6 Ways To Hone Travel Writing Skills When You Can’t Travel
The coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed global travel resulting in editors, travel writers and digital publishers living in limbo wondering what the future holds for the profession and their outlets. The pandemic has forced professionals in the travel industry to pivot and many wonder what travel journalism looks like in the post-pandemic world. Workloads have lightened and time is in abundance but there are still ways to hone your travel writing skills and engage in personal branding in order to position yourself for when the travel industry is wheels-up again.
Networking is one professional skill that cannot be deterred by a pandemic. Sure, you cannot attend conferences and networking events in person but continuing to build personal relationships does not require it. During this travel downtime it is important to check-in with your professional contacts and keep those relationships viable especially since the pandemic has caused many layoffs and personnel changes for travel media outlets. Relationship-building transcends job positions which means you could open new opportunities as those contacts pivot in their own careers.
Connect Virtually With Destinations
Destination marketing departments have gotten quite creative in the virtual pandemic world. Since most are not able to offer traditional press trips they are offering virtual tours of their destinations and engaging journalists in virtual events with press kits sent ahead of webinar presentations. Search destinations that you cover or plan to cover in the future and find out what virtual opportunities they are offering. This is a great way to stay active in the travel community and make new connections until you can physically travel to those destinations. You never know, you might just stumble on a place you might not have considered before.
There are plenty of ways to up-skill during this downtime with professional development opportunities. Maybe this tech-forward pandemic environment has left you uncomfortable on one too many zoom calls. How about taking a basic online technology class? Maybe you want to finish that book you’ve been working on for years and research how to find a publisher or agent. Be on the lookout for webinars and professional development opportunities that fit a need you’ve previously had no time or desire to fulfill.
SATW holds weekly Professional Development webinars for members on a range of topics from writing coaching to travel wellness. Not an SATW member? Find out how to join SATW and take advantage of our growing library of professional development sessions.
Stay Engaged in the Travel Community
Staying active in the travel community is essential right now. Taking part in webinars and online discussions and participating in social media dialogues keeps you engaged in the travel world and your finger on the pulse of what’s to come. It is important to keep up with thought leadership and current events as policies and practices change in the travel industry. It is also important to remain present in those discussions where important contacts are no doubt participating. Subscribe to industry newsletters that are relevant to you and look for discussion groups on travel topics of interest.
This is not the time to get rusty. As travel writers we rarely put down the pen or stop typing on the laptop and the lull in assignments should be no different when it comes to continuing to write. If you are a digital publisher you can manage the content that you distribute and find opportunities to keep writing. For journalists who rely on publication assignments, now is the time to focus on your personal blog posts, completing unfinished works or side projects. Figure out what works for your creative juices, even if it is just a journal, and continue writing to keep your skills sharp.
Update Your Branding
Now is a great time to revamp or update your personal branding while you have the time to do it. Does your website need a refresh? Are there marketing materials for your book or tours that are slated to resume later in the year that you can work on now to prepare? This is a perfect time to evaluate where you can step up your personal branding efforts.
One of the best networking and branding tools is LinkedIn. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, create one. Spend some time searching for current contacts and making new ones by perusing profiles of people in similar career positions or who work for companies that you are looking to establish a presence. Build on your branding in the professional platform where new contacts can take notice.