Travel blogging is an increasingly competitive industry. One way to ensure you stand out is to make sure that your travel writing is top notch. Here are some travel writing tips to start you off.
FIND AN ANGLE/SPECIALTY
Make yourself an expert on a particular activity, genre or destination. Some of the top UK travel blogs have specific focuses, such as city breaks, solo travel, adventure activities, luxury holidays, or festivals. I have a particular passion for scuba diving and try to cover it as often as I can on my blog. Travel far and wide and compare the different locations so that people know you have a reference point for your opinions. If you don’t have a particular hobby, but you always travel with your family, make ‘family travel’ your focus. Or, if you don’t have the chance to travel as often as you’d like, focus solely on the country in which you’re based. Be true to yourself. Pick a niche that reflects who you are and what you enjoy.
Google will rate you based on the quality of your writing and the frequency of your posts. Your readers are also unlikely to return if your articles lack focus, are not engaging, contain typos or grammatical errors, use clichéd phrases, or far exceed a reasonable word count. Hook readers with a good opening line and keep them intrigued until the end. Use a proofreading service if your skills aren’t up to scratch, or sign up for an English language or travel writing course.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Writing for a blog requires a different style from writing for a magazine. Online content tends to be punchier. Shorter sentences are easier to digest. There’s a bigger focus on images and lists. You also have the chance to find your own voice in a blog and you can make it as personal and anecdotal as you like. Some bloggers’ success rests largely on their personality. Others have a more formal, advisory approach. See what works for you and then stick with it.
Once you have a blog up and running, you should start to think about promoting your content. Although you might feel like the biggest hurdle is actually putting each post together, many experts suggest you should spend as much as 80% of your time on social media making sure that people get to read it. It’s important to get a good balance between sharing links to your own work and engaging your followers with other useful information. You don’t want it to look like you’re just spamming them. You may also find that the more you share other bloggers’ content the more they reciprocate. This is one of the best ways of increasing your readership. You should enjoy the writing process as much as you enjoy the travel, and you should engage with your readers after they’ve had time to digest your content.
WRITE GUEST POSTS FOR OTHER SITES
Guest posts are another great way of ensuring that your content reaches a wider audience, so you should start collaborating with other websites and publications from the outset. Make sure the content you offer them is valuable and relevant to their site. It will help a lot if you have examples of past work. Remember that not all ‘free content’ is good for their site. A badly written post will give them grief if they have to go through and edit it, and they might have dealt with ‘guest authors’ in the past who were trying to slip in commercial links. Tell them why your content will be good for their site, outline a brief summary of your proposed article and let them know why you’re keen to contribute.
DEVELOP OTHER SKILLS
Having another useful skill, besides writing, could be a huge advantage. Great travel photography will bring more people to your site via social media platforms like Instagram; or you might build up a large list of subscribers on YouTube if you’re good at podcasts. Even building up your social skills through networking events will help you to come across as more professional and focused, which will probably mean you get invited on more press trips once you have the desired visitor numbers.
KEEP A NOTEBOOK
When you come across a great phrase or metaphor, there’s no reason you can’t plagiarise it! Obviously, you never want to be accused of stealing, but other people’s writing can be a hugely positive influence on you. The more you read and listen, the more ideas you might have for future content – and you should always make a note of these lightbulb moments. Having a notebook on hand will also mean you can store interesting facts while on tours or travelling from A to B. How much did something cost? What was the name of that great tour operator? What was that funny anecdote the tour guide told us? All of this information will be useful to your readers and you will be thankful it’s all in one place when you sit down to create your post.
If you don’t gamble occasionally, you don’t really stand a chance. You’re in a competitive industry and you have to be a little bit different to stand out. Use an outrageous hook line and see what happens. At least then you’ve got a 50:50 chance of it having a positive impact rather than a 5% chance it will have any impact at all.