Welcome to the Cooperatize Bloggers’ Corner! If you are a professional blogger, aspiring content creator, or enthusiastic digital consumer then this weekly feature is for you. The Bloggers’ Corner highlights individuals who consistently create excellent digital content. Through these interviews, we hope to help our blogger community of over 20,000 individuals to connect and grow together.
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Megan Jerrard’s wanderlust has made her blog, Mapping Megan, one of Cooperatize’s favorite productions of travel content. For those seeking to develop a brand through their blogging and not just use their site as a hobby, Megan’s message will definitely resonate. Mapping Megan is filled with awesome content but also great tips for everyone from your average traveler to the avid adventurer.
Megan: I’m a 28 year old Australian who spends more time traveling abroad than I do in my home country! I have a passion for travel and worldwide exploration, so when I realized that freelance writing and travel blogging was a career path which meant I could work online with the freedom and flexibility of not being tied down to a location, it was a dream come true.
I’ve always had a passion for storytelling, and I completed a double degree in journalism as well as law. When I began traveling in 2007, I started a blog so family and friends could track my movements. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that I realized this platform had the potential to bring in a full-time income. So I put everything I had into transitioning from a hobby blog into an adventure travel brand.
I have been writing in the travel niche ever since; guides, videos, interviews with people we meet on the road, and narratives about our adventures.
Q: How would you describe your blog to a person that has never visited it before?
Megan: An online space dedicated to content, photography and video aimed at inspiring others to travel the world and providing them with the best knowledge and tools to do so. We have a focus on adventure travel, so don’t be surprised to find me jumping out of planes if I think it would provide a better view!
Q: What made you decide to create a blog?
Megan: I think everyone secretly dreams of being a travel writer – exploring exotic new lands and being paid to head out on epic adventures in far flung corners of the globe. On my first trip overseas I became addicted to the experience that is travel – everything was new, everything was an adventure, and when I was overseas taking in new sights, smells and sounds, it was the most intense high – I felt as though I was truly alive.
After I returned I wasn’t willing to accept that “reality” mean having to sit at a desk from 9-5, so I decided that reality was negotiable, and did everything in my power to find a way I could earn money while traveling full time.
Luckily for me, timing was everything, and the online world was starting to evolve in a way which meant vast opportunities were making it possible to establish a career online.
Q: Was there a moment when you thought, “I could do this professionally”? If so, what triggered that desire/realization?
Megan: That moment for me was on a flight from the States to Australia in 2012. I’ve been blogging as long as I’ve been travelling, though before 2012 it was 100% a hobby, and I had no idea that people were actually monetizing their platform and earning a living.
On this particular flight, it was by chance that I was seated next to Gary Arndt; one of the leading travel bloggers in the world (www.everything-everywhere.com). After hearing that he blogged for a living, and companies paid him to travel to promote their destinations and brands, my mind was blown – I already had a blog, so I figured surely I could do that too!
I bought my own domain, set up social media accounts, started promoting my work and focused on turning my blog into a business. I started earning enough from the blog to quit my day job about a year after that.
Q: What fuels your passion for creating content?
Megan: Having complete strangers want to read my work and care about what I have to say – that to me is pretty amazing.
Q: Are there any blogs or publications that you follow closely? What makes them successful in your opinion?
Megan: Gary Arndt runs Everything Everywhere and was the reason I started blogging. He is a world famous travel photographer, and has a truly fabulous blog.
Hannah Logan runs Eat Sleep Breath Travel and constantly publishes really thought provoking articles and entertaining reads.
Shane Dallas from The Travel Camel documents his travels to some of the most dangerous countries in the world, and destinations others dare not visit, and has a really fascinating blog with fantastic photography from his journeys.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in maintaining a successful blog?
Megan: The industry and job are constantly evolving, and this is both the biggest challenge and the biggest reward. It’s a challenge as there’s no set job description, and there’s no real industry standard as this is a very new field. Online platforms and therefore marketing strategies for the online space are constantly evolving, and if you don’t keep up and adapt business strategies/plans to new technologies you’ll become irrelevant.
There’s therefore a huge learning curve which comes with new technologies, though this is one of the aspects of the job that I love. I love being challenged, and it’s very rewarding to constantly feel as though you’re learning something new.
Q: What is your favorite post that you created? Why?
Megan: Every year we publish a blog series announcing the “Sexiest Travelers of the Year” with the intent to push the positive message that adventure is the new sexy! This year though we received 163 nominations so I put three weeks into creating an epic 100 page digital magazine.
This would have to be my favorite post / project so far – it was a fun learning curve creating my first digital product, and I loved having a new creative outlet – it includes 163 travelers of all ages, cultural backgrounds, sex, you name it! Post: https://www.mappingmegan.com/sexiest-travelers-of-2017/
Q: What is your favorite social media channel? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, other? Why?
Megan: I really enjoy Facebook as it’s a fantastic way to build a community and engage and interact directly with my readers.
Q: Do you have any last piece of advice for aspiring bloggers?
Megan: Understand that it’s one of those professions which first requires a large investment of time without return. You’re not going to instantly start making money from a travel blog, and nor are you going to find success overnight. It’s a slow and steady slog to grow your audience to a point where advertisers start wanting to invest, but once you do get there the benefits and rewards are well worth the hard work.
Q: Lastly, what is something that you could share with us that we wouldn’t learn from reading your blog?
Megan: I worked at McDonalds for 10 years (14 – 24). So glad that I opted for a career change!
Around the Corner
I think we can all be glad Megan decided on her career change. As a novice traveler, I love living vicariously through the stories and photos Megan and her husband produce. The old adage, “standing on the shoulders of giants” comes to mind when reading about Megan’s journey. Not only did happenstance put her next to a professional travel blogger during a flight early-on in her career, but she mentions a number of blogs that she still follows for inspiration.
Seeking inspiration from those we admire is not cheating. When I hit creative walls, I’ll do anything from watch one of my favorite movies, pick up a recommended book, or listen to music while I hit the gym. Since I have been following Mapping Megan, I have seen her website advance in functionality and change in appearance. Her advice to adapt or become irrelevant is not just lip-service, it is Megan’s reality. That advice is increasingly pertinent across all industries because of the ever-changing technological landscape. Cooperatize discusses this in-depth in our recent post with the Native Advertising Institute.
Thanks again to Megan Jerrard for taking time between getting her adrenaline fix through adventure to help advise our community of bloggers!
By the way, if you are one of those “creative types” then submit a logo for Blogger’s Corner to use as a featured image. You will win our undying love and admiration as well as mentions through all our social media channels highlighting your blog among our brands and blogger community which is over 20,000 members strong. We hope to share a new logo each week. Send submissions and/or comments directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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