Local Adventurer blog is about encouraging travelers to explore their hometowns and nearby spots. Find out how Jacob and Esther have been holding eachother accountable and built a massively succesful blog.
Revenue of $10,500/mo
Email list size of 7,500
Founded in 2015
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
Hi, my name is Jacob. My wife and I co-founded Local Adventurer one of the top travel blogs in the world. Before blogging, I worked a corporate job for 5 years, helped Esther build her wedding photography business, and co-created and ran a YouTube channel for a couple of years.
We are currently based in NYC, but move to a new city every year to write about the area. We also travel internationally a few times a year. We’ve found that most of our readership is within the states. People who are looking to for city and National Park guides, and who want to challenge themselves to try something new.
We’ve been doing this full time as couple since 2015, and last year we earned over $125,000.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
Esther started the blog as a hobby. She was looking for a new creative outlet after leaving her wedding photography business behind, and decided to start editing and sharing our travels. She began to grow an organic following and when she realized people were doing this for a living, she started to treat it like a business.
At the time, I was working on building my YouTube channel with my brother. It kept me busy but I could see that the blog started to gain traction.
The idea of Local Adventurer was hatched when we moved out west and regretted not exploring more of Atlanta, the hometown we had lived in for most our lives. We got too comfortable and took where we lived for granted, and the more people we met, we realized many people felt the same way too. It’s easy to go through life and get jaded and see things as common, but with Local Adventurer, we set off to practice finding adventure in our every day and seeing things with fresh eyes.
As she continued to grow the blog, she found a great balance of inspirational yet informative posts. Her expertise in photography created beautiful imagery and she paired that with thorough information to enable readers to find the same spots.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
We currently have 3 main revenue sources. 50% of our income comes from sponsored content. That includes blog posts, videos, and social media. 25% of our income comes from affiliate sales and the remaining 25% comes from ads.
The first few years of the blog, we didn’t make that much. We did some sponsored content and generated a decent amount of revenue from affiliate sales. When I came on board, I focused on building the brand relationships and reaching out to other companies we wanted to work with.
For anyone looking to get into the travel blogging, my first question is always “Are you sure?” Despite the fact that our social media makes it look like we’re on a constant vacation, we spend a lot of time in front of our computers and building the business itself. You have to treat it like a job if that’s what you want it to be. I’m working on putting down my thoughts and processes into an e-course that we’ll hopefully launch later this year.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
When we initially started, we didn’t focus on traffic numbers, and just made sure we were creating good content. As we saw what type of posts resonated with our audience, we continued to build that type of content.
We now get 50% of our traffic from organic searches and another 50% from Pinterest, so we try to stay focused on that. Esther spends a lot of time making sure each post is optimized and curating content for her Pinterest.
We still work on our other social media platforms, but they don’t drive nearly as many views. Essentially, you have to find where you audience is connecting with you the most and where you traffic is coming from.
How have you grown the email list?
We know that email list are extremely powerful tools, but we definitely have neglected growing out list (I know! Shame on us!). We plan on relaunching our newsletter this year.
Our email list currently has about 7,500 subscribers and we want to make sure we’re creating good, exclusive content for them. Right now, we continue to grow the list through some locked content on the blog (i.e. free downloads).
How do you write great content that performs well?
We’ve found that specific types of post do really well on our site, for example bucket list type posts. We always use those as a starting point in any city, then create more unique content for each location.'Neither of us are great writers, but we’ve found a groove and consistent voice that works for us.'Click To Tweet
The other type of content that works well for us is outdoor, bucket-list type hikes. With these posts we make sure to marry the beautiful imagery with actual information. We definitely share our experiences at different locations, but we always take the stance of spinning it so that it’s useful to the reader.
Neither of us are great writers, but we’ve found a groove and consistent voice that works for us.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Early on, we were eager to take on any sponsored content. We made the mistake of working with some brands that we didn’t necessarily identify with and really regret it. It’s always tempting to take money, but focus on your long term brand and goals.
If you hope to run a travel blog full time, you also need to treat it like a business. Know what skills your good at, and work on filling in the gaps. We’re lucky to have very different skillsets. Esther is an amazing creative and I have a business background.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Find other blogs that are roughly your size. You’ll go through similar struggles and can workshop through them together. We always love talking shop with other blogs that are our size. We learn a lot from each other and even learn to grow different revenue streams.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
When starting out, don’t be afraid to try different things. It took us a while to find our voice and what our niche was. Once you do that, you’ll have less opportunity to venture outside of that.'Find other blogs that are roughly your size. You’ll go through similar struggles and can workshop through them together.'Click To Tweet
Also, give yourself a schedule and stick to it. We used to set weekly goals for ourselves to keep each other accountable.
Where can we go to learn more?