In the world of travel writing, a never-before-covered story is the holy grail. Whether you are a magazine editor looking for the next big thing in travel or a tourism brand trying to ensure your blog stands out from the crowd, you find yourself on a never-ending quest for new, original ideas. Or, at the least, a fresh take on an older story.
So how do you sniff out a good travel story? Anyone who has ever tried will testify it isn’t easy; but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We drew on the experience of our travel writing team to come up with some helpful tips.
Use your team
Whether you run a blog, are the editor-in-chief of an in-flight magazine or the founder of your own tour company, you shouldn’t be solely responsible for all your content ideas. You should be always looking to your co-workers, friends and clients for their insight and input. The trick is to keep talking. Ask your colleagues and customers about their holiday and weekend plans, their expectations and experiences, the highlights and let-downs. The more people you look to for ideas, the better. That way, your chances of finding a nugget of newness multiplies.
Be open and adventurous
You can’t stumble upon an undiscovered idea unless you are open to stumbling. Which means, you need to be willing to try new things – especially when you are travelling. Don’t blindly follow the guidebooks; try to find things that have yet to make it into them. You can’t seek serendipity, but you can be receptive to it. Wander the streets, strike up conversations and follow your whims. Say yes far more often than you say no.
Granted, travel writers can’t always reinvent the wheel, but they can look for a new side to a tired subject. If you value your own inner voice and place stock in your own observations, you may find the guidebooks are painting a picture that doesn’t line up with your experiences. Share your own view and you’ll probably find that others agree.
While you are out investigating, always take along a notebook and a pen. The best ideas usually strike not when you’re sitting at a desk pouring over pitches but when you are experiencing something disconnected from work.
Get into research mode
Even when you aren’t travelling, the opportunities to unearth new ideas and angles abound. Read lots of travel writing, talk to travellers and trawl social media to see what the travel community are talking about. Take part in travel-related Twitter chats and listen to what participants are saying – their thoughts may be the catalyst for your next pitch or blog series. The more you observe and immerse yourself in the world of travel, the more new ideas you’re likely to have (and the more authority you’ll be able to bring to your travel content).
Consider outside help
Expecting to come up with original idea after original idea all by yourself is asking a lot. Sometimes, you just have to harness the experience of experts outside your publication or business. Employing the services of freelance writers and local tourism experts can broaden the scope, ensuring your written travel output encompasses a far wider range of experiences. If you want fresh commentary on old favourites, suggestions for potential new travel hotspots or recommendations on hard-to-find spots, there’s nothing for it but enlisting the help of outside experts.
Are you searching for fresh travel content? We can help. Scroll on through our latest projects to see what our travel writing team has come up with in the past. If you like what you see, get in touch by email or via Twitter.