Calling for the end of the group email
Group emails. Most of us have received them at one time or another. I dread them.
People who are on a trip to some far-away place have this crazy notion that their life is infinitely more interesting than everyone else’s. Perhaps it is. Most of us would rate the life of someone who is travelling and experiencing new cultures, walking among ancient ruins, climbing the world’s tallest mountains and eating strange and exotic foods a tad more exciting to read about than the life of a someone working their way through the daily grind. No offence.
Unfortunately, countless group emails are predicated on the assumption that pretty much anything they include will be of vital interest to others. This is not a safe assumption to make. If you neglect your readers’ needs to be engaged and interested, chances are they will eventually grant your emails little more than a courtesy skim read. Or they might just stop reading them all together.
Group emails have migrated.
With the rise of blogging, group emails have migrated from email to the blogosphere. No surprises there. Starting your own blog gives you your own slice of the internet, where you can freely post photos, write about all your latest adventures and even throw in cool features like videos and travel maps. Blogs are also advantageous because they keep all your entries together, archived according to date, place and other tags.
But the move to blog-based group updates also means that your friends and family are going to have to put a bit of extra work into reading about your trip. If you’re blogging through Travellerspoint, they can subscribe to your blog by email, but the email only serves as a notification that you have posted something new in your blog. They will have to click on a link in the email that directs them to your blog. It might not sound like a lot of work, but it requires them to make a decision to put the time and effort into reading your latest entry. That puts extra pressure on you to present your update in a genuinly interesting and engaging way.
To help you deal with the pressure, I’ve come up with 3 tips that should help you keep your readers coming back, entry after entry, begging for more.
Tip # 1: Write quality introductions
Many people who make the transition from group emails to travel blog forget to change their writing style accordingly. Group emails sound like, well, emails. More often than not, they start with the customary Hey there, Hi ya’ll, Aloha, or any other variation of the greeting phrase you can imagine. When it comes to writing a blog, that’s probably not the best way to start. As I wrote last week, starting your entry with a bang will go a long way to catching your readers’ attention.
But let’s face it: a great introduction that isn’t followed up with interesting and engaging content is like dangling cake in front of a child’s face and then eating it in front of her. Don’t be a tease. Give the child her cake.
Tip # 2: Become a storyteller
Tell stories! Write about getting sick while hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro; write about breaking your leg while bicycling in South America; write about the exuberant French waiter in Paris; write about when you bungee jumped in New Zealand. Stories are fun to read and fun to remember. You’ll be thanking yourself for writing down your stories in 60 years’ time when you’re struggling to remember where you put your false teeth.
Tip # 3: Make use of photos, maps and videos
Even if your writing is great, too much text can frighten readers away. Break your entry up with photos, travel maps and videos to give your readers some variety and stamp your creativity all over your blog. Instead of writing about how beautiful the Pyrenees are, let your readers appreciate the beauty for themselves by adding photos. If your hotel room is disgusting, make a video of it and post that on your blog. And instead of starting your entry with an update of where you are and where you travelled from, include your Travellerspoint map at the top of the entry. Your readers will thank you!
This is the second in a series about how to make your travel blog spectacular (check out last week’s post about writing quality introductions). If you found this entry helpful, you can keep updated by subscribing to the Swivellin’ Chair.