Today I have none other than Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere on the show. *insert jaw drop*
It was such a delight to first of all have Gary agree to be on the TBB podcast and then have a real conversation about blogging on the show.
For us newer generation of bloggers like myself, it’s rare to be able to pick the brain of someone as established and well known as Gary. After listening to this, you’ll learn just how Everything Everywhere got its start and what Gary’s key strategy was to being successful.
Get your notepad and pen out because TBB is about to get real!
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The interview with Gary was both insightful and eye opening. I think if I were to summarize the whole podcast, it came down to the one concept of building an audience first before monetizing.
Threaded throughout the interview, one of Gary’s biggest gripes about the evolution of blogging is that too many of us are looking to make a quick buck and not focusing on the long term vision. While seemingly a bit counterintuitive to some, the business of blogging should almost come secondary to content and audience growing.
I love how frank and to the point Gary is and you will appreciate too how well spoken he is and get a glimpse of what he is like in real life (or at least as close as it gets via voice).
I’m paraphrasing things a little but I’ll end things off with this quote from the podcast:
“It’s the 10,000 little things you do consistently every day for a period of years that leads to success”
In this particular episode, you will learn
What you will learn in this podcast
- About Gary
- Story of how I got Gary to be on the show
- What it was like to start a travel blog in 2007
- Everything Everywhere didn’t make money for the first 4 years
- Visited 40 countries in 2014 and 44 in 2013
- Wildest thing in travel
- 14 hour round trip motorcycle ride in Cambodia when the Thai and Cambodia armies were in full conflict mode
- Bungee jumping
- Things that suck about travel
- Lose contact with people (but that’s what conferences like TBEX are for)
- Evolution of blogging of the years
- Could be predicted – explosion of travel blogs
- People now expect to make money quick
- Tools have changed
- Social media was introduced and didn’t quite change things but added a new outlet of communication
- Thoughts on press trips
- Hates the idea of FAM trips
- Much prefer independent trips like his road trip in 2014 where he drive from Wisconsin, North West Territories, Vancouver, Seattle and back
- Gary’s monetization strategy
- Only do sponsorships where paid on a monthly retainer as a brand ambassador/spokesperson
- Work with reputable brands only (i.e. G Adventures, ScottyVest, Gogobot and Travel Alberta)
- Future of blogging
- Changes in the industry
- Gary’s photography awards
- Gary’s secret of how he does everything
- Assistant in Texas
- VA in the Philippines
- All the content and photos are Gary’s but they do the task of actually putting it up
- Gary’s breakthrough moment
- Improved photography by learning about why his photos were good vs bad
- Learned by doing
- Has a shot list every time he’s travelling
- Does research ahead of time to mitigate that “luck” factor
- Uses Google image search to get ideas
- Gary’s favorite shot(s) of 2014
- Camera gear
- Nikon D300S
- Wide angle lens
- 50mm f/1.4
- Carbon fiber tripod
Key blogging insights by Gary
- BUILD AN AUDIENCE FIRST
- Built his blog based on “why people pay money to buy travel magazines”
- Audience is more important than traffic
- Have a vision when working with destinations and brands
- Brands/PR are NOT your customers, your readers are
- Don’t expect instant success
- Travel blogging is a craft so hone it
- Have a long term approach
- Avoid non reputable activities
- Don’t do anything to jeopardize your blog in the long run
- Display advertising sucks
- Look at what the good writers/photographers are doing and learn from them
- Focus less on money and the business of blogging
- Quality matters
- Always keep on improving
- It’s the 10,000 little things you do consistently every day for a period of years
- It’s not one big thing where your blog will change
- You gotta just grind it out
- Focus on subscribers and not traffic
- Focus on incrementally growing the blog instead of copying what other people are doing
Links mentioned in this episode
Thanks for listening
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