Bringing something unusual for her audience is her USP; meet Deepika Gumaste, travel influencer and blogger of Feet On The Map as she shares her experiences with a lot of behind the curtains dope.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
2015, when I fell sick and was forced to take a work sabbatical, that’s when it all began. I was forced in a new beginning, although my tryst with writing found its roots back in 7th standard when I won an essay writing competition in my school. That’s when I knew, I had to write!
What’s in the name?
Everything. The name of your brand- whether a company or personal is everything. When I started blogging, everything was tried and tested. Somebody said, “my journey”, somebody said, “XX writes”, somebody else said “xx travels.” It was all taken. I decided to go with some random name and buy a domain. Within a day, I had taken my blog down. So, Feet on the Map really was a eureka moment. Purely accidental. But it turned out to be a name, people could easily remember and it stood out. So it became my identity.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
I have always believed, I write well and I try to plan my travels, in a way, that I end up bringing something unusual for my audiences. Beyond that, I try to put in action my mother’s advice- “the more personal, it will be more universal.” I do try to bring in my own personal style to everything.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I write only when I truly feel like. I write only about experiences, which I feel have made an impact on me. Just because I traveled to some obscure (“offbeat destination”, as it is known in the blogging scenes), I don’t feel compelled to write about it. I am a storyteller, so I try to create narratives about the places I visit, people I meet, experiences I have. I am not a guide writer. I don’t write guides as I feel there are enough books and websites to do that. My objective is to create a desire in my reader to visit the place, meet the people who they have never met, the food they have never had. I hope to encourage them to take the journey for their own and discover something for themselves in the process.
How do you rake moolah with your efforts?
I work through brand collaborations- which could be sponsored posts or experiential in nature.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
There are many ways to make money, but the focus is really on quality and not quantity. I work with brands on collaborations and sponsored posts, only when I am truly convinced about their vision and only if it fits into mine- which is basically sustainable and responsible travel.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
When my blog landed me a gig with Lonely Planet! :)
Also Read: Interview: Blogging is not your free pass to be a freeloader: Parampara Patil Hashmi, Awara Diaries
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
When someone asks me if they could write an op-ed on my blog. I understand some bloggers are open to it. But I believe, my blog is my unique voice and I will keep it that way, for now.
If not blogging, you would be?
Definitely a writer
A day in your life….
Reading, reading and lots of reading. Add some chai to it, please!
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
There will be innumerable instances when you feel like quitting. That’s when don’t delete the blog. Sleepover it, till the feeling is gone. Unless, of course, you want to quit writing/blogging altogether. Your blog is your portfolio.
Your Favorite Influencer
Many, but Shivya Nath is the name that comes to mind. You absolutely live her experience through mere words!
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
That I become a favorite influencer of someone. Haha, jokes apart, I guess, I would like to see many more stories added to my blog in the coming future. I also hope to take a few speaking gigs up in the future and expand my space to share stories of peoples and destinations, not found on any map. I, someday also hope to convert my stories into a book.