Busting Travel Blogging Burnout: Pro Tips from Shelley Marmor

Brittany Sawyer Brittany Sawyer
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Shelley Marmor, the creator behind Travel Mexico Solo and five other successful blogs, including Travel Blogging 101, shared her tips for how to overcome blogxiety and how to start making money from your blog in our recent How to Avoid Travel Blogging Burnout: Blogxiety Webinar. Shelley grew her travel blog into a multi-six-figure business in just three years — which means she knows a thing or two about gaining success as a travel blogger while battling blogxiety. Let’s dive right into what Shelley shared with us during the webinar!

What’s the Secret to Blogging Success?

While Shelley thinks there are several factors that contribute to blogging success, one of the most important to her success (and the success of other travel bloggers) is posting a lot of high-quality content regularly. However, there is just one thing that gets in the way of publishing content consistently — blogxiety!

A screenshot of Shelley Marmor, the creator of Travel Mexico Solo, with some information about her travel blogging business.
Shelley Marmor, the creator of Travel Mexico Solo and four other blogs, has learned how to develop a multi-six-figure business as a travel blogger despite blogxiety.

Shelley’s Secrets for Publishing Content Consistently (Despite Blogxiety)

Shelley says it’s normal for all travel bloggers (herself included!) to experience blogxiety. However, instead of “curing” blogxiety or waiting for these feelings to pass to begin travel blogging consistently, Shelley is a big believer in staying consistent with blogging — even when you are experiencing blogxiety.

In our recent webinar, Shelley shared some of her best tips and secrets for publishing content consistently (despite blogxiety) — and we’re rounding them all up below!

Tip #1: Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers.

During a recent survey we conducted at Travelpayouts, we found that the top source of blogxiety for travel bloggers is comparing themselves to other successful travel bloggers. Can you relate? Fortunately, Shelley hit this topic on the head during our webinar.

In the webinar, Shelley shared these three practical tips to help travel bloggers stop comparing themselves to other bloggers:

  1. Unfollow triggering content — Shelley said the first tip is a “hard stop.” If you are following someone on social media who is contributing to your blogxiety, it’s much better to unfollow this person than to continue to experience these negative feelings.
  2. Use a website blocker — Website blockers keep you from being able to visit certain websites (like Instagram or TikTok) at certain times of the day (or permanently) — and they’re super easy to set up on your own. Shelley recommends using BlockSite (or another similar website blocker) to create blocks for websites that contribute to your blogxiety or prevent you from getting work completed.
  3. Do something from your “easy” task list — Shelley has an “easy” task list that includes “quick win” tasks like keyword research, spell-checking posts, writing alt text, doing collab posts, and internal linking. Shelley encourages bloggers to create their own list of “quick wins” (or steal hers!) that they can turn to when they’re having a hard day and just need to get something done to move the needle forward on a project.
A screenshot of a list that says, “My Easy Tasks,” and lists out the following tasks: keyword research, spell-checking posts, putting in the alt text, doing collab posts, and internal linking.
Creating an “easy” task list, like this list Shelley shared during the webinar, will ensure you always have something to do to move the needle forward in your business, even when you’re combatting comparison, writer’s block, or blogxiety.

Tip #2a: Stop the social media overload.

During the same survey conducted by our team at Travelpayouts, we revealed that social media overload was one of the leading causes of blogxiety among travel bloggers.

During her presentation, Shelley shared some information about how social media fuels the dopamine cycle — you open social media, perform an action (creating a post), wait for a reaction (likes or comments), and when the reaction is completed, it triggers the “reward” in your brain, and the dopamine cycle is complete! However, the only way to keep the cycle going is to continue posting on social media, which leaves you caught in an endless (and often toxic) cycle of social media usage.

In our webinar, Shelley shared these three useful tips to help bloggers break the dopamine cycle and the seemingly endless overload from social media:

  1. Delete social media apps — Deleting social media apps, like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, from your phone (or using a website blocker on your computer) is a great way to keep yourself from scrolling social media instead of getting work done.
  2. Turn to the “easy” task list — Completing something from your “easy” task list and physically checking that item off the list gives your brain the same hit of dopamine you experience from social media.
  3. Try the Pomodoro technique — The Pomodoro technique is a time-management method that involves 25 minutes of focused work time followed by a five-minute break. So, if you need to check social media during work, complete the full work session and then check your social media during the five-minute break. Shelley recommends Focus To-Do — a time and task management application — to help you follow the Pomodoro technique to complete tasks efficiently.

Tip #2b: Decide if you even need social media.

Shelley also wanted to remind travel bloggers that they do not need social media to be successful. “I’m a multi-six-figure blogger, and I do zero social media,” said Shelley. If social media is the primary cause of your blogxiety, Shelley encourages you to take a step back and ask yourself — “do I really need social media?

Shelley mentioned plenty of successful bloggers don’t use social media at all. To understand why, it’s important to understand the difference between a blogger and an influencer — and while many travel bloggers are both bloggers and influencers, juggling both titles (and tasks) is not essential to being a successful travel blogger.

Shelley shared that a travel blogger needs just one thing: a blog. As long as you have a website that you’re publishing blog posts on, you’re a travel blogger — and you don’t need to have social media accounts. However, as a travel influencer, you need social media accounts to partner with travel brands. Shelley encourages travel bloggers to ask themselves: “Do I want to be a blogger, an influencer, or both?” If you want just to be a blogger, Shelley encourages you to feel the freedom to step away from social media and focus solely on your blog.

Tip #3: Learn how to overcome writer’s block.

In the Travelpayouts survey about blogxiety, we revealed that writer’s block is another significant source of burnout in travel bloggers. During the webinar, Shelley shared her six practical tips for “unblocking” writer’s block:

  1. Aim for progress (not perfection) — Shelley said there is no such thing as perfection, so instead of expecting the world, just expect yourself to get something done while blogging. You’ll feel much more accomplished this way!
  2. Take a short break from writing — If you are struggling with overwhelming writer’s block, Shelley suggests stepping away from writing altogether and turning to your “easy” task list to get something else done. She says sometimes it’s best even to take a break from work altogether to go for a walk, make a snack, or call a friend.
  3. Write an outline — Since writing an outline isn’t actually writing, Shelley mentioned that completing an outline is a great way to feel accomplished. Who knows — it may even inspire you to get started on the post itself!
  4. Visualize yourself writing — If you’re struggling with writer’s block, Shelley suggests closing your eyes for one second and picturing yourself typing on the computer. Sometimes, this thought process triggers your brain to start the writing process.
  5. Work on “free” writing — Instead of writing a blog post, take some time to write something else. You can write poetry, start journaling, or even write gibberish. Start working on anything but a blog post (or “work”) to see if it gets the wheels turning.
  6. Think of topic post clusters — Shelley encourages bloggers to come up with topic post clusters from previous content to get inspiration for new content. She shared an example in the webinar about how to create content clusters for a blog post about the “Best Tours in Paris.” Shelley came up with the subtopics “Best Food Tours in Paris,” “Best Walking Tours in Paris,” “Best Boat Tours in Paris,” and “Best Bike Tours in Paris.” She said you’ll likely have one or two tours from each subcategory in the post, which is an excellent starting place for a newer and more targeted post.
A purple diagram explaining how to create affiliate post topic clusters for a single larger topic and several smaller subtopics.
Shelley shared this diagram of affiliate post topic clusters during her presentation to explain how to use an existing blog post (like the “Best Tours in Paris”) to come up with another more targeted blog post (like the “Best Food Tours in Paris”).

In addition to Shelley’s excellent tips, you can also read these tips for overcoming writer’s block as a travel blogger from our team at Travelpayouts for further inspiration.

Blogxiety Q&A with Shelley Marmor

Shelley answered a few questions during our Q&A about overcoming writer’s block, making money as a travel blogger, and building trust and community. Here are her answers:

Q: Do you believe that specific writing schedules or routines help to prevent writer’s block?

I don’t prefer working on a writing schedule or routine, but if that’s what works for you — you should go for it.

Q: Should bloggers be relying on affiliate posts or advertising revenue to make extra income?

Bloggers should focus on both affiliate and advertising revenue for their blogs if they want to make money — and the most successful travel blogging businesses have multiple income streams.

I make the most money from affiliate marketing on affiliate marketing platforms, like Travelpayouts, but I also have three of my websites on Mediavine (an advertising management platform). I encourage bloggers to have as many income streams as possible, including affiliate income, advertising income, and other creative income streams.

Q: How do you create a community without being on social media?

Creating a community is “influencer stuff,” while search engine optimization is “blogger stuff.” Since I’m a blogger, I’m not as focused on creating a community, but instead, I am focused on ranking my websites as high on Google as possible to answer travelers’ questions about traveling to Mexico.

I encourage bloggers who don’t want to be on social media but still want a community to start creating a community through an email list.

Q: How do you build trust with your audience?

I establish authority at the beginning of my posts to build trust. In the first paragraph or two, 

I tell my readers I have been living in Mexico since 2018, have traveled extensively through the country, and only blog about Mexico — therefore establishing credibility.

Start Earning with Affiliate Marketing to Combat Blogxiety

During the webinar, Shelley shared that affiliate income is her largest income stream as a travel blogger — and we know that earning consistent revenue is a great way to stay inspired and avoid travel blogging burnout.
If you’re looking for a platform to get started with affiliate marketing, we would love to have you join the Travelpayouts Partnership Platform. After joining, you’ll have access to hundreds of well-known affiliate programs, including Booking.com, GetYourGuide, and Viator, so you can start earning an income from travel blogging without feeling burnt out.

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