Want a way to get paid to travel?
Consider travel writing as your vehicle to roam the world, write about your experiences, and cash in on all the many adventures you take. Below are five travel writing secrets to hopefully lead you in the right direction…
Secret #1 – Don’t Write the Article Before it’s Sold
Sell the headline before you write anything…
Never write an article until you’ve already sold the headline. Keep this in mind: You have NO IDEA what kind of article editors want, even if they like the topic you’re writing about.
How many words should it be?
Should it be in first-person?
Do they need photos?
I mean, you have absolutely no information to work with in order to write an article that’ll sell. Every media outlet has its own style, and whatever article you write for them will need to mirror that style.
So, never try to attempt to figure out what type of article will sell. Pitch the headline, negotiate your fee, THEN write the article (after you find out what kind of article your editor would like you to write).
Secret #2 – Choose Your Adventure Wisely
Pick an adventure you can write at least ten articles about.
The adventure-planning process should be a part of your travel writing career. Find something that editors and audience are interested in learning more about; that’s how you sell the stories you’re going to write. You can’t just go to the Bahamas and stay at some resort and expect people to care.
You can get great at angling story ideas, but for the most part, it helps if you have an interesting trip planned to begin with.
Go to an exotic jungle, an unknown beach, a weird restaurant, a unique show, knock something off your bucklet list somewhere awesome, then begin angling the topic for different audiences.
For instance, if you were planning a trip to Antarctica, you could angle it in many different ways so that you’re not recycling the same trip; you’re writing many stories about one journey.
You can write an animal-focused piece first, then a health-related piece second, then a travel photography-centered piece third… and so on.
I have taken trips that I wrote about for years. The point is, make sure wherever you’re going is “spin-worthy.”
Secret #3 – You Don’t Need Connections
It’s not about who you know, it’s about knowing who you need to know.
When I started as a travel writer, I knew nobody. Whenever anyone starts something new they know very little. But as long as you know who can make your career possible, that’s all you need.
All you need to know is who you need to know, then get to know them. Put a strategy for building relationships with the people that can help you get where you want to go.
Create a dream media list of sites you want to write for, authors you want to collaborate with, magazines you want to appear in. Don’t forget about your local papers! People DO read those and they DO pay!
Make list of at least a hundred editors and media professionals that can publish your work and pay you money for your writing. Continue to build that list every week.
Let’s say you want to write about food. You’re the next Anthony Bourdain. Well, there are plenty of places to find food editors.
Here’s a quick hack: Just head to Twitter and type in “Food Editor” in the search bar and a slew of people will show up. Boom. Now you have your list. How will you befriend them?
Well… that’s where you need to get creative. But you’ll see it’s quite easy to find the people you need to know. You can start out knowing NOBODY and know EVERYBODY by the end of the year–even by the end of your FIRST month!
Secret #4 – Get A Buzz
Generate buzz by launching your own PR campaign.
Pick a topic you know a lot about (this doesn’t have to be travel-related at all), and launch a PR campaign for yourself. Become your own publicist.
Let’s say teaching was your former life, or sewing, or finance… Whatever it may be, become an expert in your field. This is how you create leverage so that people actually WANT you to contribute to their media outlet.
Schedule some interviews with the press, go on some radio shows or podcasts, do some TV appearances–and local TV is one of the best places to start.
Chat about how other people can integrate your expertise on their next adventure/ vacation. There’s much more to this, and it may sound crazy to you now, but this is the way I have consistently generated buzz around myself as a traveler.
The more leverage you have, the easier it is to land gigs and get higher fees. You are as important as your stories.
Secret #5 – Nobody Cares Where You’re Going
Take readers on a journey with you, not to a destination.
People don’t care about places; they care about people. It doesn’t matter AS MUCH where you’re going as it does what you’re going to do there, and why it’s so important to you.
That’s the type of juicy story the public, and the media, want to digest. The more honest you are the better people listen.
Educate and entertain. Once you can nail those two skillsets, you’ll be able to turn any adventure you go on into a practical article that should be written, and will be written (by you).
If you’d like to see how this is all executed step-by-step, enroll in The Secret to Travel Writing. It’s very inexpensive for the value and this is a unique formula that only Vagabond Secrets uses.
We have proven case studies as well as email support if you get lost.
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