“If you build it, they will come,” may be one of my favorite lines from any movie ever. It is romantic and hopeful and conjures magical images like the trail of headlights lining up to spend money at a remote cornfield and baseball diamond in Iowa, just as they did in the Field of Dreams. As much as I love the idea, this for me falls under the heading of “magical thinking.” It is the notion that I put forth a minimal effort but success miraculously shows up and falls in my travel blogs lap because that is what I want.
Sadly, in travel writing and in my personal experience of building In The Know Traveler, the line could not be further from the truth. Miracles just don’t show up. Success comes from hard work and a little luck that feels a lot like more hard work.
So with all the issues I have had with ITKT over the years, I have made a list to help future travel bloggers to debunk some the myths that come with the enthusiastic starting, and maintaining, of your own blog.
1. I Can Write a Good Article in a Minute.
Well, this one is true — at least for poorly written stories. Good writing takes time and planning. Good travel writing takes an eye for details and an experience to inspire others to travel. Few can spit out a good travel story
2. I Love Travel and Will Always have Interesting Things to Say.
This sure wasn’t true for me. Sometimes great ideas take forever to form into a story that others will appreciate. Other times, the pictures in the writer’s head never quite make it to paper. As a passionate reader of travel writing, I receive tons of submissions with this exact problem. I can just tell there is an exciting experience the writer wants to get down on paper that never quite becomes an exciting experience for the reader.
To my series to Avoid Travel Writing Rejection
3. I Will Start a Blog and Trips Will Fall from the Sky.
Most press trips and media invites will come because you have developed your site beyond something ordinary and have done so consistently over time. Don’t expect things to happen over night. Remember, while many PR firms and NTOs have a hard time filing out press trips, the hard part of not finding the warm body, but a quality writer. This means your blog will need to be perceived as quality next to your fellow writers. A site will have to stand out.
For tips on How to Get on a Press Trip
4. I Will Make Money.
Probably not for a while. I would argue that it is probably much easier to get a press trip that might cost the host $10-20,000 than it is to get that host company to pay $100 a month on an ad online. Most affiliate programs suck, which leaves using your brain more than traditional programs. Be prepared to think outside the box and convey ideas that set yourself apart and make you attractive to potential media partners.
5. My Friends Will Help Me Promote My Travel Blog — They are My Friends, Right?
Wrong. Maybe a few friends will help a little, for a little while. Unless you have friends who love the subject you are writing expect minimal help and to build your own community of like-minded people who like the information you are presenting.