Welcome to Part One of The Expat Blog Success Series!
If you are interested in moving abroad and living off of profits from your blog, you’ve come to the right place. The digital nomad life is difficult but so rewarding.
Before you start your expat blog I want you to be aware that success most likely will not happen overnight. You could be working on your blog for months or even years before you start seeing some money and followers. I strongly suggest keeping another job while you start your blog, or at least have some money set aside to get you by while you try your hand at the blogging life.
Alright, let’s get started!
The first thing you need to do is figure out what your blog is going to be about. The goal of this article series is to help all of you that want to be expat bloggers, so let’s say that is your overall focus. Within that you need to find your niche. I suggest making your blog about something you are passionate about not something that you think people need to hear. Maybe you feel there is a need for a blog about taxes as an expat in whatever country you are moving to, but seriously do you want to write about taxes for the rest of your life? Probably not and if you do, I totally respect you.
I read way too much advice when I started The Wanderlanders that said things like “research topics that are popular and blog about them.” I personally disagree with that sentiment. Have you seen the travel or food blogging industry? It’s completely saturated. It’s not impossible to be successful in those industries, but you’ll be competing with a lot of big time players.
Don’t get knocked out by the big bloggers.
I’m following over 2,000 travel bloggers on Twitter, and that’s just the people I have chosen to connect with. That’s a lot of competition! The good news is, the expat blog industry is a lot smaller. In fact, sometimes it’s difficult for me to find great expat blogs to feature on The Wanderlanders. You’re joining a great little community by blogging about expat life.
I live more with the Steve Jobs mindset. I read his biography by Walter Isaacson a few years ago (a book I highly recommend you pick up by the way because it will completely change your business approach) and this quote stuck with me.
“Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘if I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.” -Steve Jobs
That is exactly how I approach The Wanderlanders and how I think everyone should approach blogging. I believe Millennials want to move abroad, but they don’t know how to make it a reality. I have yet to find a site that provides that information in a way that is geared towards young people. That is my goal with The Wanderlanders. If you are intent on creating a blog about expat life, I think you can approach it with this same mindset. There is a need for blogs about this topic, but not so many people are doing it.
Alright, it’s time for you to do some work!
Task 1: Make a list of topics you feel strongly about. Narrow your list down to just one topic and think about how you can make that topic even more specific.
Find a topic that makes you this excited about blogging!
Don’t say, “I’m going to start a blog about cats, flowers, and knitting as an expat.” Sorry, but just no. You need to be extremely specific in your topic. I know you’re thinking right now that I’m wrong and you follow lots of blogs with the general topic of “Lifestyle,” I don’t want to say it’s impossible to be successful with a general topic like that, it’s not impossible, but it become much more difficult. Your readers will most likely want to go to your site to get information or entertainment on one specific topic.
When I started The Wanderlanders I knew I wanted to talk about living abroad because I’m crazy passionate about it, but then I thought, “maybe I can be a travel blog too.” I’ll admit, I only wanted to be a travel blogger because I dreamt of becoming well-known and getting to travel for free. After a few weeks I decided to drop that travel blog aspect of The Wanderlanders. My category was too broad. Then, a week later I realized I had written all of my posts with a really general audience in mind. I didn’t want that. I wanted my site to be geared towards all you fab Millennials that dream of living abroad.
Once I made that change everything started to come together.
Keep in mind that your topic ideas might change along the way, and that is perfectly fine. That means you’re growing as a blogger!
As a blogger writing about expat life in your new country, you are already specific, but if you want, you can make it even more specific than that.
Think about what makes you special. For example, if you love cool alcoholic drinks you could be an expat blogger that writes about unique bars you visit in your new country (actually if you start that blog I will totally be your number 1 fan).
Here are some ideas for you….
Fashion Focus: If you are always up on the latest trends you may want to focus your expat blog on fashion. You can showcase your latest fashion finds, great styles of the country you are living in, how to stay up on fashion in the country you are in etc.
Foodie Focus: If you love to eat, which I think most people do, you could focus your expat blog on food. You can showcase different great restaurants in your new country, great recipes to try etc.
Humour Focus: If you are anything like me, you find yourself in awkward situations more frequently than you would want.
Maybe you accidentally set your hair on fire in a bar in Hamburg and had to leave because it smelled so bad and people were complaining. Oh and maybe it was the first time your boyfriend introduced you to all his friends. Maybe you illegally flew to Europe because the woman at the check-in counter couldn’t read dates and decided your German residency permit wasn’t expired (even though it was). Maybe you lost your mom in downtown Munich and she didn’t have a cellphone or any idea of what hotel you were staying at.
Yes, those really happened. Yes, I’m a disaster most of the time. Anyway, they make for great stories. If you are someone that tends to get yourself in similar situations, write about it! People will love it.
Music Focus: If you love unique bands and going to concerts, you could focus on the music scene in your new country. You could talk about bands in your new country that you’ve never heard of before or all the amazing concerts you go see.
Photography Focus: If you are a great photographer you could focus on pictures of life in your new country. You could even start something like People of New York, but of your new country. I’d read it. 🙂
Anyway, those are just a few ideas for you to think about.
Now you should have somewhat of an idea of what you want to write about. Time for your next task.
Task 2: Make a list of at least of at least 30 blog post titles you could write about that fall under your website’s overall topic. Why 30? It seemed like a good number.
Now, were you able to come up with 30 quality ideas? If no, maybe you need to go back to the first task.
Most bloggers write at least once a week (which I suggest if you want to keep an engaged audience). If you can’t come up with 30 titles, that means you don’t have enough ideas to keep your blog going for eight months.
That means you don’t have a topic you are passionate enough about that you can continue to talk about it and talk about it and talk some more. This is super important if you want to stay motivated and loving the blogger life through the difficult struggles you’re bound to face along the way.
To help you along here are a few article topics you might think about…
-How to Get a Visa in ______
-Ways to Start a Business in _____
-How to Find a Job in ______
-How to Make Friends in ________
-Cultural Differences in __________
-How to learn the language in _______
-How to Find an Apartment in _________
-The Public Transportation in _______
-How to Buy a Car in __________
-Traditional Food you Should Eat in __________
-Where to Buy Furniture in ___________
-Volunteer Opportunities in ___________
-Best Place to Live in __________
-Facebook Group you Should Join in ________
-Instagram Accounts to Follow in ___________
-What I’ve Learned Living in ___________
-Why You Should Live in ___________
-The Best Parts of Living in ___________
-The Worst Parts of Living in _____________
Those are just a few ideas for you, but hopefully it will help guide you into deciding what you want your blog to be like. Now it’s time to actually start your blog
If it was no problem to come up with 30 topics, you’re good to go!
It’s time to Set Up Your Blog!
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