EXCLUSIVE: INTERVIEW WITH AWARD NOMINATED BLOGGER TAYLOR HEARTS TRAVEL!

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Hi everyone,

As mentioned on a few of my previous posts I am delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with Char from the award nominated blog Taylor Hearts Travel which was carried out recently! Char has been blogging for the past year and has already built up an impressive social media following as well as being shortlisted as Best Female in lowcostholidays Best Blogger Awards 2014. You can view Char’s website here:  http://taylorheartstravel.com/

It was an absolute pleasure to interact with Char, she was very professional but extremely down to earth and gave me a real insight into her exciting life; I even picked up a few blogging tips for my own site! So here’s the interview in full.. enjoy!

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Q1)      Hi Char! When did you know you wanted to start travel blogging, and how did you take that first big step? Did you work in the travel industry previously or have a completely different job? I note that you have a full website for Taylor Hearts Travel rather than just a WordPress or Tumblr blog – are there larger benefits for doing this? Did you have a small blog to start with and then grow it from there?

A) It was just after I returned from Peru. I’ve always, always loved travelling and friends have often said I should work in travel. The idea of a travel blog pinged into my head and I decided to do it! There are no major costs in starting a blog, it can fit in alongside a full time job and it’s a great way to document travels. It was a no brainer for me – I had nothing to lose. My memory isn’t the best, so I love being able to keep track of my favourite travels and recommendations. I work in the sport industry, so it’s very different to travel. I started my contacts list from zero and have really enjoyed meeting fellow like-minded travellers. I started on a WordPress hosted site and then moved over to a self hosted one after a year or so. To be honest I wish I had started on the self hosted one, but at the time I had no idea how long I’d be blogging for or what would come of it. If you host it yourself you have more say in terms of creativity and advertorials.

Q2)      How important is social media for generating interest on each of your blog posts? I can see that you are using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc and I wondered whether or not this was the single most powerful way to grow your online presence? I’m thinking of getting an Instagram account for my own blog so I’d love to hear your thoughts on this particular app.

A) I think social media is really important. It allows me to share my posts to my audience, but also a wider one if I use hashtags or someone shares/retweets it. It all moves very, very quickly and I love that aspect of it. I’m quite a visual person and people often comment on my photos, so for me Instagram is a dream. I love seeing other people’s pretty pics and again, using hashtags, it allows me to meet more people.

Q3)      Are you blogging full time and getting paid for it, or do you have another job on the side as your main source of income? Many bloggers I have spoken to simply blog as a hobby but I’d love to know the percentage of bloggers who actually get paid to travel and review their trips as this is the sort of industry I would like to start getting in to. I currently have over 27000 readers on my Trip Advisor account and was voted in the top 2% in Oxfordshire so I’d like to put that to good use!

A) Like most, I currently have a full time job, as well as another full time job (my blog!). I probably spend more time than most on mine, but that’s just down to my personality. If I’m going to do something, I do it 110%. I really go for it. I have no patience whatsoever, so I’d rather do it, than spend years planning it or worrying about what-ifs. I’ve made a lot of contacts in the industry and have worked with some amazing brands. Sometimes they might approach me and other times, I pitch to them. I think it’s all about being professional, committed and reliable. If you deliver what you set out to do, then chances are people will notice and existing clients will come back again. One of my favourite quotes is ‘Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground’. Well done re your readers on TripAdvisor! I was also really into that site and wrote loads of reviews, earning the badge of being in the top 3% on the site. Now that I document my trips on my blog I don’t really write as many for TripAdvisor, as I don’t have time, but also because as far as I understand you’re not supposed to write a review if you have a business relationship with the company.

Q4)      How often are you posting updates to your blog and social media outlets? I try to aim for once or twice a week with a few tweets/status updates in between but I realise that perhaps this isn’t enough. Do you also have any tips on the best times/days to publish posts so I can increase traffic to my blog?

A) Again, I’m probably in the minority here, but I aim to publish a new post at least four – five times a week, if not every day. I try to write the blog that I like to read. I hate it when I go to one of my favourite blogs they haven’t updated it, so I like to keep mine fresh and varied. I don’t think there is any right or wrong approach though. If there was, we’d all be doing the same and then that’d be boring! I think if you have an editorial schedule that works for you, then go with it. Don’t be distracted by what everyone else is doing (though it’s obviously helpful to learn from others). You can look at the analytics within Facebook/Twitter etc to find out what time of day most of your audience is online. Once you’ve worked that out, aim to share your info then. I think it’s also important to not run away with pre-programmed stuff. Yes, it’s helpful and time saving, but people also want to talk to a real person and see interactions. Keep it real!

Q5)      Finally, where are you currently blogging from at the moment? Are you all cosy back at home in the UK or are you on the move again?

A) I’m at home at the moment after returning from a weekend break in Paris and then one in Madrid. It’s only for a few more days though, as I’m off to San Francisco very soon. I’m manically trying to wash and repack everything! I note that your most recent trip was Madrid so I’d love to hear a short summary on the city – I was thinking of heading there earlier on this year but ended up in Barcelona instead! I’m sure Madrid would have been just as good though! Do you have any immediate plans for your next upcoming trip?I’d heard mixed reviews before I went, with the majority being quite negative. However, I absolutely loved Madrid. There are so many pretty cafes and restaurants, like the gorgeous ones you always see on Pinterest. Two days was definitely not enough – Madrid, I’ll be back. If you get the chance to visit, you should. The flights from the UK are so unbelievably cheap.

So there you have it, my interview with the wonderful Char from Taylor Hearts Travel in full – I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Love Jess x

 

My Week Ahead

Happy Monday everyone!

Hope you’ve all had a lovely day, welcome to the next instalment of my newest feature: My Week Ahead. I am off work today and tomorrow as I had some annual leave to use up before Christmas so I’m making the most of my time off… here are my plans!

Tomorrow I’m going to be catching up on things I rarely get time to do, such as housework etc but I’ll also be wrapping up Christmas presents while my family are out at work! It’s also the perfect opportunity to get some more blog posts written up while I have some free time. I’ve got loads of different ideas for the coming weeks and into the new year so be sure to keep an eye out for updates on my latest adventures!

On Thursday I have the afternoon off so I’m hoping to go into Oxford City Centre for some last minute shopping and to visit the famous Christmas markets. I’ll also stop for some lunch and enjoy the day before all the inevitably long queues in the stores start stressing me out!

On Saturday I’m working in the morning but planning on doing something nice in the afternoon before my works Christmas night out begins in the evening. I have purposely not booked to do anything at all on the Sunday so I can spend the day recovering! I usually hate wasting days, especially Sunday’s, but I’ll make an exception for this weekend considering its a big occasion!

What are you all up to this week? Have you got anything exciting planned? I’d love to hear from you so please comment below!

Love Jess x

REVEALED: EXCLUSIVE NEWS!

Hey everyone,

I know I only posted yesterday but I have some exciting news to share with you all!!

I have recently carried out  an exclusive interview with the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel and I am pleased to announce that I will have this published by the end of the week!

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Char very kindly agreed to do the interview with me via email whilst she was in between a couple of European trips; she’s definitely experiencing the jet setter lifestyle!

I am in the process of collating all my information and editing the piece before the finished product will be posted on my blog by the end of this week.

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www.taylorheartstravel.com

@TaylorHeartsTvl

Facebook.com/taylorheartstravel

Be sure to look out for my post soon and, for those of you that don’t already know, my next trip is The Clothes Show in Birmingham this coming Friday so I’ve got plenty to be updating you with over the next few days!

Love Jess x

New Feature: My Week Ahead!

Happy Monday everyone!

Welcome to a brand new blog feature of mine – My Week Ahead!

Starting from now, every Monday I will be posting details of plans I have for my week ahead. Up until Christmas I am super busy with lots of planned trips and activities, and I am sure that will continue into 2015 as I am already getting things booked in for the new year ahead!

This week I am working at my full time job 9-5 between Monday & Thursday, then off work Friday – Wednesday as I have some annual leave to take before the end of the year is here!

On Friday me and a close friend are hitting The Clothes Show Live at Birmingham’s NEC Arena which we are very excited about! There are a number of celebs attending with lots of well known fashion and beauty brands showcasing their latest products. The Clothes Show is something I have always wanted to go to and I am glad to finally be attending after years of hoping for tickets! I will of course post a write up of my day out once I have been.

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Image courtesy of www.thenec.co.uk

On the Saturday we have family visiting for the weekend so will be meeting up with them and showing them the sights of the Cotswolds! Being from Liverpool they absolutely love the countryside and in particular all the little shops and tea rooms on offer in places like Burford and Bourton on the Water so we’ll be sure to take them to those delights!

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Image courtesy of www.tripadvisor.com

On the Sunday we are planning to hit the Christmas markets at beautiful Stratford Upon Avon as we do every year leading up to Christmas! In the past couple of years we have been to Bath & Bristol which have both been brilliant so we are hoping Stratford will live up to our expectations and top the previous few markets we have been to!

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Image courtesy of www.heritagemews.co.uk

As I have a few extra days off I will be making the most of my long weekend and booking in some time to get lots of important jobs done, including tidying the house and getting all my Christmas presents wrapped up! I am pretty much finished with my Christmas Shopping now which I am super pleased with – I wonder how all of you have been getting on with this mammoth task?! I was due to go to Paris for a spontaneous weekend away with a friend but unfortunately the last minute Eurostar prices have shot right up and made it totally unaffordable for me at the moment what with Christmas approaching! Instead I will be chilling at home, getting things done and spending some quality time with the family!

I’ll be posting my write up of my weekend shortly, and will have a couple of small blog updates in-between so I hope you enjoy reading!

Speak soon!

Love Jess x

Blog alert.. London write up coming soon!

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http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/shopping?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=FBSOED00-shoplondon

Hi everyone!

So this post by visitlondon.com caught my eye recently as I’m heading to Knightsbridge and Oxford Street on Sunday to kick start my Christmas shopping!! I know it’s going to be super busy but we are hoping to brave the crowds and try to fit in a bit of sightseeing too!!

Keep an eye out on my blog for my write up on my Christmassy day out in London which I’ll be submitting as my next post!

Love Jess x