When I began writing in 2014, I was seeking the perks that come along with the writer’s life.
What I discovered along the way has opened a new world of luxury travel, fantastic food and wine, and outrageous experiences. It has also shown me that travel writing and travel blogging go hand-in-hand.
The secret sauce
The secret sauce for getting these perks? Always having a “back pocket publication” which is my travel blog, Betsi’s World.
When I apply for press trips or am asked to visit a fabulous resort, like Sandals, or a historic hotel like the Beaumont Inn in Kentucky, I provide a list of my potential publications. This includes my blog which has a large readership.
Destinations, resorts, and PR reps love having multiple stories written about my experiences during the visit, so they’re happy to have me feature stories on my blog, in addition to the stories I’ll pitch to paid publications.
Blogging benefits your travel writing
Blogging has the added benefit of helping you hone your writing skills. You can experiment with different types of articles. You can write long-form pieces, listicles (list-style or “round-up” articles), short pieces, quest-style narratives, and more.
Your blog can be the incubator to help you discover your unique writing style and voice. Blogging might lead you, as it did me, to be a specialist.
I write about travel in the South, Florida, Bahamas, and Caribbean by land or by sea. Why? Because it fits my lifestyle as a semi-nomad. My husband and I spend large chunks of time onboard our boat, island hopping from the East Coast down to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. As a result, this is what I write about, both on the blog and for publications.
So, you really don’t have to choose between blogging or writing for paid publications—you can do both! But, in order to do so, there are some general guidelines you’ll want to follow…
Best practices for writing and blogging together
Articles for publication and blog posts must be different. This is especially true if a publication is paying you for the article. Some publications may appreciate you sharing a link to the published article—but be sure to check their preferences before you share the link on your blog.
Never use the same photo for both travel writing and blogging—as with the written article, a publication may require exclusive use of any photo from you.
Being organized is critical. Here’s my system for organizing my blog posts and paid articles…
Organization is the key to maximizing productivity
After returning home from a trip, I have a system to organize and create stories in order to give the hosts of the trip the best return on their investment.
Frist, I take all of my notes and organize them by day. If I took notes on my phone, I transfer them to my laptop, edit them, print them out, and put the itinerary on top.
Next, I organize my photos by activity.
Then, taking the itinerary and notes, I create a list of story ideas and potential publications to pitch these stories to and print it out.
Once this is complete, I create a file with the trip name and date.
On average, a three-day trip will yield five to ten stories. The best stories for my blog will be hotel reviews, spa reviews, and listicles on the top attractions and top local restaurants.
Once I have the listicles written, then I can break these apart, and repurpose the content for paid publications, writing more in-depth articles that feature just one of the restaurants or one of the attractions.
One trip, multiple stories
Many of the trips that I take involve visiting more than one destination. Often I will visit six or more small towns on a three-day visit.
These type of trips are my bread and butter because I can write blog posts on the road trip, hotel and spa reviews, and a listicle post on the top local restaurants and things to do.
Then I can break the trip down even further for paid publications. I can write a food article on a particular restaurant; a winery, brewery or distillery article; a specific attraction article; or focus on one aspect of a place, such as “Memphis and Its Role in Civil Rights.”
I can pitch a feature story on the destination, including its history and things to do and see. I might have an interview with a spectacular chef, brewer, distiller, or winemaker that I can also pitch to publications.
Once I have all of my stories from a trip planned out, I schedule them on my content marketing calendar. I also use my content marketing calendar to track my pitches and to schedule follow-up emails to be sent out to the editors I have not heard back from.
Having my blog as a back-pocket publication has allowed me to take some fantastic trips, get some unbelievable perks, and receive some fabulous products for review, working with major brands that include Jord Wood Watches, Tenth Street Hats, Wonderbag portable slow cooker, and more!
For me, travel writing and blogging go hand-in-hand and are a match made in heaven!