A lot has changed since Chuck Woodbury wandered the U.S. in a motorhome writing about everything from Fred Flinstone memorabilia in Bedrock City, Ariz., to aggressive Cheez-It-seeking chipmunks in Oregon.
Now the Edmonds, Wash., man who earned fame 20 years ago as the founder of his written-from-the-road, quarterly print magazine Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as the editor of a popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers.
Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to Woodbury’s RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox – last Saturday, in fact, was his 500th issue. Since he tracks his site visits closely, he knows that he averages 60,000 readers weekly, so an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
And thanks to his robust RV-focused audience, Woodbury is able to generate a good income with advertising, which he doesn’t need to sell – advertisers come to him with RV-related products and services for his national audience.
“We turn down a lot of advertising – because it’s either a questionable product or service or its not relevant enough,” Woodbury said. “It’s a waste of the advertisers’ space and a waste of our readers’ time. So everything has to be about our readers.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. He’s always had a passion for writing, and says it’s not hard to come up with new subjects to write about.
“When you travel it’s easy because you stumble across new stuff,” Woodbury said. “This morning it was raining and I wrote an essay on how the rain’s starting up in the Northwest, how I’ve become accustomed to it and kind of like it. And I led into how I really like it when I’m out in my motor home in the forest and it rains. How cozy it feels and the sound and the smell of the forest.”
He admits, thought, that there are a few topics he won’t touch. “I stay away from politics and religion,” he said. “You can never win.”
His readers range in age from 30 to 90, but average 50 to 60. “It’s an older crowd,” he said. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
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