Motivated to start her blog after giving birth to her son, Ting Dalton uses My Travel Monkey to inform her readers of the best family attractions and holiday packages. Currently serving as the chief sub-editor on one of Britain’s biggest-selling magazines, Ting leads a busy life, but that hasn’t stopped her travelling to top holiday destinations like Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. In this spotlight Ting chats to us about why she wants to use her blog to prove that you can still have fun on holiday if you have young children, how she forms good relationships with PRs, and why she wants to face her fears by creating video content.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? The focus of My Travel Monkey is to show parents that having children doesn’t mean you have to stop travelling. Not only do I share the adventures that we get up to as a family, whether it’s to far flung destinations or even just a day trip to the seaside, my aim is prove that you can have fun together no matter how small your children are. I’d like to think that my chatty writing style and honest reviews help people make an informed decision about where they would like to go. And hope that my bright photographs inspire others to get out and explore.
How do you measure the success of your website? I would be lying if I said that stats and page views didn’t matter to me but they do. It’s pretty spectacular when you write a post and it’s shared lots of times and people are really engaging with it. I have also been overwhelmed this year with the amount of nominations and shortlists I’ve had for various blogging awards. Of course, finding out I’m in Vuelio’s Top 10 family travel ranking this month has been a complete surprise – but I am delighted. The most important thing though, is if I can help anyone feel more confident about travelling with their children.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Write about what you are passionate about. Readers are very savvy these days and know if you’re only writing about a subject for the sake of it. Be prepared to work hard and consistently. It’s not about just writing posts, you have to be social media savvy, too, edit photos, never switch off. And enjoy it. The blogging community can be a wonderful group to be part of – travel bloggers in particular are very supportive of one another and I always learn so much from my peers. My life has changed since I started My Travel Monkey over two years ago…
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I try to form a good relationship with all PRs that contact me and who I work with. They are fantastic resource into working with great brands. Be open and honest with them about what you can and can’t do, I think they appreciate it in the long run.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? This is the most time-consuming of all my work. And one I find difficult to keep up with. I always find that once I get to grip with something, then they bring out something new – for instance Instagram Stories is now a big thing and I am still unsure of how to use it best. I haven’t even joined Snapchat! I use several scheduling tools including evergreen and co-schedule to promote my posts which saves me a lot of time. Meanwhile, I am really trying to concentrate on Pinterest at the moment – when I can find the time!
What can PRs do in working better with you? As a journalist, I am often shocked by how little value some PRs think my time is worth. I have a day job, so anything I do for the blog is in my spare time – which means I often work late into the night. It’s also annoying when PRs don’t even read the blog or even find out my name. Most, however, are super lovely and do find the time to find out more about me first!
What has been your blogging highlight? That’s a tough question – there have been so many. I’d have to say seeing the Northern Lights twice earlier this year in Iceland was a definite highlight.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? For me, it’s moving My Travel Monkey onto a different path – I can’t say much at the moment as it’s a work in progress but suffice to say I want to be able to dedicate all my time to it. I also want to man up and try more videos – which is an important tool for brands and advertisers. I’m not a big fan of being in front of the camera so this is a big deal for me – I’m slowly working my way up to it. Watch this space!