6 Reasons to Target Expat Writers In Your Destination

May 04, 2023

When pitching stories to writers, destination marketing experts need not always look further than the very places they are marketing. While media hubs like New York and London seem like obvious choices for travel writers to live, expat writers – from Americans and Canadians to Brits and Aussies – are writing for their home publications from abroad.

Travel writers don’t necessarily need to travel anymore – not in the traditional sense, anyway. Consider expatriation as a sort of prolonged travel experience. Many of these writers are living abroad and making a living by writing for their home audiences. They can blog in real time, respond to breaking tourism news, and send in copy as fast as any writer if there is an internet connection available. Consider them as just another option to add to your media relations portfolio.

Let’s consider a few of their selling points.

1. Expats are Cost-effective
Cut the transportation cost by working with local experts abroad. Expat writers can attend a meal or get a staycation for a few nights in a hotel, because you’ll still need to entice them, but ultimately local talent is less of a financial investment.
If they are joining a fam trip with journalists from other countries, they may need subsidized train travel or a car rental even, but nothing will equal the expense of a trans-oceanic flight. Consider them a bargain. What’s the downside? It might take a few more emails to organize with locals on the ground, but it hardly seems like a reason to ignore expat writers.

2. More Local Insight
Expats know their cities better than most. Years of living as an outsider force many to go to extremes to become insiders, and you should take advantage of this knowledge. Your fam trip may include one experience, but maybe they know something you don’t, but should. Tap into the expat to get fresh perspectives that the tourism bureau may not even realize exist.
They’ll also likely – well, sometimes –speak the local language, allowing easier access to sources that could make your life a lot easier. You want them to speak with a certain distributor or a certain concierge? They’ll be able to do it in the local language and write it in English with ease.

3. They Are Tight Knit
An expat writer abroad always knows other writers. Secretly they all are trying to recreate the whole Hemingway-Fitzgerald thing, or so it seems. By tapping into an expat’s network, you are opening yourself up to a world of possibilities. You’ll find other people interested in covering the destination or pitching your story. You’ll have fresh eyes to pitch to in the future.
These expats also know the local English-speaking media. Did you ever think of pitching to Time Out Paris or Time Out Beijing, who have robust English publications? Sure, these publications are designed for locals, but visitors use them, too – especially savvy ones – so consider them as earned media worth hunting.

4. Easy to Catch
Much of the time, expat writers cover a certain destination and so will be filtering their emails much more carefully. This means that if you are targeting the right person about the right destination, it’ll be easier to get noticed. They are looking for a story specifically about their city or country, so they will at least click open your pitch if it fits their geographic terrain.
Also, many expat writers are juggling several contracts and freelance gigs, so if you make it easier for them to pitch a story to their editors with an amazing proposition, they’ll be enthusiastic to discuss it.

5. Built-In Audience
Expats tend to write about certain destinations and their followers online tend to be interested in those destinations. Having a local expat write and share a story about the destination might not reach the masses, but – quality vs. quantity – you’re getting the eyeballs you want.
Maybe their socials are all humble in scale, but a humble following of eager, destination-devoted individuals might be better than a wider audience of potentially disinterested followers for a generic travel publication.

6. Easy to Find
Expat writers tend to blog or write for English-speaking publications popular among like-minded expats. See who is writing for The Beijinger in China. Check bylines on BonjourParis.com in France. Scan Thrillist and Afar to see who is contributing. Read up on local expat blogs or Instagram accounts to help identify potential collaborators.
Some tourism bureaus highlight expat writers’ blogs on the destination’s website. Or simply check the masthead for the most recent updates of any travel guide from Fodor’s to Lonely Planet. You might not be aiming for the guide, but chances are (remember, Easy to Catch) they’re probably writing for other publications that you want, too.
With their unique perspectives and audiences, and low cost for fam trip participation, it’s clear that expat writers are an asset for any upcoming media pushes in your destination!

Looking to market an overseas country to North American travelers more effectively? DCI has more than 60 years of doing just that for destinations around the world. Get in touch with Kayla Leska at [email protected] to learn about strategies to connect the right journalists with your target audiences.

Written by

Kayla Leska

Vice President