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Networking: an editor's perspective | Important travel webinar
loveEXPLORING editor Laura Jackson on networking...
This Editor’s Perspective feature will be a regular slot in our monthly content, bringing you insights directly from one of our industry’s esteemed editors or staff writers. Don’t miss out next month and become a paid subscriber today:
When I (Lottie) joined Love Inc to help them launch loveEXPLORING.com, my first day on the job happened to be at TravMedia’s International Media Marketplace (IMM). My then-boss and I spent the day bouncing from PR to tourist board, spreading the word about this brand new website that didn’t yet exist, and by the end of the day, I think over 100 industry professionals had heard our elevator pitch. We managed to bag a launch partner — thanks Claire from Cool Stays — and we even got press trip invites before we had a readership.
I put a large part of the initial success of that website down to the networking we did that day, and now the brilliant Laura Jackson is responsible for its continued popularity. I think it’s fair to say that the website has thrived under her editorship so far — they’ve seen record numbers even during the pandemic — and Laura is equally passionate about networking as I am. We caught up on the topic earlier this month…
A brief reminder that we’re sponsored by the British Guild of Travel Writers this month — the industry’s community of accredited writers, bloggers, photographers, and broadcasters; the trusted body for comment and content on travel. They run networking events, seminars and masterclasses — email Chairman Simon Willmore to find out more.
An Editor’s Perspective with Laura Jackson, Editor of loveEXPLORING.com
Q: Laura, you network a fair amount. How do you do it and why is it important to you?
I think it’s two things really. I think it’s two things really. When you change roles as I did back in 2018 to loveEXPLORING, and back in 2013 when I joined Woman and Woman’s Own, it’s about making sure that everybody actually knows where you are. I think the first thing is physical networking – actually going out to events – and the second thing is making sure that any of the kind of online listings are up to date so that people can find you.
On both of those occasions I’ve been pretty rigorous about updating my contacts book, and making sure that people like the Guild and TravMedia are up to date so people can find me in the first instance.
The reason for that is mainly because I find there is a direct connection between people knowing a lot about the loveEXPLORING brand, what we stand for and who our audience is, and getting the right press trips and right opportunities from PRs, and also for freelance writers. People need to have an idea of what we do and what makes loveEXPLORING tick.
In travel, it’s all about keeping abreast of the news and being on the right mailing lists. When it comes to arranging press trips and visits, I want to know who the PRs are that can help with that, and I’m a firm believer that you don’t get that from sitting behind a desk.
Q: How can writers network with you?
I personally don’t find approaches on social media that useful — I definitely prefer to get information through email. Normally, I’d be happy to meet for a coffee for example, and I’d much rather be approached for that via email than on social — mainly because I’ve got so many different channels I’m looking at.
In that initial email, I want to know what people’s specialisms are, who they’ve written for before and what’s attracting them to write for loveEXPLORING.com. I don’t need someone’s entire CV, and I absolutely will try and meet as many writers and people as I possibly can.
In the past on loveEXPLORING, we have consistently tried to commission new people, and a variety of writers, so it’s not just the same old writers. Of course, it’s much harder to make those connections at the moment, but when Covid is over, going for coffee is a good start. I do try to limit that to a couple a month, so I don’t have endless slots, but I do try and carve out time for that because it’s really important.
Q: What’s your last piece of advice on networking?
It’s really easy to say yes to everything — and I’ve definitely gone through phases of doing that. My main strategy now is to go to events where there will be lots of people, so the bigger tourist board events covering regions are really useful, and events by the big PR companies as well. Get in touch with the big players like Black Diamond and KBC — people who have got a lot of clients — that’s really important. With networking in travel there’s a lot of scope, not just for connecting with editors but also connecting with PRs who can help you come up with story ideas and can help arrange a trip.
Want to network with Laura? Drop her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was the second in our networking series, which is free for all subscribers throughout October. From November, those on the free plan will only get one email a month. Don’t miss a thing; become a paid subscriber here:
Webinar alert! Decolonizing travel writing — part two
Meera Dattani is chairing the next discussion on decolonizing travel writing for the British Guild of Travel Writers. Members go free, but non-members can pay a fiver to watch the debate. The last one was eye-opening, but this one will go one step further and provide practical solutions to the issues raised. We can’t wait.