10 tips on becoming a successful travel content creator/blogger

Posted on 13 September 2018

Until the end of 2016, being a travel writer was only a dream filed at the back of my mind. After choosing to change careers I pulled out the drawer of dreams and decided to put my energy into seeing the idea turn into reality.

It’s two years later and I’ve had the journey of my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve written for several publications, reviewed over 50 hotels, lodges and reserves, and been to some very unique places. Here are my top 10 tips to grow as a travel content creator/blogger.


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| my paradise found | As the soft winter sunset caresses the Atlantic Seaboard, I’ve found my little piece of paradise. After wanting to visit @ellermanhousehotel for a while, my dream came true. Situated high on the cliffs above Bantry Bay, stands this majestic and stately hotel. . I can’t wait to show you a little preview of this very special place. Not only luxurious in every way, but with genuine and hearty hospitality which means you’ll feel at home as you would in your own home… if not more so! For now, a sunset G&T, whith unrivaled ocean vistas. Thank you Ellerman House. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀_____________________ I’m writing an international article on luxury South African hotels, particularly for our foreign visitors. Ellerman House is a proud feature -more details to follow. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀_____________________ #ellermanhouse #southafrica #travelwriter #fivestar #luxuryhotel #fivestarhotel #relaischateaux #capetown #staycation #paradisefound

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1. Follow the pros Find out who the industry leaders are and make sure you subscribe to their blogs. Three of my top suggestions are The Roaming Giraffe, The Incidental Tourist and Cape Town Diva. Another tip is to check out the masthead – the ‘who does what’ page of magazines, and start to follow the editors and writers – a good way to start to get a feel for the industry.

2. Write for free If you’re wanting to become a travel writer, start with writing for free for online publications. Not only does it give you good practice, but it may also open some doors for you to media visits. That’s how I got some of my first hotel and restaurant review invites; the credibility of being attached to a publication always carries extra weight.

3. Improve your images Because there is so much content out there, aim to produce the best you can. When it comes to editing, there are some fantastic tools out there for adding those finishing touches to your images. Using Lightroom on a computer is my number one recommendation, but if you’re going to use your cell phone, I use VSCO for filters, and then Snapseed for final editing.

4. Tell a story Although a picture can tell a thousand words, words are still an integral part of story telling. Social media captions are now being called ‘micro blogs’ as they’re more accessible than many other forms of writing, so use them well to captivate people. See Scott Ramsay’s Instagram account (@love_wild_africa) for a great example of this.

5. Collaborate with others After content, collaboration is king. There’s something special about working with other creatives – and it’s also a good way to get noticed. I make sure that most of my travel trips, or media visits include others creatives. Sharing each other’s content means you’re introduced to new audiences. Also make sure you follow feature accounts on social media, and remember to tag them when appropriate.

6. Grow your following After putting out great content, one of the best ways to grow your following is by engagement. I spend upwards of an hour a day on social media engaging with others to grow my content. Engagement is like leaving lots of little breadcrumbs around, hoping that some of the trails will make it back to you – provided of course that when people do make it around to your account you give them something worth following! Make sure your engagement is real, and never use a bot (automated software) or buy followers!

7. Test your content While your mom may rightfully be your biggest fan, make sure you have some friends or family that you can test your content on, and ask for honest feedback. Not having had a degree in English or journalism, I have a group of friends who thankfully offer their skills as editors, and from going through their edits I’ve learnt a lot on how to improve my writing.

8. A note on money… Unless you’re going to be working fulltime for a publication, it’s worth pointing out that it’s difficult to survive financially as a travel writer – even those doing it professionally don’t find it that easy, and many of us have multiple income streams. I don’t’ say this to deter emerging writers, but rather so that you’re prepared.

9. Ready, steady, pitch When you’ve had some practice and you think you’re ready to play in the big game, it’s time to pitch: contacting an editor with an idea that you’d like to write about. They’re usually inundated with pitches, so make it unique, keep it brief, and make sure you know the audience and voice (the specific writing style) of the publication.

10. Find your unique voice These days every second person considers themselves a content creator, so if you’re wanting to stand out you need to find your unique voice and run with that. People are looking for content that is authentic and unique, and particularly content that carries someone’s voice and personality.

Jared is an independent travel writer, content creator and tour guide based in Cape Town. Find him at www.jaredincpt.com or on Instagram as @jaredincpt

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