What does a travel and food web content creator, manager, producer actually do? The perfect opportunity to reflect & elaborate on this came to me in 2016 whilst celebrating a decade of being self-employed. Whilst the independence of freelancing has allowed me to pick and choose the roles, companies and people that I work for online it can be hard for outsiders to see the common thread of skills I can offer when they scan read the work titles in my portfolio, especially those outside the fields of travel and food. Tracking 3 days midweek will hopefully be illuminating and help highlight the roles I can perform on behalf of potential clients…
3 Days of Travel and Food Mid-Week
I work a split day, from 09:00-14:45 and then for another 2 hours in the evening, enabling me to share time with my little boy when his pre-school finishes at 15:00. A flexible split shift is invaluable when working online internationally; I can fit in perfectly with my clients’ time-zones whether they are in Jamaica, Italy or the UK. I am unsure why in the UK there isn’t as great a take-up by companies to employ Mums in a flexi-role web management capacity as there is in the US. As long as I have my laptop and an internet connection I can work anywhere. In the UK Mums can put in a request when they go back to work post maternity leave for flexible working but it’s still rare to see positions like this actively advertised.
Writing an Offer, Promoting an Offer
Smaller travel related companies often find it difficult to manage the daily running of their business with active web marketing even when brilliant concepts are on their doorstep, so creating a strategy and pre-determining an editorial calendar for them, their partners and I to work towards is really useful. Most of my Tuesday morning was spent researching traditional Caribbean springtime activities for a Jamaican client. I needed to put together a “book early” holiday offer that would appeal to those who believe an experience counts more than a discount, and most importantly would benefit a local community in a quest for sustainable tourism.
This Jamaican retainer client has been with me since I first started offering travel & food copywriting and web production. They were awarded Best Hotel for the Environment in 2010 by Responsible Tourism and Virgin, who praised the website I developed with them and the promotion of their local community suppliers. Following email sign-off of the proposed offer and a quick photo shoot by the clients, I wrote a post, a newsletter in Mailchimp and, once imagery had come through, created separate ads on Facebook and Instagram to support the offer. Whilst waiting for this post’s imagery I sourced appropriate photographs for a post that I had written the week before, ‘How Safe is Jamaica?’, from the collection that I had taken on-location some 4 years previously.
In between I had an admin Facebook conversation with an Italian food client who have commissioned me to write a series of seasonal travel and food posts to help increase their brand awareness. As visitors cannot currently buy on their site I delicately nudged them to provide a traditional recipe on their site so that visitors would not in effect be pushed to a dead website from my post on low gluten pasta that will be published at the end of March.
This was followed by providing a couple of hours in-house WordPress training to one of the event managers for a website I’d created for the St Albans Literary Festival, and then it was back to research on the Zika virus and mosquito repellant for a new travel tip post.
Next on the agenda was writing a post for Mother’s Day and rewriting two posts that had been written by the owner of a new jewellery site that I designed on Shopify. I can never say my job is not varied; researching the history of birthstones and their perceived powers as well as the trend of chains this season was fascinating and a world away from mosquito-borne diseases! The client has been pulled away on location so the launch of this ecommerce site has been postponed till the beginning of April.
Back to wearing a Jamaican hat and working with a blogger on polishing up their media kit to take part in the ‘Jamaica Inspires’ blog tour that I had created for a number of partners on the island. Being a blogger myself, I know only too well that you cannot live on links and a blog tour is not a ‘holiday’; hopefully a wonderful experience, but a lot of work from live streams across the main social media platforms and posts post-trip. It’s essential to get the PR companies involved to pay air travel but that requires easily understood figures and numbers in addition to a great blog and large social media following. Last task of Day 3: finding suitable sustainability quotes to be printed on beach bags.
Sadly there was no time over these particular 3 days to write posts for my own blogs on travel, food and folklore nor to work on my book Folk and Food. It’s hard to maintain the momentum of writing when you have been copywriting and marketing all day for third parties together with working on your version of SuperMum. Justifying staying up late to write a dynamic creative blog post that more often than not will not contribute directly to paying household bills is a hard to manage. The inclination is still very much there but reserved to non-work personal time at the weekend.