How To Capitalize on Opportunities

Promoting your travel writing
9 April 2010 Post Author:
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You’re at a Travel Writing Conference, and an editor or PR person wants to follow up with you.

So you quickly whip out a business card…..or do you?

I’m surprised by how few new media travel writers and bloggers take the time to create their own marketing tools such as business cards, post cards, etc…to market their writing, but they do still have value and are worth the time and effort.

You’ll improve your travel writing opportunities if you have an arsenal of professional materials ready to go at any given moment. If not, you could potentially miss out opportunities that may have helped you take your career to the next level.

That person next to you on the plane may just be a magazine editor.

You never know who you’ll meet in the air or on the road. That long flight to India can turn into an interview when you find out the person next to you is an editor of travel publication.

Adopting the techniques of a professional travel writer is important if you want to make those chance meetings pay off.

Your career could take a turn for the better if you could take out a business card and say, “…I’d really like to write for your publication. Here’s my contact information and website. When I get back, we could set up a formal interview, and I could send you writing samples and article ideas.

Take the initiative to promote yourself, be professional and not pushy!

Marketing tools

  • Business cards. Carry these with you when you travel. You never know who will be staying at the same hotel as you;
  • Travel Blog. Create a website to showcase your travel writing and perhaps an online newsletter;
  • Online portfolio. This can be a different site from your travel blog, or can be the same, it’s purpose is to showcase samples of your work. Publishers, Editors, and PR people will ask for a link to your writing samples;
  • Hard copy portfolio. For an in-person interview, show a hard copy portfolio. Showcase your best work to make a great impression;
  • Post cards. When you’re ready to promote your writing services, send out post cards to local publications and CVBs (Convention and Visitors Bureaus). Introduce yourself and let them know you’re available for writing hotel reviews, narratives, etc… Also, send post cards to family and friends to let them know you will travel soon. Word-of-mouth is still a great advertising tool. You never know who family and friends know;
  • Resume or CV. Keep your resume and CV current, you never know when opportunity for an impromptu interview will come up;

There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion. You could pass out your business card to hotel managers, restaurant owners, tour directors, and other people you meet along the way. Sometimes you have to make your own opportunities, so be armed with the right tools!

~Rebecca

What marketing tools do you use to promote you and your writing?

14 Responses to “How To Capitalize on Opportunities”

  1. Maria Staal
    Twitter:
    says:

    Interesting post, Rebecca. I must admit that I don’t have a business card either. Something to look into for sure.
    .-= Maria Staal´s last blog post: Putting Radbod on the Map =-.

    • Hi Maria – thanks for stopping by! There are lots of website that will produce fabulous looking cards for you, but the easiest and least expensive way to get started is to just buy some decent business card stock from a local OfficeMax or Staples, and create your own. Keep it simple, with just your name, website, and contact information, until you’re reasonably certain of how you will ‘brand’ yourself through your design. Then you might spend a little money getting a professional design, but there are many places to get low-cost designs done.

  2. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Business cards do help. The first question I’m asked is “do you have a business card and website? I had my friend from Ohio design a logo for my website. The next step for is to have my website redesigned. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use WordPress or move it to Weebly.com. I found a web designer I like, but she only works with Weebly.com and not WordPress.

    • I agree that business cards help – I’m always asked for one whenever I meet someone in the travel or writing industries.

      BEFORE you move your site to Weebly, I would strong encourage you to consider finding a different designer (there are many thousands of WordPress designers) because for a variety of reasons (some a mystery even to experts) Google just loves sites built with WP, so you’ll be giving up what can be an advantage over other sites in your genre. It’s something to think about.

  3. Dave and Deb
    Twitter:
    says:

    We brought business cards with us on this trip to Asia and it has been an excellent marketing tool. We can’t tell you the connections we have made.
    This post is excellent timing for the upcoming TBEX in New York. We went through so many cards that we have to get more made and we are definitely going to arm ourselves with them for the conference.
    I like the postcard idea too. People need to think about marketing and this is an excellent reminder. Thanks!
    We used an excellent website called http://www.vistaprint.ca We designed our cards, chose the colours etc and had them sent to us within a couple of days. We even had T-shirts of Canada’s Adventure Couple made:)

    • You guys are way ahead of the curve and do an excellent job of branding yourselves – bravo!

      I had some TWE t-shirts made up last year also, and wore them a couple of days while I was at BlogWorld Expo – only a few people noticed or commented, but I still think it’s a great way to cement a brand in the minds of others, even if it’s subliminally. :)

  4. Wendy
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great post with great ideas. As with many of you I had a logo designed and use it on all my promo items. Plus don’t forget to add your websites, blog addresses, contact info, etc. anytime you email someone. Let them know you are a professional travel writer. And if you use snail mail, enclose a business card, post card or some other promo item.

  5. Megan Eaves
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great post with some excellent ideas! I’ve got most of those going, but I would love to hear some advice on putting together a hard-copy portfolio. As a writer that does most of her work online, I’ve yet to figure out the best way to present this. Photocopies? Color printouts of web pages?

    • Megan Eaves
      Twitter:
      says:

      Also – where and how would one go about doing postcards? I have business cards, a website, online portfolio and a blog, but am so clueless about all of these hard-copy promo materials! Thank you so much for the advice, Rebecca!

      • When you’re at an office supply store getting blank business cards, pick up a package of post cards. Most desktop publishing software programs and printers can do post cards. Once you’ve got a design set up that you like, you can use it as a template. If you’re only going to send a few post cards at a time and will want to change it frequently, I’d go this way. If you’re going to send one post card by the thousands, then I’d look to a commercial printer.

  6. Laura
    Twitter:
    says:

    I brought business cards on my trip, and they’ve been a lifesaver. Not only does it look professional, but I give it out to new friends on the road too. It’s so much easier than trying to dig up a scrap piece of paper and a pen to give out contact information!

  7. Donna Hull
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ll add one more suggestion. Take business cards with you everywhere you go, not just during your travels. You might not meet an editor on a daily basis but potential blog readers should always be on your radar.
    .-= Donna Hull´s last blog post: Saturday’s scene: Friendship in Saigon =-.

  8. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great tip about carrying your business cards with you. I started to carry my business cards with me. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re out grocery shopping, at the bookstore, at an event, etc…

  9. Sabina
    Twitter:
    says:

    These are all great ideas. I should spend the money to get business cards. I can see that they really could be useful.

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