As travel writers, we all love to see our names on articles in big publications and websites, but getting regular work from these markets isn’t always the easiest thing to do. In fact, if you’re aiming to increase your bottom line in the years to come, your best bet may be to write for niche markets–publications, and websites with zoomed-in focuses.
For example, imagine you’ve just gone on a press trip to, say, Colombia with five other writers. During your trip, you visited a coffee plantation, went fishing, and attended a flower show.
For many travel writers, their first inclination would be to pitch a story or set of stories to travel magazines highlighting their experiences. But if you’re focusing on niche publications, you may wish to forego hitting up traditional publications in favor of the opportunity to write for niche markets, such as coffee industry digests, fishing magazines, and horticultural websites.
Unlike traditional travel publications, these markets aren’t generally getting flooded with travel-related pitches, which means an unusual story about a far-off destination is more likely to catch an editor’s eye.
One thing to remember about niche markets is that they often require a certain amount of expertise and a certain level of passion about the subject matter at hand.
That doesn’t mean a beginning rock climber can’t send in a query about overcoming his fear of heights in Yosemite, but he should be prepared to know the lingo and write with confidence about the subject matter at hand.
For this reason, I usually advise people to hone their niche focuses in areas that they love rather than areas that they think will sell. Not only does it make writing more engaging when the author’s love of the subject matter comes through, but it also makes it a lot easier to write stories when you already have a good grasp on your niche. (Worried you don’t have a niche? Read this.)
If you’re looking to write for niche markets in the year to come, here are a few practical steps to get you started:
1. Determine your niches. Write a list of your hobbies, areas of professional expertise, things you used to be fond of, and things you’d like to learn more about.
2. In a second column, list out places you’ve visited that you’d like to write about. Match these up with your niches. For example, it you love perfume and you’ve been to France, think back to any cool perfume shops or factories you may have visited.
3. Start Googling. Search not only for consumer magazines but also for trade publications that may have newsletters and other members-only features that require content. Note editorial contact details and any submission or pitching guidelines.