Anastasia Fountouli: Queen Bee of travel bloggers
Ever fancied becoming a travel blogger? We asked Anastasia Fountouli who writes the travel and lifestyle blog natbees.com for some advice on getting started…
I moved to Aberdeen in 2013 after spending four years living in England. I came to the city to start my PhD studies. Initially, I thought I’d stay in Scotland for the duration of my studies and then move back home, then I met my boyfriend and now I am an adopted Aberdonian!
How did you get started in travel blogging?
In 2007, I took a few months off to travel around Europe and the UK. I was smitten with the experience and decided to blog about it to keep my family and friends in the loop. Blogging was a new concept at the time and only people who knew my blog’s URL were able to read my stories. With no social media or other apps distracting me, I was updating the blog regularly with my adventures including short posts and images I took with my old camera. By today’s standards this was pretty much like Instagramming.
What would your advice be to others who’d like to start a blog but don’t really know where to start?
Just do it! Think of a catchy name and start writing about the things that interest you and you love. Soon enough you will attract people who are interested in your content and start building an audience.
What makes a good blogger?
Persistence, patience and adaptability. The social media and blogging community constantly evolves so you need to keep up with the trends and update your blog regularly. People think it is easy as they confuse it with social media posting but blogging is something completely different. As a blogger you need to write articles regularly, be good at image capturing and editing, videography, be proactive on social media and understand customer’s journey to work with brands. It’s time-consuming and it takes years to build a loyal audience and understand the business behind it, that’s why it’s really important you blog about something you love.
How do you find your niche and build your audience?
I think I was lucky because I started at a time that there was no competition and building an audience was much easier than it is now. There were no social media, so all my focus was on my blog and my blog posts were not lost in a sea of content as it happens now. I found my niche when I moved to Aberdeen. I remember searching online for other Aberdeen bloggers to e-meet them before moving to the city and there were only 3! So, as soon as I moved, I knew I was within good chances to have my blog read if I’d write more about Aberdeen and my experiences as a student abroad. That’s when I established my Instagram account too (@natbeestravels) and started posting about the pretty buildings of Aberdeen.
When you are busy recording your reactions to a new place, researching it and writing about it for your audience, do you ever feel you miss out on experiencing a place?
Yes, constantly! When I am being invited to review a hotel or write about an experience, I am constantly switched on as I don’t want to miss out on a chance to capture something interesting with my camera. My main goal is to create strong visuals and take notes of the feelings I am experiencing to write an article that will make my readers feel like they were there with me. I also need to produce videos for my Instagram Stories and other social media so sometimes I feel I re-live the experience to a greater extend when I am writing about the experience than when I am on location.
If you could go anywhere, where would you choose and why?
Australia for its sandy beaches, sunshine and outdoors focused lifestyle.
If you could go back in time, where would you like to explore and when?
If there was a time machine I’d love to go to ancient Olympia in Greece and watch the first Olympic Games. I’d also like to see the Acropolis being built, speak to street philosophers in the Agora and take part in one of Plato’s symposiums. On another back-in-time trip, I’d travel to Santorini 100 years ago and buy a house in a prime location as right now one must work two lifetimes to get the tiniest of properties in this beautiful island!
Where is your favourite area in Aberdeen?
No doubt, that is Old Aberdeen!
With its beautiful cobbled streets and historic buildings, what’s not to love?
It’s one of my most favourite places to visit all year round but especially in
What do you always have with you when you travel?
My camera and various lenses! I am obsessed with photography and videography and I love flipping through the pages of a photo album. It brings me nostalgia and happiness at the same time.
Where would you recommend to travel to in Scotland for a staycation later this year?
Scotland has some of the most stunning beaches and a very interesting coastline that many would be jealous of. I’d book myself a weekend getaway in St Andrews followed by a week travelling around the Outer Hebrides, I’ve heard Vatersay Bay is a dream!
Check out Anastasia’s blog at natbees.com