Nichola West is a freelance writer who felt inspired to create Globalmouse Travels to document her family holidays with her three young children and her husband. Rather than taking the predictable tourist route, Nichola uses her blog to uncover destinations off the beaten track like finding a chocolate museum in the middle of Havana, taking a husky dog sled ride through the thick snow in Lapland and riding Icelandic horses in the shadow of a volcano. Fresh from being announced as our number one family travel blogger in our ranking, Nichola chats to us about building relationships with brands, why producing quality output is more important than quantity, and what it was like seeing her blog featured in both the Telegraph and the Guardian.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? We feature a whole range of travel from UK day trips to European weekends away and long haul trips to places as diverse as Russia, The Cook Islands and Vietnam. We love to get off the beaten track and always seek out quirky or unusual places to visit with kids.
How do you measure the success of your website? My success is measured by the number of people coming to me for advice on how to travel with children. I love it when readers book somewhere we stayed or take part in a particular tour or experience and then get back in touch to say how much they loved it. For me audience is everything.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? I would say be prepared for long nights and for never being able to properly switch off. I say that every holiday is work now, but equally work is a holiday so you have to really love and be passionate about the subject you’re blogging about. I travelled so much before starting a blog, it was in my blood and so writing about family travel daily is a wonderful job.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I have built up great relationships with some brands who work with us every year but equally I work on one-off campaigns for particular destinations or travel brands. It really depends but I think building a relationship is really important.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? Social media is the biggest time consumer – it is always evolving and sometimes it feels like a huge task just to keep up with the changes. I’ve decided to focus on Instagram which I get lots of engagement from and genuinely enjoy photography so it feels more of a natural fit, and spend less time on something like Snapchat. I’ve realised I can’t do everything and do it well so it’s important for me to produce quality output rather than lots that I’m less happy with. I use twitter to promote trips I’m on but also to re-promote posts, sometimes from three years ago to get new eyes on them.
What can PRs do in working better with you? I would love to be better prepared when I go to a destination with hashtags, twitter and Instagram handles etc to use. I always mean to collect these all before I go but I put so much time into researching a trip that I’m often looking for these details once a visit is underway so it would be great when working with PRs if they would send the handles and hashtags with the final confirmation, it helps so much.
What has been your blogging highlight? Probably seeing my blog in print in the Telegraph and the Guardian – having the mainstream press looking for comment and advice based on my work on Globalmouse is particularly rewarding. Also attending the launch of P&O’s Britannia ship was a highlight as P&O is one of the companies I have built a great relationship with so it was wonderful to be asked to attend.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? We’re travelling through Vietnam at the moment which is really interesting and I’m looking forward to my nine-year-old cooking me up the vegan banh mi and caramelised banana spring rolls he learnt to make in a cookery class in Ho Chi Minh. We’re getting out to Greece later in the year and skiing in Slovenia as soon as the season for snow kicks in. Travels aside I’ve got a number of meetings planned for potential collaborations into 2017 so I’m looking forward to trying to get more organised with our travels and book trips in as far in advance as I can. I’m always excited about what’s around the corner because you never know where the next adventure could take you.