Freelance writing functions on curiosity. Unsurprisingly, then, travel writing is a sought-after niche. It envelopes everything from the tiniest landmarks to the most expansive national parks, instructables to profiles.
Indeed, with so much to write about and so many different approaches to take, it can be easy to get lost (pun intended). Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a homebody with an occasional bout of wanderlust, getting started as a freelance travel writer means preparing for more than just an adventure of words.
Begin with blogging.
Although there’s no one strict pattern of success when it comes to freelance travel writing, generally the process will entail:
- Creating an online portfolio of travel articles.
- Applying to travel writing jobs with said portfolio.
- Impressing audiences who find your articles through your online portfolio or contracted bylined work, thus potentially opening the door to more lucrative opportunities.
It’s really a matter of building strength upon strength. So, to get started, there’s no better platform than a blog. The great thing about blogging is its inclusivity. Don’t have a lot of money to spend? There are free or low-cost plans! Don’t know anything about web design? Pre-made templates abound! Then again, if you do have a flair for graphic design, blogs are wonderfully customizable!
Think about what you really want to be – an influencer with a popular travel blog? Then you’ll need a .com and a bit more of a budget for that professional polish. Would you prefer that your blog is more of the first step in a career writing for other travel websites and magazines? Strong, well-formatted content can eclipse a blog that’s big on appearance and small on information.
Socialize and strategize.
The great thing about travel writing is that it affords writers the opportunity to experience their art fully. Sights, sounds, food…fun! And, socialization – there’s nothing more enlightening than learning about cultures at their source. Sometimes, though, the simplest source can yield the greatest results.
Chances are that, wherever you live, there are places that everyone might be familiar with, but never really stopped to consider how they came into existence. These can be the catalysts for your freelance travel writing career. Start locally and interview community leaders, owners of businesses, etc. Become a detective of sorts, researching landmarks and who owned what when.
Regardless of if you live in a destination location or not, pretend that you’re writing a travel brochure of sorts – even the most solitary of locations holds something unique. Offer to share your completed articles with local online news outlets or even newspapers. It’s a new take on the phrase, “write what you know.”
Depending on how much you write either for your blog or for others as a form of networking, there could come a time when you’re lost (pun intended again!) for what to write next, or the approach to a topic. Study the travel industry for trends by visiting popular sites like:
- Lonely Planet
- Pinterest is filled with travel-inspired boards, an example of which is my own, Freelancing Wanderlust
Do more with media.
Notice how many articles (travel-related or not) have a video component to them? Sometimes they’re just a rehashing of key points within an article, other times they’re bonus footage with things like interviews or information that, although related, didn’t quite fit into the article itself.
Consider working video content into the articles on your blog, or even creating a separate video channel – a vlog, if you will. Alternatives to YouTube (which is getting more and more stringent in its guidelines) include Dailymotion and Vimeo.
Embrace travel writing for all that it is, and can be, by getting off your computer and into the world as much as possible. The more that you learn, share, and create with a sense of genuine passion and purpose, the brighter your path to successful travel writing endeavors will be.
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