Kach Medina and Jonathan Howe are bloggers on-the-go who each decided to quit their jobs and set off around South East Asia to start a sustainable travel lifestyle blog, Two Monkeys Travel. Sounds ideal but difficult to implement? In this interview, Kach and Jon tell us how they did it, how other travellers contribute in making their blog more than just a personal travel journal, working with brand marketers to fund their goal and more.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? We’re a traveling couple from the UK and Philippines promoting a sustainable travel lifestyle. By ‘sustainable travel lifestyle’ we mean finding long-term solutions to travel the world by learning new skills which allow us to earn money in any country we visit. So far these include; teaching English, Yoga, Ayurveda massage and our own travel website – Two Monkeys Travel.
What makes us different is that we don’t just talk about ourselves and our own travels. We are striving to create a community travel blog, which provides an outlet for fellow travellers to write about their travels by becoming Two Monkeys Travel Writers, so that we can provide great travel guides and experiences from different perspectives, all over the world!
How do you measure the success of your website? We use the engagement of our readership both on the website and through our social media, like our Two Monkeys Travel Facebook page and by being featured by big media networks such as Forbes.com, as well as being sponsored by travel gear companies such as Caterpillar and Craghoppers.
What’s your favourite blog and why? We are both very big fans of Tim Ferris, mainly for his unique methods on life improvement and his strategies for becoming financially independent and location free. His ethos on sharing what he has learned in order to develop a self-learning who can in turn teach others to do the same is also very inspiring!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Write about something you love and inspires you, write to express yourself and if you want to monetize the blog, make that your goal from the very beginning as it will affect every decision you make! This is how we did it – How to start a blog in 6 months
Most importantly, don’t give up too soon. It may take up to a year to get regular readers and a high number of views, and longer to start earning a good income.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? As influencers in the travel industry, we usually work with companies who wish to reach a wider audience with their services and products. We currently have clothing and gear sponsors, including Craghoppers and Caterpillar Phones, who provide us with their latest gear to use, review and promote to our audience. We also have the option to sell these products to our readership through our affiliate membership. We are also contacted regularly by marketing and PR companies looking to feature articles on our website as part of their link-building programs – We’re quite selective about who we will link back to, as we want to maintain a high level of quality and relevance for our readers.
How do you use social media to promote/share content? What are the challenges? Our social media is still our biggest sharing point for our content, but that’s not all not is. To really be engaging in social media, we’ve really gotten to know our readers and followers and we are always listening to them so we know we’re proving information that they want and need, whilst still keeping true to what we believe in. The Mysterious Algorithm of Facebook changes constantly, but as long as we’re posting stimulating questions, inspiring photos and stories and connecting with people, we won’t be seriously affected.
What can PRs do in working better with you? Run campaigns with us and develop sponsorship programs. Travel bloggers want to travel and to expand their readership, so helping us to connect with companies who can sponsor our travels in exchange for mutually beneficial publicity is the best way for us all to work together. We’re currently working on sponsorship for our around the world journey which includes our trip to Antarctica, 6 months honeymoon road trip in the Philippines, boat hopping in Oceania and a flash-packing trip in Europe.
What has been your blogging highlight? Being featured in Forbes.com and hitting over 100K page views per month have been our greatest achievements to date. Starting to earn a consistent income from our blog is also very motivating!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? We have a great 6 months planned for the rest of this year – We’re planning to travel to Venezuela; Cuba; several Caribbean islands and ultimately, Antarctica. It’s going to be a big six months! We also have a couple of new projects in the pipeline, which will build on our existing offering and open new revenue streams for us.
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