to find a unique angle to your story. This can be done in two ways: either play on your strengths or shift focus.
Playing on your strengths means you’re leveraging some unique skill you possess. If you’re an extraordinary photographer, your images can be the angle; if you have exceptional off-road skills and regularly take your 1200cc adventure bike over hard enduro trails or dune racing, that’s something that will make you stand out. Your bike itself can also be the angle – if you’re attempting to ride the TAT (or the world) on a monkey bike, for example, that’s an excellent hook into your story.
If you’re just a regular guy or gal riding a regular bike taking a fairly well-trodden route, a good way of making your story stand out is zooming in. Storytelling is all about the hook; if you’re simply reporting what you had for breakfast and whether it rained on the day you left for Mexico, that’s perhaps not the most riveting content. But if you shift focus on to something else – a lovely Mexican family who hosted you for a couple of nights in Baja, a particularly nasty sand section you barely managed, a border crossing official who surprised you with kindness – then, you suddenly have a unique story to tell. Instead of painstakingly detailing every mile, direct the focus at events, people, or places that had the biggest impact.
Finally, there’s always the educational or informational angle. People always appreciate up-to-date information on routes, border crossings, gear, bike shipping, and the like; perhaps you can provide good, solid information or educate other riders on route difficulty or cultural quirks. Be useful, and you’ll be appreciated.
Planning and Scheduling
Now that you have your platform and angle all figured out, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and start creating the content. And that’s where most people get stuck: they produce a few blog and social media posts, and then, if the ride had been uneventful for a week or if they’d been stuck, they suddenly rn out of ideas or simply the energy to keep creating the content. A few weeks go by, and now you’re severely behind; trying to catch up feels tedious, and this is where most people simply give up. Don’t fall into this trap and schedule content ahead. Before you publish anything, have at least 6-8 content pieces already pre-written (or pre-shot, whatever the case may be), then schedule them ahead. This way, you’ll stay consistent and have plenty of time to keep creating the content and never fall behind.
Are you considering becoming an ADV blogger? What ADV blogs, vlogs, and social media accounts do you follow and why? Share in the comments below!