Over the last five years, travel journalism has thrived with an increased number of individuals creating travel articles and websites. Tourism is a big business and is worth more than $7 trillion dollars a year to the global economy or 10% of the Global GDP. In return, this has created a definitive market for good and bad travel journalism. To help give you the best head start in your travel journalism career or just to create better travel articles that will appeal to more readers and increase your profile, in this article we will elaborate on the do’s and dont’s of travel journalism.
Dont’s of Travel Journalism
Don’t sabotage your chances of success by making simple and avoidable mistakes. Many writers receive criticism or don’t receive the recognition they deserve due to mistakes. Don’t be one of these writers, follow the guide below to make you’re writing the best it can possibly be.
Don’t be sloppy. When starting your travel journalism adventure every article counts, each piece of writing with your name on it is a representation of you and your work. Always present your best face, no matter what company you are working with, or the audience your work is being presented to. Remember that no one is perfect and mistakes do happen, that’s understandable. Every form of communication from an email to tweet is a representation of your portfolio.
Don’t treat your writing as a personal journal. If you want to create a personal journal that’s a great idea but don’t do it on a website which you are using as a portfolio. You can always create a website and just share it with your family, however, be sure keep them separate. The best way to create articles is to intermingle personal experiences with facts and memories, which make the readers feel like your best friend.
Don’t be flaky. If you have promised an editor a piece by a certain time, deliver it on time or give them notice if a problem occurs. Editors have deadlines to publish the posts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make adjustments if they know in advance.
Don’t be too general. There are hundreds of countries out there, with lots of things to write about and different angles to approach each subject with. But this doesn’t mean you have to cover them all. One of the best ways to break into the market is by becoming an expert in a specific area, such as a country, or type of travel (female solo travel, budget travel, luxury travel, and more). This will allow you to establish credibility and gain an audience. Once you are established you can branch out to other areas.
Don’t not try. The single biggest mistake you can make is to not try. You can’t fail and learn without trying in the first place. With a lot of talent, determination, perseverance, resilience, and motivation, you can achieve anything. If it’s what you want, go for it!
Do’s of Travel Journalism
Show don’t sell. Many people believe that one of the most important rules for travel writing is to show and don’t sell destinations. Make readers see and feel what you felt in that destination or with that experience. Let them step into your shoes, describe and give them details of the destination, paint them a picture of the place or experience.
Omit your knowledge. One of the greatest assets of an article is insider knowledge. A great example of is if you were describing an event to your friend, would you say the following: “I don’t know anyone and the drinks are going to be terrible,” or by emphasizing your knowledge would you say “the host is a lovely person and the venue has a beautiful view.”
Create a specialism. A specialism will give a travel journalist an advantage over others for specific destinations. A location specialism will provide travel insights and the point of view from someone with great knowledge of a destination instead of a researched broad article. This specialism can be destination based or niche based such as retired traveler, solo traveler, digital nomads, etc.
Utilize Twitter. Twitter is a great networking tool, which can be utilized not only to showcase articles but also to connect with people. It is a good idea to follow other journalists, editors, newspapers, tour operators, attractions, museums, hotels, etc. Not only will this give you insights into how these companies work but it will also help you to understand the industry, the more you know the better. You can also use Twitter to make a name for yourself and boost your website traffic.
Pitch to companies. Companies won’t usually come to you requesting articles, more than often they will respond to an email pitch or create a database of freelancers or writers. When pitching to a company it is good to pitch unusual destinations, with a good angle, this will give you an edge over others. As most people want to read about destinations they know and that people want to visit, but a pitch from an unusual angle or destination will make you stand out over others. Editors or publishers will be more forthcoming if they understand your expertise. Knowledge of the magazine or publication you are pitching will also get you noticed. Before writing a pitch, read through the articles or publications they have published previously to get a feel for what they want. In your pitch, you can even add what section your article will appear in, or page number, etc. Editors are more likely to read your pitch in detail if they realize you understand why it fits the publication.
Create content that people will remember. The most read articles are the ones which people share with others or can’t stop talking about, as they fix a place in the reader’s memory. Make your content unique, memorable, and based on a topic that people will want to share with their social networks.
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