I’m Sarah Blinco from travellivelearn.com. I live in London, UK with my partner Cooper – we are both Australian expats living abroad. We work on our blog and vlog together, and originally started the site to share stories with family and friends at home, but discovered we have a passion for creating digital content. We both come from media backgrounds (radio, magazines), so producing multimedia content is a natural extension of that.
Cooper and I are BIG dog people, and from August we will commence traveling around Europe and the UK housesitting, taking care of pets and developing our digital business.
- How would you describe your blog to a person that has never visited it before?
TravelLiveLearn.com showcases our love of London, travel and dogs. We share travel tips and guides on UK and European destinations that we have the chance to visit. Cooper and I like to highlight how expats, bloggers and digital nomads can network and learn, so we share information on conferences and events. Finally, you’ll also see dogs pop up in all we do – we’d like to inspire people to be conscious about animal welfare, both in our backyard and also when travelling.
- What made you decide to create a blog?
We moved to London from Australia in 2011 and started a blog just to share stories with family and friends back home. Developing content about travel was first a hobby, then came paid and sponsored opportunities, so we’ve developed the site as time’s gone by.
- Was there a moment when you thought, “I could do this professionally”? If so, what triggered that desire/realization?
When we started getting approached about collaborating with brands and other digital nomads, we realised we were being discovered online which is quite exciting. Cooper and I were travelling in North America a few years ago, and opportunities started to come in around freelance travel writing and blogging on our site. We realised that you can turn online endeavours into a real business. I’d suggest that these days you do need to set up several income streams, not just rely on a blog. But there’s so many amazing opportunities that are available just by having a blog in the first place – we’re always coming up with ideas on how to do more.
- What fuels your passion for creating content?
Keeping a site up to date is a lot of work, so you need to love what you do. Fortunately, we actually really enjoy creating content to inspire, inform and educate, which is our motivation to keep doing this.
- Are there any blogs or publications that you follow closely? What makes them successful in your opinion?
We live in a very visual world now, so the best publications and blogs continue to develop lovely images and video. I’m a fan of Conde Nast Traveller and aspire to tell great stories that are complemented by beautiful photography. I soak up as much travel content as possible though, so am browsing countless blogs each week. Design-led travel media and videos is the way of the future though, I beleive.
- What has been the biggest challenge in maintaining a successful blog?
Not having enough hours in the day. London is expensive to live in, so Cooper and I currently also have jobs in education and communications to pay the rent. We’re gradually moving into developing our digital business, but finding time and energy to make it all happen is definitely the biggest challenge.
- What is your favorite post that you created? Why?
All the destinations we visit are memorable, but in April we took a train trip from Milan to Verona and Venice in Italy. It was magical. I particularly love the blog and vlog on Verona, featured here: https://www.travellivelearn.com/romeo-and-juliet-setting-verona-italy-travel-guide-juliets-balcony/
We also had a very unique opportunity this year in that we were invited to one of the Queen’s summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace. The posts about it got quite a lot of attention: https://www.travellivelearn.com/royal-garden-party-london/
- How much does social media influence your writing? This might be a commentary on the posts you read or the way that you tailor your posts for those channels.
We post social media to our channels separately rather than automating all of it from the blog. Reason being, that each channel (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) is different – some use hashtags; others we might use a bespoke engagement tool like a quiz or question. It also depends on what action we want taken: click through to the post or engagement on a post. So, our writing is influenced by what we’re trying to achieve, what audience we’re trying to reach and what channel we’re using.
- What is your favorite social media channel? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, other? Why?
I’m a fan of Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sarahblinco/) for its visual impact. I also find LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahblinco/) valuable for business connections and professional development.
We are developing our YouTube strategy too, and are fans of this channel. If youre on there, subscribe and leave a comment on one of our videos so we can subscribe to your channel too! https://www.youtube.com/travellivelearn
- Do you have any last piece of advice for aspiring bloggers?
The value in teaching yourself the technical aspects of setting up a blog, along with learning about content development will take you far, in life (as a creative outlet) and professionally – these skills lead to career opportunities and income!
It’s also really important to network with other bloggers, so find a blogging or content conference to attend. Our favourite is the TBEX conference (watch a video about it here: https://www.travellivelearn.com/a-weekend-in-prague-for-travel-bloggers/)
- Lastly, what is something that you could share with us that we wouldn’t learn from reading your blog?
I used to be a magazine editor and I’m contributing travel editor for a great monthly lifestyle magazine based in Queensland, Australia, Get it Magazine: check it out here: https://getit-magazine.com.au/