Short post alert! If my memory serves me correctly, it was around 2015 when I decided to start Award Bandit, a tiny award-booking service. At the same time, I thought it would be advantageous to start a blog in conjunction with Award Bandit called The Short Final. My goal with the blog was to share success stories (and failures) from clients and also showcase travel deals and “hacks”.

I ran the business and the blog for about five months. The blog failed miserably, I thought. But in reality, I learned that NO blog is going to be my idea of successful in just five months. It takes years of hard work and dedication in each and every post to build an audience. All the while doing this, I was a big fan of BoardingArea, The Points Guy, and FlyerTalk. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to write for one of these websites? So I decided to submit an application to BoardingArea and was contacted a couple of months later with an idea for a new concept — Travel Update! I immediately thought the opportunity was great. It would be a place for me to just focus on writing and producing great content for readers. Managing all of the many aspects of a blog in the beginning can really detract from producing quality content as for me it’s largely a black hole and time suck — themes, plugins, mail lists, etc.

So it’s been about a year and half since Travel Update launched and I just wanted to reflect on how the experience has been and what improvements to look for in my writing.

Lessons Learned

Writing for Travel Update has truly taught me the importance of diversification since the “travel blog industry” is so saturated. Much of the content across travel blogs is repetitive and you can often see posts about the same breaking topic one after another on your Twitter feed. Having access to some of the top bloggers on the BoardingArea network has been invaluable to shaping my content focus moving forward. I was told to focus on cornerstone content mixed with a few hot takes, which means concentrate on producing helpful, authoritative content (i.e. loyalty program guides, destination guides, etc) while sprinkling in some breaking news stories. After thinking about this advice for a while, I realized that readers don’t want to read multiple iterations of the same breaking story, but rather want to read well-produced, insightful content that will add value.

So that’s my focus moving into 2018. In the past I admit I’ve tried to break stories and ended up writing a garbage post — apologies for that.

Looking Ahead

I just want to thank all of you for reading and challenging me. It helps me to grow and produce the best content for you. 2017 has been a good year, no doubt about it. But in 2018 I look forward to being a better listener and writing about challenges you are all facing.

In the comments, let me know what content you would like to see more of and what questions you have that will help you achieve your goals. I’m genuinely curious. Cheers to 2018!