I first read Ellie’s blog – The Wandering Quinn – back in February whilst I was in Bath and I saw she had written a post about places to go and since then I have been hooked. She’s also been a guest on two of my favourite podcasts – The Travelust Podcast by Sam Sparrow and What She Said by Lucy Lucraft.
Ellie lives in London and works full time whilst fitting her love of travel into her annual leave. Her posts are full of tips and tricks for travelling abroad on your own or in a group, and her quest to see the world will definitely leave you wanting to book a holiday ASAP.
Get ready to be inspired by – Ellie Quinn
1. Hi Ellie, (great name!) thanks for joining us today for the 4th Be Inspired By blog. Let’s start at the beginning – How long have you been blogging for and how did you get into it?
I’ve been blogging for 4 years now. I started in March 2014 after leaving Australia, I had been there for 2 years and was about to start a big trip around South East Asia. A friend said I should start a blog to document my travels, I had been reading blogs to get ideas on where to go in South East Asia and I liked the idea of journaling and sharing my knowledge so I did and I wrote regularly on a Tumblr account for 6 months (old school I know!).
After that, I created www.thewanderingquinn.com where I continued to blog in a journal style for another year or so and doing it very much as a hobby when I fancied doing it. It wasn’t until I moved to London at the start of 2016 where I thought ‘this could be a thing!’ and I was aware of bloggers actually doing this full time, going on press trips and earning money from it, at that point I started posting more regularly and improving my writing, photos etc.
2. Your blog is one of the best travel blogs I’ve ever read. Do you have any tips for people who are wanting to start one of their own?
Definitely just start! I met a lady at a yoga event in September, I casually told her I have a blog and she saw it on my Facebook after the event. She recently felt like she needed some creativity and something different in her life so she started a blog and really likes it. It’s so good to see how its changed her outlook on things and boosted her creativity, she’s also joined some pages on Facebook where there is a lovely community of people. I think the community is the best thing about blogging, to be honest.
Secondly, work out your passion, this doesn’t have to be too much of a ‘niche’ but work out what you are passionate to write and post about. If you want to keep blogging and create a successful blog (‘success’ will mean different things to different people) you do have to start it from passion I think. Passion for the subject, passion for the sharing, as it can take up a lot of time and it takes a lot of time to grow too. If you want to make blogging your career I say go for it but unless you have the passion it’s going to feel like hard work pretty quickly! And whether it’s you’re career or not you’ll often question ‘why am I doing this??’.
As a more practical tip, I’d say be sure to spend some time thinking about a name. Your name should reflect what you’re blogging about (unless you use your own name), but don’t categorise yourself too much. So many people have blog names that relate to budget travel which is fine for them now but if they start posting about fancier places in the future and travelling on a higher budget then it’ll be hard to market yourself and your blog.
3. Where is your favourite place you’ve ever visited?
This is a hard one!
I say that Thailand is my favourite Country as I’ve been there so many times and I just love it but I feel like this question isn’t asking that, so I’d say my favourite place that I’ve visited is Ayampe in Ecuador, that’s the first place that comes to mind anyway, it’s a little beach village, its so quiet and beautiful and it was just what I needed at that time on that trip.
4. Is there any part of blogging that you aren’t a fan of?
The comparison and the numbers!
It’s so so easy to start comparing myself to other people. Looking at their blog and thinking it looks better than mine, seeing that their numbers are higher than mine, seeing that they’ve been invited on a trip and I haven’t. I’m a very positive person and I’ve never been one to put myself down too much so I never think ‘mine is rubbish and I’m a rubbish blogger etc.’ but it’s easy to get discouraged and feel a bit disappointed.
The numbers annoy me too. Again its so easy to put my worth and our worth as bloggers into numbers – number of likes, number of followers, number of subscribers!
I try to remember that I’m running my own race, how far I’ve come and remind myself of how proud I am of my blog when I’m not in that comparison mindset.
5. You still work full time whilst being an avid writer. How do you fit your blog and all your travels in around your blog?
It’s hard that’s for sure.
Right now I’m blogging more than ever and feel like I’m at max capacity. I generally use the weekends to do most of my work, during the winter this was ok but I know it’s going to be harder once the summer comes around. As I am a travel blogger usually I’ll go away for one weekend and then spend at least one day the next weekend writing about it. It can feel like a lot but I remind myself of the awesome weekend I had the week before and without me working on the blog that wouldn’t have happened (if it was a press trip).
I also get up earlier now and again to spend an hour on my blog before going to work, I use my hour commute to and from work to do all my social media posting and interaction, and occasionally I do things in the evenings but nothing too intensive unless I’m struggling for time. I love my blog and I love blogging but not enough to ‘burn out’. My full-time job pays for my rent and my life and I know that nothing is going to happen if I don’t post!
6. Do you have any tips for the people reading this on how to pitch to travel brands?
I’d say to put a media pack together with all of your numbers, a bit about you and your blog along with any brands you may have worked with, if you don’t have any, thats fine. I think media packs are a great way of keeping all this information together in an easy to read format.
Don’t send a general cover email. Make it relevant to the brand you are pitching to, tell them why you want to work with them, give them some ideas on how you can work together. Ask if they work with bloggers or have worked with bloggers.
Don’t be afraid to be specific too. If you want a 2 night stay in a hotel, write in the email that that’s what you want and write what you will do in return.
Another tip is to pitch to brands that you have seen working with bloggers, that way you know they are open for collaborations and understand blogging and bloggers.
Also note that often tourist boards and even other travel brands work with PR companies. I look on their website to get contact details but if I can’t see them I’ll send them a message on twitter or instagram and sometimes its the PR company that will reply. It’s always good to get on a PR’s radar and if they can’t work with you on this occasion ask to be put on the mailing list for future campaigns for their travel clients!
7. Would you ever want to take your blog full-time?
Honestly yes. If you’d asked me that this time last year or even this time 6 months ago I would have probably said no, but I’m seeing more and more growth from my blog every month and its exciting. It’s just scary to take the leap, right now I’m not earning enough or even being offered enough work to cover my rent and life in London but at the same time I don’t have the time to pitch for all of that work because of my full time job! I’m also conscious that I don’t want my blog to become too much like work and I like having a regular income so we’ll have to see what the future brings!
8. What is your biggest blogging achievement to date?
For me its my page views. They literally tripled in 2017 from 2016 and they are growing month by month now in 2018. I’m seeing older posts starting to get views, some are only low numbers, others are now in my top 10 viewed posts most days and seeing this growth makes me so proud.
I also think that it helps that page views aren’t spoken about that much, everyone keeps them to themselves (aside from telling brands) so its easy not to compare myself to others as I don’t see other peoples to compare too. It’s a kind-of private achievement I guess.
My aim is to reach a point where I can start advertising on my site with a particular platform and monetise that way (if you’re wondering why I’m so into my page views!).
9. And finally, what would be your ultimate brand to work with?
Ooh this is hard! I’d probably have to say a tourist board of a Country I love or would love to visit! Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, China, all of Central America are all places I really want to go so if I was contacted by any of their tourist boards to work with them I’d be pretty happy!
And there you have the wonderful Ellie Quinn talking through her journey to where she is today.