Blogger Presentation 2: Adventurous Kate

Adventurous Kate is a 29-year-old world traveller, blogging about her experiences to make a living.  She quit her job three years ago and has been pursuing her dream to travel the world, visiting 45 countries since, and showing women that solo travel is safe, easy, and fun.

The Adventurous Kate website is easy to navigate. You can explore by destination, by date, or look at Kate’s favorites by going straight to the “Best of the Blog” tab. She writes about her travel-everything from where she stays to what she eats. She shares her opinions about the places she’s visited and gives advice to fellow travelers.

In one of my favorite posts, Kate gives tips for traveling in Italy. Kate studied abroad in Florence when she was an undergraduate and has returned to Italy many times since. During my trip to Italy I did many of the things on her list and she even mentions my favorite restaurant. Scrolling by destination allows me to compare my own experiences when I read about the places I’ve been and read about places I want to travel to in the future.

Not all of her posts offer guidance for travelers, though. She creates posts based solely on her own opinions, like a list of places she could actually live, and reasons she loves Costa Brava. Many other posts I came across discuss her personal life and feelings, like a diary, inviting the reader to invest themselves in the journey with her. The reader isn’t just sight-seeing, but is emotionally involved in Kate’s story. In this post, she tells readers how hard it is to say goodbye to the people she meets in her travels. She writes about these people and her future plans to see them again. I enjoy reading this type of post as much as posts that discuss landmarks and culture, because she captures what it really feels like to travel, and doesn’t just glamourize the experience.

Kate’s writing style is very easy to follow. Short sentences and thoughts, lists, pictures, videos and stories. Some of her posts can be lengthy, but they are all formatted in short paragraphs and sentences and multimedia is often mixed in. People love to read things quickly and with as little brainpower as possible, which Kate makes completely possible. Beautiful pictures are just a bonus!

Along with her own blog, Kate and her fiancé have started a blog called “Someone Once Told Me” which is also featured on the Adventurous Kate site. The concept is for people they meet in their travels to discuss the most memorable thing that anyone has ever told them. They are currently on their fifth month of this tour.

Blogging to make a living is a challenging thing to do, especially when travel expenses for a blog like Kate’s are considered. Kate is straightforward about how she earns money and supports this lifestyle. The number one way that Kate makes a profit is through advertising, including branded content posts, banner and video ads, and social media and newsletter promotion. She will also accept sponsorship offers from destination marketing organizations. Any post with branding or sponsorship is labeled as so, and Kate claims she will only accept offers that genuinely interest her and her posts are always her own opinions. Affiliate marketing is seen in some of her posts as well, mostly through Amazon.com.

Branded content posts are easy to find on the Adventurous Kate website.  All of her posts are organized with tags, which are keywords that can be searched in the search bar to easily find a particular post. If “Branded Content” is searched, posts tagged for branded content will appear.

Kate writes that “All opinions shared in this piece, as always, are my own” at the bottom of her posts that contain branded content. Although the opinions may be her own, her writing differs from posts that do not contain branded content and she seems swayed in the direction of the company that is promoting the post. For instance, in this post, branded by Visa, Kate describes her dream first time, and then tells her readers that their first time could be funded by Visa. Although Kate may really have dreamt of going to Antarctica, the way she presented the story of her trip did not feel genuine, as she promotes Visa and is selling their contest.

As I continued reading I stumbled across one of Kate’s most shocking experiences. She was shipwrecked in Indonesia on a boat tour. She wrote extensively about the experience, and about the boat tour company that she had chosen. She did not have many good things to say about the company, as you can imagine, yet still puts the message at the bottom of the post telling her readers that her opinions are her own. She also informs the readers that she received a five-day free tour from the company.

After reading Kate talk badly about a tour company, my skepticism about her honesty about sponsorship and branded content faded. I feel that she does share her honest opinions and offers the truth, although she gives good reviews much of the time. She picks and chooses, and sometimes even pursues, who she would like to feature on her site based on her own interests and what she feels is valuable to her readers, so it makes sense that she normally has good things to say.

A post that I still am unsure how I feel about was written after Kate was shipwrecked. She lost nearly everything in the wreckage, and she posted a donation button on her blog where her readers could donate to her. She wrote that she lost $3,300 in damages, and any extra money raised would be donated to charity. I understand her reasoning for this post, but I haven’t decided if it is an inappropriate gesture.

Other ways that Kate makes money include freelance writing, public speaking and consulting. She writes regularly for answers.com, eurail.com, the Boston Globe and TNT Magazine. She helps small businesses manage social media, readers plan their travels, and bloggers build better blogs. She speaks at conferences in exchange for travel lodging and free entry, or for monetary compensation. She writes to her audience explaining how extraordinarily difficult making a full-time living as a travel blogger truly is.

Kate typically posts between 15-22 times per month. Some months she posts as few as 6 times, and never more than 23 times. The comments that Kate’s posts attract are extremely supportive. Readers will occasionally post questions, but most of the comments respond to what she writes in her post very nicely. After a post where Kate reflects on her lifestyle, many of the comments told Kate that they agree, they think she needs a break! The readers interact with Kate as if they know her personally. One of the only non-supportive comments I found was on her post about the friendliest people in the world. This man must’ve been a little offended he didn’t make the cut, but Kate responded to his comment politely. She interacts with her readers often, helping them plan their own travels.

As much as I enjoy the idea of travelling and exploring the world then getting paid to write about my life, after reading this blog I realized it is too good to be true and I could never do it. It seems like such a glamorous and amazing job, but it is hard work. I experienced first hand how difficult it can be to travel on your own, never mind all the work that needs to be put into making a living at it. I’ll stick to travelling on my vacations and living vicariously through the experiences Adventurous Kate shares.

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