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September 17, 2014

How to write travel content for women

 

HOW TO WRITE TRAVEL CONTENT FOR WOMEN

Becca Blond, Guest Contributor for Melt Content

The first in a series about writing travel content for varied audiences and demographics, guest writer Becca Blond shares her expertise in writing for women – and her tips for getting it right.

When it comes to female and male brains, science has proven that there are clear differences in travelguidethe hard wiring. This
helps to explain why men generally rule the roost when it comes to reading maps, but women are better at remembering that restaurant in Florence with the rave reviews. So it makes sense that what men and women find engaging about travel content may also differ.

I spent half a dozen years travelling the world and writing Lonely Planet travel guidebooks with my spouse. And no matter how many guides we updated together, I was always surprised by just how different our choices were regarding what to include and what to ditch in each edition.

Of course, we would agree on some sights, but regularly our takes on what was fascinating and what was worth skipping were at odds. One argument about a beach in Thailand almost came to blows, as he was enchanted by the good surfing but I was grossed out by the seaweed invasion.

There’s no doubt that men and women react to (and write!) travel content differently. So how do you write successful travel content for a purely female audience? Here are my top five tips…

1. Embrace diversity and avoid cliches

Some women consider shopping as painful as going to the dentist, while others want to know all about the hottest new boutiques. Some ladies take immense pleasure from running marathons and climbing mountains, while for others the word ‘marathon’ should only used in reference to a day at the spa. Yep, us women are a diverse species, so when crafting content you would like a large amount of women to relate to, embracing this spirit is key: make sure you offer something for everyone. When writing travel features, you should include a good mix of active and relaxing adventures to highlight, but also think about how your female audience travels, and with whom.


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2. Four main categories

I consider four main categories of female travellers when curating travel content: solo travellers, girl’s trips, family travel and escapes with a romantic partner. Whether you are writing a hotel or restaurant review, a travel blog feature or an in-depth guide, make sure you know the type of travellers that are reading, and tailor your output to them. If you have a variety of readers, remember to include not only the romantic option, but also the one that welcomes screaming six-year-olds, and the one where a solo female traveller won’t receive unwanted male attention.

3. Be strong, smart and slightly sassy

Writing about shopping is fine. But give it a back-story; a hook that reels in the reader and isn’t vapid. For instance, if you’re writing a piece about the best shopping spots in Los Angeles, why not bring in an expert – a local designer or celebrity shopper – to give some insider knowledge? Not only will an eye-catching name make the piece pop and attract female readers, but women appreciate authority and expertise. Don’t be afraid to pass judgement or tell things like they are.

4. Consider safety, but don’t overplay it

Sadly, women must contend with safety concerns that typically don’t affect men. In many parts of the world – some would argue all – women are regularly subject to harassment, even danger, especially if they are travelling solo or with another woman. You should keep this in mind when creating your content, but don’t go overboard and expect every female traveller to be living in a constant fear of being defenceless. There is no need to point out the obvious, but if a particular country, city or neighbourhood has a reputation for being dangerous, it’s best to point this out truthfully and succinctly. If you have a personal humorous anecdote to sprinkle into the safety conversation, this can be a good way to introduce the topic without coming across as offensive.

For instance, one time while researching a travel guidebook in Durban, I was nearly mugged by three men in a narrow alleyway. I ended up fending off the attack with a knife I always carry when travelling. It was a ballsy move, but it also saved me from being mugged or worse. And it taught me to heed the advice in the guidebook and avoid walking alone down alleys in the area.

Read, read, read

To find out what works and what doesn’t, take a look at some of female travel blogs. Ignite.com is a fantastic resource, as they list their top 100 female bloggers on the web – including a section devoted to travel writers. Some of my own favourite female travel bloggers feature on this list!

But at the end of the day, the key thing to remember when writing travel content for women is that we wantparisinal
to read content that is empowering – and to which we can relate. Of course, many ladies will want to hear about those typically ‘girly things’ like shopping and spas and sunbathing in paradise, but they also want to read things about where other powerful women travel, about the season’s top travel trends, and personal stories like how to juggle travel with a relationship. There are also countless women who will lap up travel content about football, beer and gadgets.

The best advice of all? Make it engaging. Most women that read travel content are intelligent, discerning and busy, so if you do manage to hook their attention and convince them to read the content, make sure you leave them with a valuable take-away that they are going to remember.

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