Many of the travel writers I communicate with are long-time, traditional freelance travel writers who are very accustomed to producing content structured in accordance with the editorial guidelines of whatever publication they are writing for.
They can produce the exact number of words, use the desired point of view, and can “style” their writing to be typical of the voice of the magazine, giving the Editor what he or she believes their readers want.
That’s what it takes to survive in a traditional media world.
But those same traditional travel writers are sometimes a tad clueless when it comes to writing for an online audience. In fact, a few don’t understand that a completely different media requires a completely different style of writing.
It’s not the stories that need to change, it’s how you present them.
Don’t get me wrong – great writing will always be great writing, whether it’s published in newsprint, a glossy magazine, or on a website.
But to compete with all the other travel writers online for readers, you need to know how to attract those readers, or your great writing will never be read. Except by your mom.
There are a boatload of resources online to teach one how to write in order to attract readers. Some of these resources are free, some are not. Some are expensive, some are affordable. Some are good, and some are just plain confusing.
After reading a review elsewhere of an eBook written by Andy Hayes of Travel Online Partners, titled “Just What Works: Write Right Online“, I was intrigued and decided to check it out, so I purchased it a few weeks ago and read it while I was on vacation last week.
It’s a really good basic primer for writers new to blogging or submitting articles online, and covers a wide variety of topics that are all important to know. Andy has a nice, easy to follow writing style, and breaks down each topic into easily digestible (and therefore easy to implement) suggestions and tasks. He offers numerous tips to help you write better headlines, choose a visual style that works for both your content and your readers, and learn how to engage your readers.
It will have new bloggers thinking more logically about how to structure a site for easy navigation, how to consider the structure of a blog post or article, how to speak to an online audience, and how to improve the performance of your travel blog.
Here’s a quote from the eBook that I like:
Writing like you speak doesn’t give you license to ramble on and on, nor does it mean you can squirt out sentences that are awkward. Be organized with your thoughts, because even though you’re writing conversationally, the person isn’t there for visual queues such as facial expressions, so you have to be really clear with your points.
It’s not a writing course. Although Andy stresses (like we do here) that to be a professional writer you must have flawless spelling and grammar, this eBook won’t teach you those skills. If you’ve been blogging for a while and already have good writing skills, a sizable online following and a good grasp of SEO techniques, then this eBook is probably too basic for you.
But it’s a good resource for a novice blogger, giving the reader a path to follow and an understanding of what to focus on, with some good sound advice and easy to follow tips.
I know what you’re wondering…..was there anything I didn’t like about it? Yep. I didn’t like that it was laid out in landscape mode. I know, that sounds overly-fussy, and it took me a while to come up with the theory that Andy chose that layout because it’s probably much easier to read on your computer since most people have a widescreen monitor these days (as I do), but I occasionally like to print an eBook to take with me to read later, when I’m not at my computer, and I couldn’t talk my printer into finishing the last couple of letters on each line that reached the right edge.
But hey it also has a checklist…..and who doesn’t love a checklist?
What resources do you like? Share your thoughts!