As a travel writer, you can get unbelievable perks just for sharing your opinion on a place and helping readers know where to go and how to get there.
But even if you’re not traveling anytime soon, you can still earn paychecks from home.
Today, Denver Post travel editor Kyle Wagner shares a few simple hometown topics that travel editors like her are buying right now.
Take a look below… there might even be something in your hometown that you could quickly write up today or tomorrow for some extra cash.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: When you write about what there is to see and do in your hometown, you’ll likely find that you also gain a little local celebrity status. That means invites to all sorts of fun stuff — like gallery openings, tourist attractions, new restaurants, and more.]
THE HOMETOWN 7: GET PAID TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR OWN BACKYARD
By Kyle Wagner in Denver, Colorado
Who’s the top expert on where you live, eat, work, and play? You, of course! So it makes sense that you’re the writer an editor would trust the most when a story crosses his or her desk promising an insider’s take on your hometown.
The key to success, though, is seeking out the things that not everyone knows about, or sharing about the well-known, done in a new way.
Here are seven ideas for stories you can find in your hometown, along with recent examples that I’ve seen published in my area:
** 1. Unique activities: What does your region offer that few others do, and how can you find a new way to present it?
Example: The West is famous for its dude ranches, and there are hundreds of them throughout the region. First, it’s a simple matter of gathering the information on them.
But to make a story on a rare offering really sing, group them in fresh ways. For one publication, it could be dude ranches that specialize in more than just horseback riding, like a recent story we featured in The Denver Post Travel section that talked about ranches that also had tennis and spas. For another, dude ranches that welcome kids, or ones that are way off the beaten path.
** 2. Travel trends: If you notice travel trends as you are out and about, see if they’re being offered on your own turf.
Example: As my dog and I made our way along a road trip recently, I found that more high-end hotels were letting us in than ever before. I decided to see if that was the case in downtown Denver, and it was. It made for a nice Travel section cover story that wound up getting picked up by other newspapers that had readers headed our way.
** 3. Be selfish: If you love something, chances are you’re not alone. Are you an avid weekend scavenger at antiques and flea markets? Do you know every coffee shop with free Wi-Fi within driving distance? Exploit your talents, hobbies, and passions.
Example: A freelancer who knows the best fishing holes wrote in our Outdoors section about patiently out-waiting the fish while winter trolling around Colorado.
** 4. Party hard: When travelers head your way for festivals, events, and other annual traditions, they want to know what else is going on, as well as where to dine and stay while they’re there and how to get around. You’re in the best position to compile that information for readers, and can easily tap into local visitor’s bureaus for assistance, as well.
Example: For the last Great American Beer Festival, a freelancer wrote in the Entertainment section about the accompanying Denver Beer Fest and local bars and clubs that were doing specials and music at the same time.
** 5. Food, glorious food: Restaurants are the easy go-to when it comes to writing about food, always a popular topic for readers. What will catch an editor’s eye, however, is something that delves deeper into the subject. Go beyond the usual reviews or lists of the best places to eat and explore food at its source, such as farm-to-table trends or markets, etc.
Example: A freelancer’s piece on the rise of underground supper clubs in Denver for the Food section.
** 6. Be a people person: Readers enjoy relating to a local person who is connected to the area and has a story to tell. Is there someone who owns a shop that travelers will find particularly appealing when they visit? Is there a longtime local whose work makes travel to the area possible? Sharing their story will make your story more vibrant.
Example: A freelance piece in the Features section about a mountain park ranger with a long history at a park with free-range bison.
** 7. In the know: If you long to write about something that already seems to be a well-trodden topic, take it to the next level by truly delving deeper into the subject. Take the time to talk to local experts to include “how to” information to help readers do it better, easier or more cheaply, or figure out a few of those “little extras” that only a local would know to round out the story.
Example: A freelancer wrote a short guide to understanding how consignment stores work attached to her story on the best ones in the Denver area for a Features section.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]