Now more than ever, travel-related businesses understand the power of words. They rely on compelling online descriptions of their resorts and destinations to attract today’s tourists. Most importantly, they know that unique and high-quality content is key to having sites show up at the top of page rankings.
High-quality travel writing is going to become more important as websites vie for the best tourism-centered articles. If you’ve always wanted to be a travel writer, I’d say it’s a good time to pack your bags and go for it. Opportunities to write about your journeys are abundant. To get your foot in the door, use one of these 3 strategies:
Begin in your own backyard.
Potential purchasers of your travel pieces want proof that you can entertain their readers. So, build up a portfolio. If you haven’t traveled enough to write about your journeys, or you can’t afford to travel extensively, hone those writing skills in your own hometown.
Local publications, including newspapers and parenting magazines, often purchase short descriptive travel pieces or longer features on nearby destinations. Most magazines addressing the needs of parents set a yearly calendar that tells you exactly which theme each issue covers. The specific angle for each issue not only gives ideas for travel writing, it also helps you deliver the relevant article to the editors by the themed-issue deadline.
An example can be found in these writers guidelines for a parenting magazine circulated in the Carolinas. As you can see by their publishing schedule, they devote one entire issue to traveling with children. But they also publish issues about camps, fall fun, and holiday togetherness. Creative travel writers who craft articles on these additional themes will sell more travel-related pieces throughout the year. This holds true for other regional parenting magazines with themed issues.
A local paper may not want to pay much or even anything for your travel pieces, especially if they don’t know you. Let them publish your work anyway. Your goal is to build up your legitimacy and your portfolio, so view these freebies as opportunities to get your name recognized and more links associated with it. Just know what you’re worth and don’t work for “exposure” forever.
Get in the tourism game.
Visit the local tourism boards and visitor centers to get fresh ideas about places to write about in your area. Don’t be afraid to approach local tourism-related businesses if you think their websites or other promotional materials are lacking quality. When you notice content that needs updating, write a small spec piece about their business and send it to them. Let the business know that this is the quality you will bring to their website if they hire you.
Numerous nonprofits offer travel opportunities in other countries. You might work to save elephants, help grow rice, or spend time teaching English to Buddhist monks. These volunteer journeys give you fresh, personal insights into other people and cultures. And your experiences provide plenty of writing material.
Visit volunteer sites online to learn about the broad range of places to visit and their volunteer needs. This directory has listings and reviews of opportunities, but the site also hires people who write about volunteering abroad. To work for them, you should have some experience volunteering abroad and a good social media response to your current writing. They pay new writers a moderate but decent rate; one of their recent postings on this job board stated pay of $100 for articles 1500-2000 words in length.
You will have to pay to participate in most of their listings. Know that the fees only cover minimal expenses while you’re in the host country. Your airfare, passports, and immunizations are your responsibility. Even though the costs are low for comparable travel abroad, this is an introductory option for folks with some spare cash. But your church or organization may have volunteer opportunities abroad for which they help pay your expenses, so keep your eyes open for other low-cost volunteer travel opportunities.
Niche that blog.
Are you a horse owner who loves trail-riding trips to the Pacific Northwest to hunt for Bigfoot, or an anime fan who adores Japanese culture and Pocky chocolate? You may believe there’s already a blog out there for every travel-related activity known to man and woman. But then, many theme-specific blogs are short-lived or low-quality.
Even if superior blogs cover the same unique travel interest, we need fresh voices on any subject. Network with others involved in your niche travel market to gain insight and support. Join forums that relate to your blog topic, and stay active on said forums while doing low-key promotion of your work (if permitted by their terms of service.) This helps you gain name recognition among the people most interested in your niche topic.
To create content for your blog, study the questions asked by people interested in your niche topic, and create articles that answer those questions. Post reviews of related products on your blog, too. If you’re a biking enthusiast, for example, do reviews of pedaling shorts or tires. You can also add news articles about the area or activity that is the focus of your blog. Build engagement and content through your calls to action, by asking your readers to comment on stories, tell you about their experiences, or post pictures. Don’t forget the need for great images and videos on your site to add interest.
Print and online niche travel publications are always looking for new writers who understand the important players, nuances and slang of their specific destinations and activities. As you add quality content to your niche site, your expertise will grow, and your site will attract the attention of key people in that niche market.
Start travel writing!
These are only 3 of the many ways to break into the travel writing category. To learn about other ways to get noticed, read interviews with successful travel writers to learn how they began their travel writing careers. For some, it all started with a job overseas. For others, it took years of plugging away to gain notice. You’ll no doubt come up with your own strategies to become a writer who gets paid to travel. When you do, share them with the readers at the Writers Domain blog.
This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.