How to Write for Your Local Tourism Site and Land Great-Looking Clips
Getting your first paying clips can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the budget to whisk off to exotic destinations every third weekend.
That’s why — as we’ve said before in these pages — writing locally is often the easiest, fastest, and most cost-effective way to begin.
Most states and a lot of cities, too, put out local tourism publications. They are a great place to break into travel writing, build clips for your portfolio, and make money. I did it by writing for Oregon.com… a travel guide for anyone visiting that state. The site is full of links to hotels, attractions, travel resources, and recreation, but they also have a section called “Oregon.com presents,” with articles written by locals on things to see and do around the state.
Here’s how I got my foot in the door — and how you can, too:
First, check to see if your state or city has a tourism site. If so, read the stories on the site to see what kind of style the editors prefer… whether or not they use sidebars… and what kinds of topics they haven’t covered yet, etc.
Next, find the editor’s contact information and send him or her an email introducing yourself as a travel writer and asking for writer’s guidelines. Remember, you are a travel writer — even if you’re not yet published. (Unless you’re asked, there’s no need to mention you’re new to the game.)
In my case, the editor wrote back with a list of topics he had in mind and asked that I write a story on a trial basis — on spec, essentially.
I picked a local market in Portland, which was one of the story ideas on his list.
I also took plenty of photos — portrait and landscape. (It’s always smart to take lots of pictures so you can cull through them and offer the best ones with your story.)
When you send in your article, check the writer’s guidelines to find out whether you attach the photos with your submission or if, instead, you should just advise the editor that you have photos available.
Chances are, if you followed all the guidelines, you’re already ahead of the competition. When I included a sidebar with my article and offered photos to accompany the story, the editor was overjoyed and immediately asked me to write another article.
Articles in Oregon.com generally run around 600 to 1,000 words, including an information sidebar and 3 to 5 photos. The site pays between $100 and $150 per article with photos. The level of payment depends on how much editing is required, how many photos you submit, and the length of your article, etc.
Oregon.com editor Joshua Todd says he is always on the lookout for good writing from locals. This could well be the case in your home state, too.
If you’ve got an Oregon story that might fit well at Oregon.com, you can contact Mr. Todd at: email@example.com.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]