Imagine this – you’re lounging in a quiet room with soft lighting, on a cozy, overstuffed chair, wearing one of those luxuriously soft robes. You’re sipping a cup of calming hot tea. Your mind and body ease into a relaxed state.
A spa attendant instructs you in a soft voice to follow her into a treatment room, where for the next couple of hours, you will be pampered with a rejuvenating facial and relaxing body scrub and massage.
The only thing that could possibly make this dream better is if at the end, instead of paying several hundred dollars for this treatment, you were paid to be pampered.
As a Barefoot Writer, it’s totally possible for you to enjoy this luxury!
Now, not only do I get complimentary “signature” spa treatments (usually the best, longest, and most expensive on the spa menu), but I’m also being paid to write an article about my experience.
If that wasn’t dreamy enough, many of the spas I visit are resort spas or connected with a boutique hotel.
The PR managers of these properties feel it necessary that I “experience” all of the accommodations to write a thorough review of their spa. So they often offer me free nights in their hotels as well.
Let’s add up the perks: complimentary spa treatment ($300 and up), payment for writing the review article for a magazine or website ($200 and up), hotel accommodations (1–2 nights, $1,000 and up).
Somebody pinch me.
Yes, I’m a travel writer specializing in writing about spas.
But previous travel writing experience is not a prerequisite to getting paid to be a spa reviewer or getting these sorts of perks. Anybody can get in on the action.
I’ll walk you through the steps you can take to break into this luxurious Barefoot Writing niche.
1. Make a list of magazines and websites that write about spas
But don’t limit yourself to spa-only sources. Visit a bookstore and peruse the magazines. Travel magazines, lifestyle magazines, and many others include spa stories of some kind.
Also consider blogs and websites covering topics like cooking, lifestyle, fitness, baby, and travel. They often cover spa-related stories as well.
All these sources will give you some great ideas you can use as a spa reviewer.
2. Familiarize yourself with their content and practice writing
Read as many spa reviews as you can from all the different spa magazines and websites you’ve researched.
This will help you learn how to write a good spa review, and you’ll see how each publication structures their reviews.
If you’ve never written a spa review before, now is the time to start practicing!
When you start to approach publishers with your spa review ideas, as we’ll discuss in the next section, you’re also going to need some writing samples you can show them.
For practice, you can start by writing a few fictitious spa reviews for spas in your area. If you do eventually submit these as writing samples, make sure you specify in your submission that they were done on spec and were never actually published.
It’s also a good idea to get some feedback on your spa reviews. You can ask other writers for feedback if you’re part of a writing community, or ask friends and family.
Another option for writing practice is to write about your own past spa treatments.
Even if you’ve paid for a spa treatment, you can still write an informal review of your experience as a writing sample and submit these to websites and magazines.
If you have your own writer’s website or a blog, you can also post them on your own site. This will give you published examples of your work that you can share with potential clients.
3. Find their contact information and send them spa review ideas
Most magazines and websites will include their submission guidelines and the types of articles and/or reviews they’re looking for. You’ll find this information on each website, and in the magazines themselves.
Pay close attention to each publication’s submission guidelines as you get ready to contact each one. Come up with a few ideas for different spas you’d like to review, and how you’ll conduct your research.
Write a cover letter or email to each company outlining the spa review you want to do, and include your best writing samples relating to the type of content they publish.
Also mention your experience with spas in your cover letter or email. Editors and spa public relations people love to work with writers with experience. So, make sure to express your enthusiasm for spas and mention some of your favorite treatments.
Once you have everything ready, send your spa review ideas to the magazines and websites you’ve targeted. And remember to keep track of who you contacted and when so you can follow up if needed.
For more details on approaching publishers, check out AWAI’s article on how to pitch your ideas to editors here.
4. Become a Facebook fan and “like” spa pages
Being a professional spa reviewer may seem like an insider’s gig. But you can make yourself an insider by getting connected through social media.
Research different spas you might like to review and join their Facebook pages, such as Ojai Valley Inn, Miraval Resorts and Spas, Lake Austin Spa Resort, or any others that interest you.
Also make sure you join the Facebook pages for the spa magazines and websites you identified earlier.
5. “Like” spa-related industry pages and participate when possible
Joining spa-related industry associations and groups can also give you some great insights and connections.
These pages will keep you updated on the trends in the growing spa industry. You can take note of ideas to include in your spa reviews, and keep track of potential spas or new treatments to try out.
Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to other group members to ask questions and offer support where possible. The more people who get to know you as a helpful member of the group, the more likely it is that they might refer you to a potential client.
When I first started spa reviews, they did not always lead to paid articles, but who was I to complain?
Many spas extended complimentary signature spa treatments due to my blog. And eventually, my network and reputation grew until I was getting paid to be pampered.
You can become a professional spa reviewer, too. All it takes is a bit of persistence and following the steps I’ve outlined here.
Before you know it, you’ll be getting paid to receive amazing spa treatments in your home town or other exotic locations.
Could the Barefoot Writer’s life get any better?