There are three kinds of people on social media right now; the content creators, the content aggregators, and the content stealers. As photographers, writers and social media influencers, whether you are getting paid for it or not, you are the content creators and you are extremely valuable! The internet is starved for new content and I found that combining multiple mediums for sharing your travel stories; through photo, video, and the written word, that it instantly will open up new doors for you as a travel influencer.
As content creators, we have a responsibility to tell our stories in a compelling way. For most of us, writing is a lost art and a bit overwhelming to tackle. The good news is that the internet and the social media-crazed world we live in that most people only have the attention span of about 800 words at a time before they move on. The days of writing long opinion pieces and having to use a thesaurus are gone, but even still, there is definitely a formula to writing compelling, interesting shareable content that is magazine-worthy.
When writing articles, blogs or approaching travel publications and magazines as a contributor or guest blogger, there are definitely some guidelines to helping you shape your travel stories. First, you have to understand the point of view of whatever magazine you are approaching. You have to ask yourself “What does it mean to be a travel journalist?”
It means you’re in the know—but you’re never a know-it-all. It means you know all the right insiders in all the right destinations—but you’re generous with your introductions. It means you love the five-star, five-course dinner in Bangkok—and the stand-up-and-eat taco stand in Barcelona. It means you go someplace because you want to—not because you think you should. It means you love the classic—but you know that a classic can be found anywhere, and made anytime. It means that you’ll fly 12 hours just to visit a single boutique—or just to have a perfect meal. It means you know that there’s no such thing as the “right” reason to take a trip, and there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure trip.
Travel Magazines inspire action for trips both big and small. They tell you where to go and what to do. They are there to give you exactly what you need when you need it so that wherever you are, you feel at home in the world. Because, finally, that’s what it means to be a traveler.
The Travel influencer network is comprised of photographers, writers, chefs, designers, and world travelers who stand out not just for the places they go, but for what they know. They – you -- are our eyes and ears in all corners of the globe.
You should be…
- In the know ... but not a know-it-all
- An insider ... but generous
- A black book holder ... but not a tour guide
- A curator ... not a copycat
- Curious ... not a stuffy Michelin star seeker
- Passionate ... not passive
- A connoisseur ... not a snob
- A trendsetter ... not a follower
What type of content magazines and travel blogs are looking for:
- Highly visual
- Timely, current, fresh
- Surprising, unexpected (they love the undiscovered, hidden, and quirky)
- Speaking mostly to the well traveled, but appeals to those just starting to expand their travels
- Different from what’s already out there, goes beyond the basics
- Shareable—would you forward it to your friends?
- Immersive and flowing 24/7 from key destinations around the world
- Created by people and tastemakers with personality, local know-how, opinions, social presence, and voice
Having a POV, or Point of View is the most important part of good storytelling. You need to first find a fascinating filter or angle to share your travel story rather than writing a daily diary about what you did. Why will people want to read this story? You have the entire Internet to compete against, and everyone’s own social networks, so you need to give the reader a sense of urgency to click. Make yours stand apart by sharing insights and surprises from interesting people.
Remember to be engaging and to include the readers when you are telling your story. Don’t assume people are interested in your story just because they love to travel. They should feel like they’re part of the party, not on the outside looking in. Write for them, not for you. Sometimes the best way to grab their attention is to use the sharpest, most irresistible headers (keeping SEO top of mind) or to feature the best, most captivating images. There’s an element of voyeurism to travel, and people don’t spy on ugly things or dull experiences.
So now you should finally be ready to get over your writer’s block and sit down and start writing compelling stories about your travels! I find that my best writing is while all of the events are still fresh and I am still in “trip mode.” Since traveling also includes the unglamorous part of sitting on many planes trains and automobiles, I find those times to be the best to sit down and shape my story outlines and start writing.
Here Are The Do’s & Don’ts Of Writing A Good Travel Article:
- DO Think beyond the conventional and the usual tropes you see on travel sites.
- DO Have a POV. Say this is the thing that is exciting, this is what’s interesting.
- DO Think about headers first. Make the user want to read your story.
- DO Be sophisticated but not stuffy.
- DO Share the feeling of discovery.
- DO Add something to the conversation that's not available in local publications, guide books, or Google searches.
- DO Bring a new perspective, or find someone who can.
- DON’T Drone on. Write short, tight, and with personality.
- DON’T Complain and be negative. There is always something positive to write about a place.
- DON’T Write the same way you write for print. Imagine you're writing for your friends who love travel. Be personal, funny, conversational.
- DON’T Write a journal entry and outline minute by minute your trip.
- DON’T Overuse exclamation points.
- DON���T Use puns in headings or intros.