Wondering how to break into travel journalism? In Episode Four, Season Two, of Passport to… freelance travel writer, editor, and brand consultant, Kate Lough, joins Rachael McKeon, travel editor at goop.com, to share their industry insights.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS WEEK’S EPISODE
Travel editor of goop.com, Rachael McKeon, joins writer, editor, and brand consultant, Kate Lough, to discuss getting into travel journalism. Topics covered include Instagram as a tool for success, advice on building an international network, and how to effectively pitch to travel editors.
Though neither Kate nor Rachael set out to pursue travel journalism initially, the journey here (note: we’ll come to sidestepping travel clichés in your writing later in the episode) has been rewarding and fun-filled. “There’s undeniably a really glamorous side to travel writing”. Venturing to incredible places and meeting amazing people all in pursuit of a great story; what’s not to love? Lengthy working days, over-stacked travel itineraries, and changing time zones are some of the detractors; travel journalism is also a notoriously competitive industry to break into.
Adaptability as a writer is important – as the past 12 months have proven. For Rachael, 2020 meant shifting focus towards localised content and armchair travel pieces, addressing how best to service goop.com’s readers. For freelancer Kate – who left her full-time editor role at Soho House Group just before COVID struck – a flexible approach and an ability to restrategise in order to attain commissions was paramount for success and/or survival.
Seize the opportunity and pitch to editors, but “don’t be so seduced by what’s cool now”. Ask yourself: “what do you find interesting?” suggests Rachael. “Great content is about having a point of view and distilling what’s awesome and what’s not for the reader”. “Contacting people via Instagram (in the right context) can be more helpful than an email” Kate adds. However, if you are sending pitches via email, it’s worth noting that “people tend to be more receptive on Mondays and Tuesdays, and mornings are always better.”
Wondering what editors are keen to commission right now? Predictions on post-COVID travel trends run the gamut. Kate asserts that there will be an “appetite for creative retreats” in the months ahead, while the “natural world” is a focus point for Rachael. And, if working remotely remains on the cards for the foreseeable, you’ll likely find writers workactioning across the globe. This week’s guests are certainly ‘pro’ a work-from-anywhere future. While Kate would choose to set up camp on one of the Cyclades, Rachael is keen to make Florence her base once more – “you can la dolce vita so hard there”.