Last year I decided to drop everything and chase my dream of becoming a freelance travel writer. I had been overseas five times in 12 months and I knew there had to be a way I could turn my passion for immersing myself in the unknown and sharing my adventures through writing into a reliable income.
With all of these amazing experiences, I felt a great deal of inspiration to develop my craft and share it with the world. The thing was, I had no clue where to begin. I didn’t know any magazine editors or bloggers who could refer me to get my work published. I was starting completely from scratch.
I was already using Instagram to post my photography and document my travels and I thought it was time I amped up my game and really committed to making this “digital nomad” thing work. I began to write more in-depth captions for my photos, detailing the place, my feelings and the one-off experiences and people I had encountered.
From this more personal and detailed approach to my Instagram, I saw a notable increase in my engagement. Every time I posted an Instagram story I would get not only friends but also random people from across the world messaging me and asking about the content.
With all these genuine responses and interest in my content, I took the opportunity to begin writing my own personal blog posts. This was the most vital building block for developing my writing skills and learning my tone of voice, which would set me apart from all of the other freelance writers out there.
I got into the habit of subscribing to all of my favorite travel publications and tourism destination bodies so that I could learn the type of content that was being published in the industry. I even found in-flight travel magazines and trolled the pages looking for editor’s contact information. This research set me up with a list of solid publications I genuinely believed in, and the correct contact information for the people I needed to pitch my work to.
After a few months, and a lot of unanswered pitches later, I slowly started to get the hang of being my own boss. I finally saw my name in the author byline of many of the publications I had been an active fan of for many years. My path to becoming a freelance travel writer and earning a living from my life on the road was one paved with passion, dedication, persistence and a lot of hours sitting in front of my computer perfecting my articles and pitches.
For all of those budding travel-bugs with a passion for writing and content creation, here are some tips to get you started:
Collate a list of your favorite publications and writers and read, read, read until you clearly distinguish what space you want to specialize in. Then it’s time to put yourself out there and start actually writing! Sometimes you’ll be writing for free in the beginning but this is a vital learning phase in your career to be able to establish your own voice and become a more confident writer.
Share everything. Social media is a wonderful promotional tool so when you take a good travel picture or write a new article, make sure you’re sharing these online and people will start to see it. Try using location tags, tagging relevant tourism bodies and location accounts, and using relevant hashtags to make your post more visible to new followers.
If you’re planning an upcoming trip, make sure you reach out to a few publishers you think might be interested in your journey. Curate an angle that fits in with their audience and write an engaging email pitch for your content piece.
I recently went on a trip to Far North Queensland in Australia and was contracted to write an article from this trip. Here are some examples of how I promoted this across my social media to drive more viewers to the article:
So go on, grab a cup of tea and a dose of inspiration and get writing! I promise you’ll love the journey.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up heretoday and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]