Thank you for giving me more practical, helpful advice in your e-mail than I got in the entirety of grad school. Seriously, if we had only had more guests like you come into our classes (and fewer guests who were frazzled, depressed editors of soon-to-be-dead publications), I might have come out of it with some realistic expectations and feeling like there was a way to make online journalism work as a career.
(I quote her less for the ego boost than the insight into today’s J school.) Anyway, here’s the part of my e-mail to her where I passed along tangible to dos to get a travel writing job:
- Create your own blog. Most online publications won’t hire you unless you have a site of your own. Use it to highlight where you’ve been published, share your expertise, and provide insight on yourself and your articles (like the director’s cut feature on a DVD).
- Create a Twitter account and follow other travel writers and editors, interacting with the most important ones. Follow PR types who represent businesses you’re interested in writing about too.
- Create a Tumblr account–it’s popular with NYC-publishing types (and fun to use).
- Read travel blogs, post comments on them, and apply to write for the ones you like.
And after you get a travel writing job, do the following:
- Promote the heck out of yourself. Every article I write I send out to about 35 different social networks (yes, that’s a bit much, but at least share your articles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn).
- E-mail the subjects of your articles and their PR people, even if they didn’t help you when researching your article, letting them know that you wrote about them. Hopefully they’ll pass around your article or link to it, leading to more page views.
- Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find sources. Not only will good ones just present themselves to you, but it’ll get you attention from publicists that can help you find good stories.