Thai travel blogs and how to make yours better

Thai travel blogs and how to make yours better

Your Thailand travel blog isn't very good - but don't worry, I can help you. Follow my instructions and you'll soon be on your way to attracting an online audience.

Let's face it, your writing is dull and what you are doing is boring. It's not new (except to you) and the way you are telling it makes people zone out. The best and most widely read blogs are controversial. They polarize people and make them ecstatic or angry. But even if you can't summon up the wherewithal to be different, there are still ways you can be more interesting.

Have an opinion. The only thing that distinguishes you and the other 10,000 people teaching English in Thailand is YOU. Nobody, except your parents, cares if you can be a clown in the classroom. Nobody cares if you ate fried rice for breakfast. And nobody (not even your parents) care if you just bought a beach pebble on a string at a local market for a discounted fifty baht.

Offer an opinion that distinguishes between what you do now and what you did in the past or what other people are doing now. Nobody really gives a toss about two nappy wearing vegans who live in a shack at a crappy school in Nakorn Nowhere... unless one of them is having second thoughts and wants to go home, or one of them is getting drunk and screwing ladyboys.

Don't do reviews. I have better and more reliable places on the internet to turn to for reviews. Unless you have had a particularly extraordinary experience at a restaurant or hotel, then keep it to yourself.

Don't do facts. I recently read a REALLY long, detailed blog on Thai marriage. All the facts were there. It was nicely written... short paragraphs, bullet points and useful information on what to do, where to go, requirements needed, etc. It's probably really interesting if you're a man about to get married to a Thai girl. But really he could have simply posted a link to Thai Visa and saved himself a few hours of work.

The problem is that lists of facts can be found anywhere. The information isn't new and there are better places to find this information. Also, there was a sense of detachment about the whole piece. It was impersonal and dull... it wasn't a 'blog.'

Don't share with us what you ate or bought. I don't care what you ate... unless it's extremely interesting and you have photos. For example, if you have recently eaten stuffed toads in Cambodia and have pics to prove it, THEN I'm interested. Nom-tam-sum-tom-bing-bang-bong is BORING. Keep it in your belly and squirt it out later into a hole in the ground, not an online travel blog!

Always have a comments section that you engage with. If you don't have a place for me to add my opinion to your opinions then I don't like your blog. Blogs should be interactive, interesting and (genuinely) controversial.

And be thick skinned. Be ready for a barrage of criticism. More importantly, learn to embrace criticism and carry on regardless. Accept that it's part of writing a public account to your thoughts online.

Develop a pithy style and use headlines. Even the most fascinating stories can be rendered painful to digest by bad design. Nobody wants to read an endless stream of words. Break up your writing into short snappy paragraphs. Use multiple headings to guide people through the direction of your story and have original photos to break the monotony.

If you aren't a professional writer - don't try to be. Seen a cool word, looked it up and now you want to use it? Well, don't. Keep the language simple. It's a blog not a novel and you're a marketing major from Hull university not bloody P G Wodehouse.

Avoid all quotes by famous people. They are pretentious garbage. 'You know, Mark Twain once said...' I already want to kill you!

Don't add pictures of famous or interesting places that you go to unless you are in them and doing something stupid. I've lost count of the amount of blogs I have seen that have photos of a market in them. Or a stray dog. Or someone selling a mango. Or a slightly blurred off-center picture of the view from your crappy apartment. (It's a mountain in the distance and overhanging electrical street cables in the foreground, am I right? Brilliant!) Unless you want me to come over and break your camera, stop doing this!

Here's a list of words to avoid...

Amazing. If I see this in your blog I will hunt you down and stab you with your own pen.
Delicacies - Thai food is a world away from being delicate. Don't describe your street food poisons as delicacies.
Adorable - cute. Yeah, we get it. Your students worship you because you're so great and they are so cool. They squeak and squeal and touch your hair. Limit the adjectives to ones that won't make me barf. Thanks, much appreciated!

Read through your blog and count the references to 'I'... Now destroy them all. I thank you! And any word with 'iron' in it. (Irony/ironic) You don't know what it means and I hate people pretending that they do.

Finally...Above all - edit yourself and keep it short. Ask yourself this... "Am I writing a blog or a journal?" If it's longer than about 500 words, then it's too long or it's a two-parter!

Right, I'm off to the market now to buy some amazing nom-tam-sum-tom-bing-bang-bong. I'll write all about it when I get back.

Mark


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