Gabrielle Garrett, my guest blogger this week, has found some amazing opportunities for herself travel writing. If you follow her blog, you'll see she leads a life full of adventure, humor and plenty of surprises.
I'm really glad she reached out with a few tips this week, because her advice not only applies to travel writing, but it will help you find guest columns in high traffic blogs. Gabi is constantly growing professionally as a coach and a writer, and is currently working on her book.
Here are her ideas about how to explore the world in words, and really launch an exciting career!
If writing articles, books, research papers, copy for websites and more we’re all related - travel writing would enter as the glamorous cousin.
She sweeps into family gatherings and gushes about the cuisine and uses fancy words to describe the table wine, and even swishes your Uncles’ craft beer around.
“How did she get so cool?,” You and your other family members stare blankly.
It starts by being the in the grass rooted family: journalism.
It’s imperative to build a Portfolio, even if it’s your own blogs before you depart into travel writing. Before I began writing for local papers and magazines - I blogged my heart away.
Then, I started writing for bigger online blogs, like Elite Daily. My trick was this: I’d write on their trending topics - and if my piece didn’t get selected: Well, now I have a trending topic for my blog.
I continuously built up my Portfolio, then as mentioned, delved into journalism at my local paper and magazine. I was asked by the editor to contribute, but if you send your samples of your blog and online work to your local paper - often they’ll have a need for freelance journalist. It’s even better if you can come up with a story to pitch with your portfolio of amazing work.
After completing step one and two, you are on your way to knowing how to write on a WIDE variety of topics - including travel.
Like most good stories, I fell into travel writing. I decided to do a piece for the magazine I wrote for about the BEST weekend ever in my then town, Pensacola, Florida. I reached out to each restaurant I loved and asked if I could come in and write about their food and interview their owners and chefs.
Much to my delight.. They paid for the food, and cocktails! Woohoo!
Note: Please always tip your servers, or ensure gratuity has been provided if your food is comped (free).
Next, I thought, “That was fun. Maybe I could do it again.”
So, when visiting a friend in Houston, Texas - I did the same facebook message and hope for the best technique. This left us feeling awkward and hopeful some or all of our food would be covered because we didn’t have much money.
But, we had fun. And, I learned how to do it professionally:
Here’s the steps to travel writing the right way:
Find a town you’d like to highlight
Reach out to their TDC, or “Visit Pensacola”, “Visit Houston,” look for their Visitor’s Center, who has budgets for travel exposure and has the PR Contacts for restaurants.
Once you’ve received the PR Contacts, BCC a large group, or individually reach out to places you think readers would love. Your email might read:
I’m Gabi Garrett and I’m a travel journalist whose been featured in X,X and X. I absolutely cannot wait to arrive in St. Augustine - I’m putting together an article on must hit spots for X (If you don’t have a place to publish it, tell them where you will be submitting the article, they call it “shopping around”).
Your restaurant/hotel/site seeing spot looks fabulous!
Would you be interested in being featured in my article?
This won’t cost you anything, just the price of food or drinks (Or Hotel Stay, etc. the Proper name is “In Kind Media Trade”) during our visit, which love to come in and photograph. Of course, we’re excited to try any food you think our readers would love.
Thanks a lot!
If the above letter terrifies you.. Just remember, you don’t know this person and visualize them being super excited about your commitment to shining light on their business.
I’m so excited for your journey!
If you have any questions or want to reach out, you can find Gabi at gabigarrett.com or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.