As travel writers, we all yearn to get published, be paid for our stories, and travel more. And of course, have those travels and adventures not come out of our own pockets. It’s part of the joys of the trade.
I heard Tina Turner’s catchy tune What’s Love Got to Do With It? playing the other day and it got me thinking about how much love actually has to do with success in travel writing.
Why, you might ask? Because love is about relationships. And relationships are of vital importance in the travel industry.
What writer doesn’t want to hear an editor say he or she loved their story? Or a visitor’s bureau rep share with a colleague how much they loved working with the writer that came to their destination?
Writers can set themselves up for success and set themselves apart from others just by infusing a little more love into the process. It’s really rather easy, as I’ve discovered as a travel writer.
1. Love the story you’re telling.
A good story isn’t about stringing a group of words into sentences. A good story brings the reader along on the journey by using the six senses and wonderfully descriptive words. When a writer tells a story about a destination, or an experience that they feel strongly about, the reader can’t help but be transported to the story’s setting and into the story itself.
So, not only write what you know, but write what you love. Make sure the topic is something that resonates with you. It will reflect in your story.
2. Be good to your editors.
Editors love working with writers who are professional, flexible, kind, and easy to work with. When a writer makes an editor’s job easy by submitting a well-written piece following guidelines, on time (or ahead of schedule), the editor can’t help but want to work with that writer on a future story.
This can make all the difference between you being a once-off freelance contributor or a long-term collaborative writer for that publication.
3. Be kind and considerate when pitching a destination.
Travel writers are some of the best promoters of a destination, and tourism boards are well aware of the benefits we provide through the readership of our stories.
When reaching out to a destination or venue with a request that includes a stay, activities, or dining options, it’s important to remember some key points.
Writers should be professional, considerate, and to the point in what they’re requesting. Also, it’s important to remember that the relationship is give-and-take. Writers need to be clear in letting the destination know what they will be offering in exchange for perks, i.e. where the story or stories will be published.
4. Show gratitude.
Every time I submit an article for publication, I include a note to the editor, thanking them for accepting my piece and for the privilege of writing for their publication. One editor recently said that “it’s such a nice gesture I don’t see from every writer.” Editors are human too and they need to hear that we’re appreciative of their role. It’s such a simple act of kindness that adds so much to the relationship and helps cement the bond between writer and editor.
Likewise, when I return from an individual or group press trip, I always thank the tourism board representative who made the trip happen. Though organizing trips for writers is a part of their job, it takes a good amount of time and coordination on their part to make for a memorable visit.
That small gesture of gratitude then goes a long way in the rep wanting to work with a writer again. Better yet, it has proven to be an excellent reference introducing me and my work to other destination colleagues.
5. Tap into the advantages of social media.
Today, it’s no longer enough to just visit a location, write a captivating story, and submit the story for publication. While on a destination visit, we need to use social media to share photos and tag the venues hosting us.
Once the story or stories from that trip have been published, you should share links or the magazine with the venues. Then continue to promote the destination by sharing those published stories on social media feeds like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Aesop, a crafter of mythological tales, once wrote “The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” This could not be truer in the world of travel writing.