You’re a travel writer. You don’t write about food or gardening.
You write about travel therefore, you have a niche. Unfortunately, unless you have star status as a travel writer, you’re not niche enough.
Budget-strapped editors hiring freelancers don’t get stars for the majority of their stories. All things being equal, they hire writers with the expertise their readers need. They hire adventure travelers and cruise specialists, budget travelers and destination experts. They hire the person who can really tell the story.
So whether you’re pitching them or you’ve managed to get on their radar so that they select you, your niche is important. It allows you to stand out. With a niche you can become a star. You can be the big fish in a small pond.
Five Travel Niche Success Stories
In 2011 I landed on the radar of Joe Yonan, food and travel editor of the Washington Post. I got there thanks to my niche: solo travel. When he decided that he wanted someone to share the stage with him at the Smithsonian for a discussion of solo cooking and solo travel, he contacted me. (Yes, I fell off my chair.)
By coincidence, I was also writing a book that year: The Solo Traveler’s Handbook. That connection certainly helped get the book off to a good start.
My book is just one in a series called The Traveler’s Handbooks.
Switch out “solo” for any niche name and you have another potential book in the series. Each book is written by a travel niche expert. In 2012 five books were published covering career break, food, luxury, volunteer and solo travel. More handbooks are scheduled for this year.
A travel generalist can’t break through the noise on Amazon. A travel niche expert can. These books, layered on top of all that these niche experts already do, position the authors as niche leaders and influencers.
How to Find Your Niche
Sometimes a niche finds you. After my husband passed away, I became solo traveler. Sometimes a niche is discovered over time. Jodi Ettenberg, author of The Food Traveler’s Handbook found her niche through travel. “As I traveled, my journey shifted perceptibly from a focus on places and people, to a focus on those places and people through their food.”
Find your niche by observing yourself, how you travel and what excites you. Ah, but there are already experts in the niche you want to lead. Fortunately you can also identify your niche demographically. Maybe you’re the boomer budget traveler or the Gen X adventure traveler. Layer on that a specific worldview: political, economic, social… and your niche can be honed nicely.
How to Market Yourself as a Niche Leader
As a travel writer you need a platform. This may be a blog or website. You also need to support that platform with social media whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest. To market yourself as a niche leader, everything you do with your platform and on social media should support your position as such.
The posts on your blog should demonstrate your knowledge. The tweets you share should show that you are on top of your niche. Your Facebook Page should encourage engagement in discussions about your niche.
Twitter is an excellent tool for getting on the radar of travel editors and content managers. It’s easy to find them and engage with them. Just be careful not to spam them. A few well-chosen tweets can go a long way.
To be a leader you need to act like one. Select your niche and do so. With time, you’ll be niche enough.
What’s your focus? Share your niche!
Excellent advice, Janice!
This is a topic I can’t stress enough…..with the hundreds of thousands of sites and blogs out there offering travel-related content, you simply cannot stand out (unless as Janice points out, one is already established as a “star” in the blogosphere) without an angle or expertise in a niche…..but you must really *know* your niche – just calling yourself an expert doesn’t make you one…..which is why I particularly like this line:
“Find your niche by observing yourself, how you travel and what excites you”
Well, in fact it’s really true, it’s never niche enough. Even if you switch from travel to budget travel, the competition is still really high, and you have to find you micro niche before pointing at the more popular niche
excellent article. i’m just investigating this field after 22 years in the luxury cruise,and even more specifically, alaska market. those are too broad these days; am still looking for my niche. it may be something along the lines of personal growth/wellness travel for single boomers. we’ll see what finds me.