In this interview with Gorkana, the UK’s media intelligence company, our Managing Editor Sharron Livingston talks about turning her hobby into a full-time job, the impact of two million Twitter followers and why Monte Carlo and India’s Amritsar are her dream destinations.
The Travel Magazine started as a hobby to share some travel tips with friends and family. When and how did you realise it was going to become a proper magazine?
It may sound bizarre but The Travel Magazine still feels like a hobby. I love all things travel and can talk about it endlessly. The Travel Magazine is a fantastic outlet.
However, when we reached a Twitter following of two million earlier this year, the penny finally dropped that we do in fact have a “proper magazine”. The aim now is to encourage engagement and to this end I have recently started working full time on the site.
In 2009 you decided to switch to online with the help of digital marketing expert Martino Matijevic. Can you tell us what challenges you faced and what are the differences, if any, between print and online?
It was a severe learning curve and sometimes painful. The fact is when people read something online they don’t have the patience to read narrative. We had to reduce the bounce rate. We had to learn the power of the succinct word and meeting a need for the required information head on. We are still learning and evolving to keep up with the needs of the modern traveller.
What role does social media play for the magazine?
Social media is paramount for the existence of The Travel Magazine. We use a social media model. Without anything in print, the internet is the only mode of communication we have. Thankfully it’s a huge and varied space and we use it to tell our stories and inform readers about worthwhile trips, news and products. It works well for us.
What makes The Travel Magazine different from other outlets in your sector?
The Travel Magazine is a successful mix of editorial and social media expertise. The two used to be regarded as entirely separate. We are learning that these two strands of communication can be seamlessly symbiotic.
Who is the typical The Travel Magazine reader?
Over 70 percent of our readers are between 25 and 54. They tend to be on the look-out for new experiences and seek out hotels that meet their needs. Some say that the site is currently too general. We agree. We are currently working on creating niche sections – romance, families etc. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter – we will keep you posted.
How can PRs help with content?
Keep in touch. Let us know what is going on with your clients. I don’t mind being bombarded. Invites are appreciated too. With so many new sections to be populated with content I would love to hear from you.
Is there anything you definitely won’t cover?
If it’s to do with travel, we will cover it.
And finally, which top three destinations would you most like to visit/review and why?
I’ll go anywhere in search of experience, culture, or even just a rest. However, Monte Carlo has alluring glamour and Amritsar (India) has its golden temple. These are still on my wish list. I still have not visited Australasia – so many islands, so little time!
Sharron Livingston was interviewed by Gorkana’s Manuela Rundo.