Among us, right now, there could be a garage band as game-changing to the music world as the Beatles were.
But chances are we’ll never hear a note they’ll play.
Breaking out of the pack or being discovered in any creative arena today is as realistic as a blonde hair/blue eyed Minnesota girl showing up in Hollywood and getting spotted by a big-name producer who immediately gives her a part.
In the world of travel writing, specifically online, the scene is more crowded than ever, as anyone with a laptop and a passport can call him- or herself a travel writer.
That said, I do believe you can stand out in the crowd as a travel writer, but it has nothing to do with how many tweets a day you do or how many link farms you’ve managed to get the URL of your blog listed on.
Sure..…that might fatten up your numbers, it might help you get higher on search engines, but in the end….you have to have substance. There has to be a there, there.
The “There There” comes directly from you and your core mission.
Presumably, you have a unique set of circumstances that qualify you to report on a certain subject or speak to a certain audience.
The first step is one you’ve probably already taken. It’s identifying your specialty. Are you an expert on Swiss ski resorts? A pro at finding romantic inns? Are you the world’s most frugal traveler?
Pinpointing that specialty is usually the easy part but it shouldn’t be, unless of course, the whole thing is a hobby. You have to choose a specialty that you can stick with and grow with.
I see lots of mommy bloggers running out of content when the kids hit high school. I see writers that focus on honeymoon travel quit when they get married. I’ve seen an Italy-focused site owner abandon his expertise because he moved to France. And I’ve known many travel writers who got bored with their beats.
When I started Farewell Travels.com, it was a very calculated choice NOT to specialize in a region or a specific aspect of travel. I chose, instead, to focus on a targeted readership—one I had been writing to for years both as an editor at Condé Nast and a freelance writer.
Basically that reader is me. I live in the suburbs. I have a child. I like traveling as a family, but I also like romantic getaways with my husband. So everything I write has to be information I can see actually using when I travel. And I want to hear travel advice from a variety of experts. All of the articles I write, or commission to have written for my site, have to pass the litmus test that offers me advice I can use. It also has to be presented in a compelling way.
Which brings me to another way travel writers can break out of the pack—through their writing. All travel writers need to find their distinctive voice. It’s not only what you write but how you write it.
So if you’re looking to make a name for yourself in this travel writing business of ours, find a niche you can really connect to and then give it your all.
You’ll still have the same competition out there, but you’ll have a fighting chance of standing out and making a name for yourself.
Great post Susan! I totally agree with your point about really putting thought into choosing a niche – I’ve seen more than a few travel writers/bloggers run out of steam (and inspiration) when life has thrown them a curve ball…..not that one can’t start over in a new niche, but that can present many challenges. As the old saying (sometimes called the “Rule of 5 P’s”) goes: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Susan, I appreciate your inspiration. Finding a niche is difficult yet necessary to create expertise and individuality.
Solid article Susan! And for me, it really boils down to writing what you know, what you like, in your own unique voice, and not trying to be everything to everyone.
Excellent article. You see many people burst onto the scene, go crazy with social media and networking and then fizzle out in a few months. Not that I am an expert, but I see a lot of people focusing on the wrong thing. A niche is number one in my opinion and staying true to yourself is the most important things anyone can do. It is easy to look at other people and see them doing well and want to copy their formula. But sticking to what you love and what you know will keep longevity to your work. We know that we love adventure travel. Luckily adventure can be defined in many ways so as we change, our adventures can change along with us.
I totally agree with you – so many people focus on the wrong things, and then they have trouble keeping momentum going….I think you two have done an excellent job of staying true to your passion with adventure travel, and your enjoyment of it really shines through in your blog posts and photos…..that alone will take you much farther than the average travel blogger.
I’m off to go catch up on some of your posts now! :-)
Good post Susan.
I think that the main problem that leads people to start writing (and later on just giving up) is because everyones wants a big and famous blog, but don’t realize that you will probly need to walk a long long road until you reach that nice spot.
Its easy to see someones blog with thousands of visitors daily today, but some of those blogs had started like 5 or 6 years ago!
So people start blogging about something they know (but arent experts at) and after some months realize that their blog is growing painfull slow or not growing at all and just gives up.
They didnt realized that they were among thousands of people that are talking about the same thing and without an upper hand they don’t stand a chance.
By upper hand I mean that when someone starts a blog they should know deeply about what they are blogging, thats the reason I think you are 100% correct on this post, that person should, at least, dominate what he/she is going to write about :)