An African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
When I kicked off my travel-writing career two-and-a-half years ago, it didn’t take me long to realize that networking is paramount to travel writing success. Without it, there’s no way I would have 185 published articles.
When you network, you are selling yourself. By establishing both an online and in-person presence, you’re letting people know you’re out there. Your goal is to cast your net as far as you can.
One of the first things I did early in my writing career was to get business cards made and carry them with me at all times. One never knows when opportunity will strike — on a plane, a hotel, even a martini bar!
Relationships open doors. Open doors lead to opportunity. Opportunity leads to a published story.
So, with whom should we network?
Editors: This occurs most often through pitching and submitting multiple stories and establishing what I call a “pattern of excellence.” The editor comes to know and trust you. I’ve also used opportunities to attend happy hours or social functions hosted by local publications I write for. Getting to know editors (and publishers) has not only opened more doors for getting my stories published, but editors have also approached me to write stories they need. I’ve also made it a point to interact with editors at travel-writing conferences. There’s a lot to be said for putting a face with a name.
Professional travel-writing organizations: The benefit of these organizations is the chance to meet other writers, editors, and travel professionals. And some of these associations offer press trips. For those more social in nature, such as Travel Massive, local writers and others in the travel industry come together at social gatherings to interact and share the latest travel information. From these meetings, I’ve received hot tips about travel locations, which publications are accepting freelance submissions, and I’ve also been invited on local and regional small-group press trips. From one press trip alone, I met two editors for whom I now write travel columns.
Tourism organizations: Often called CVBs (Convention and Visitors Bureaus), representatives assist writers by providing information about their city or region and set up complimentary lodging, meals, tours, and more in exchange for published stories. One great way to meet hundreds of these reps on a one-to-one basis is to attend a local or regional travel-and-adventure show.
Other travel writers: Some of the best information I’ve received has come through my interactions with travel writer colleagues, either on press trips, at travel writing conferences or through online travel-writing groups. When writers share information with one another in what I call a “quid pro quo” manner, we all walk away with more knowledge about our travel industry.
In order to have a successful writing career, you must network. Your published story may be the destination, but networking is the vehicle that gets you there!
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]