Every travel writing blog claims to have some sort of magic formula for writing amazing, super-engaging, viral-worthy posts. But doing a cut and paste job isn’t going to snag you 100K visits to your blog. The truth is, with an estimated 3 billion people accessing the internet everyday, and only a handful of those readers seeking out travel blogs, it’s easy to feel like a minnow lost in a sea of content. That being said, there is still plenty of room in the travel writing genre. So how does one stand out from the crowd? While I don’t have a magic formula, I do have these 8 travel writing tips that have helped me develop my passion into a business:
1) Don’t Be a Time Waster
If you are deliberately writing for an audience, try not to waste their time with fillers, and airy, fairy sentences. Avoid using lengthy sentences like, “in a round about way, I was thinking that..” and instead be more punchy with something like, “I considered”. According to Hubspot, readers will spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website if they don’t see something they like immediately, so make it count!
2) Learn to Love Your Own Work
American novelist once wrote: “You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.” We’ve all had that moment when we’ve been working on a piece for what feels like forever, and for some reason, our middle finger goes from hovering over the delete button, to viciously tapping it in disgust. Don’t do that. Trust your own voice.
3) Borrow from Others
No, I’m not advocating plagiarism here, but rather, drawing on others greatness to get the ball rolling. For example, I like to start of some of my travel posts with an anecdote or quote from someone I look up to. For me, Robert Frost sums up my life when he says, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I-I took the one less traveled.” A great quote or anecdote can set the tone for a piece and pull your readers in.
4) Have a Point
Now that you’ve been told to get to the point, make sure you have one. As yourself why you’re writing this piece. I’m writing this because I want to inspire fellow travelers to transcribe their experiences and become great travel writers. Are you writing a review? Figure out what you want your readers to do once they’ve swiped past your post. If you want them to stay at the Jungle Inn in Bukit Lawang Indonesia and visit with the Orangutans, tell your readers why.
5) Get Personal
I am admittedly guilty of this from time to time because I do allow sponsored posts on my blog, and sometimes I’m commissioned to write about a particular travel product or service. But do try and find a way to personally connect with your travel writing. Let the Lonely Planet sound off like a pack of impersonal, over-privileged, well-to-doers, you are not the baying crowd, you are different. Inject your own experiences into your writing. This is your journey, not someone else’s.
6) Read. Alot
The best writers, in any genre, read as much as they write, if not more. Mastering the art of travel writing is a lifelong occupation. Read everything – Newspaper articles, guidebooks, travel blogs, novels, short stories, even poetry. Take notes, ask questions (if you’re on a blog), and always pay attention to technique, vocabulary and try to determine who the author is writing for. All these observations will help you develop your own craft.
7) Write. Alot
How many times have you read this statement, put together a writing schedule, and never followed through? I wrote an article last week called 5 Amazing Writing Tools for Writer’s Block, and one of those tools actually reminds you when you’ve been neglectful on the writing front. If you’re trying to turn your travel writing into a business, you have to be consistent. And truthfully, the more you write, the more those topic ideas will come rolling in.
8) Become a good researcher
Look, everyone claims to be an expert in something these days, but there’s nothing worse than getting one third of the way through an article and finding out the writer doesn’t know what the heck they’re talking about. If you’re going to write about a place you haven’t been, no problem – but get the facts straight! Better yet, go the extra mile and find out something totally unique about said destination, person, or object. Give your readers juicy details they won’t find in some ordinary guide book – Give them a reason to come back for more!