By Guest Blogger Roy Stevenson of PitchTravelWrite.com
I’ve been a full time professional freelance writer for nine years. My early successes were modest, although I’ve never had any problems finding print outlets for my stories. As my bylines increased and as I’ve moved up the writing pyramid, my income has increased significantly, now even bordering on the respectable.
I started out by writing for print outlets like magazines, newspapers, and trade journals, with the occasional in-flight and on-board publication thrown in. And I still write for some of my better-paying print outlets because I enjoy writing in this field (and get some cool press trips out of it). I’ve also dabbled in copywriting and have even written a couple of booklets for businesses.
But, most important to me, I’ve finally managed to create a writing business that is portable. In other words, I can work from anywhere in the world that has good Internet access. It’s just as well that I can work remotely, because a large portion of my income is from travel writing. I’m on the road a lot—in some years, I travel as many as 150 days. With this fun profession, I’ve been on some marvelous press trips to many exotic destinations around the world.
Here are some of my observations about, and some advice for, aspiring travel writers who are considering entering this competitive arena and who want to set up their own travel website or blogsite business. However, before the rest of you freelance writers turn away, this advice is just as applicable to general freelance writing.
Sell Your Own Products and Services
When I launched my PitchTravelWrite.com travel writer’s website, I only had one eBook for sale. However, over the past year I’ve added 6 more, with plans for at least another half dozen “how to” eBooks. As my product offerings have increased, so has my income. I just wish I had more eBooks available when I first started my website.
I have also added writing coaching services and some travel writing marketing workshops to my repertoire, which are showing great promise and contributing significantly to my income.
What I’ve Learned: Make sure you have some solid products and services to sell when you first start your blog or website—the more products and services, the better.
Deliver High Quality Copy on Your Website or Blog site
The owners of many websites and blog sites slap anything they can get their hands on, up on their websites and blog sites. These sites are easy to distinguish because they’re agonizing to read and you lose your interest within the first few paragraphs. And, worse, you never return to these sites again.
Considering that half the battle to getting good traffic to your website or blog site is keeping readers coming back time after time, it’s critical that your content is top notch, versus reading like it was written for a content mill.
What I’ve Learned: Create good, actionable content that people will want to read in your specialty field. Don’t be tempted to post mediocre content because your readers will vote with their feet, and won’t return.
Stay Up With Ever-Changing and Fluid Online Writing Developments
A few years ago the travel writers and bloggers who were earning a good income were doing so through click-throughs and ads. Then along came Google’s new algorithms, which decimated these writer’s incomes. In their heyday, most of these blog sites and websites were doing so well that they never bothered adding a newsletter and building a subscriber base. And now they’re starting from scratch along with those of us who have entered the fray more recently.
What I’ve Learned: Making a living online now requires multiple streams of income and is in a constant state of flux. Consider offering some kind of coaching, putting on workshops, selling eBooks and white papers, and other products and services to bring in a steady income.
In Travel Writing Print is still the King for Those Sweet Press Trips!
Most travel bloggers gravitate towards blogging because there is no editor to screen their queries, and no editor to make them rewrite their stories. So it’s dead easy to publish your own stories online. But the downside of writing solely for the Internet is that you don’t get paid directly. Print still pays!
What I’ve Learned: Even though much of my income is derived from the Internet, I still write for print outlets to earn a solid income.
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