Four Key Writing Tips from an Airline Magazine Editor
Writing for airline in-flight magazines is not only fun and rather glamorous (I mean, you should see the look on people’s faces when you tell them you write for these magazines — they’re genuinely impressed)…
But it can be really lucrative, too…
Here are four tips I gleaned from Ann Silva, editor of ExpressLane Magazine (that’s the in-flight magazine of ExpressJet Airlines), that will help you get a foot in the door at any airline magazine:
4 TIPS FOR BREAKING INTO AIRLINE IN-FLIGHT MAGAZINES
TIP #1: Consider the size of the aircraft.
ExpressJet uses only small, regional jets. Ann told us a story about a great article she received from a doctor about how to lift your bags into the overhead bin without straining your back. It was a good article… very well written. But ExpressJet’s overhead bins are really small. Bags heavy enough to cause back injury won’t fit. So while this is a perfectly good article idea, it’s not right for ExpressLane — or any other regional carrier like it.
TIP #2: Consider the destinations to which the airline flies.
ExpressJet pays Ann and funds her magazine. So if her airline stops selling seats on its planes, Ann is out of a job. Her goal, then, is to encourage repeat business to the cities where ExpressJet flies.
Now, Ann herself loves to read about Paris — and readily admits that her readers would probably like to read about Paris, too. But ExpressJet doesn’t fly there. If she were to run a story about it — she’d be encouraging her readers to take another airline. She’d be shooting herself in the foot if she ran such a piece. So she won’t do it.
TIP #3: Consider the length of the flights.
One of the reasons ExpressLane is only 32 pages long is because ExpressJet flights last less than two hours. Readers don’t have time to flip through a more traditional 150-page in-flight magazine. And they don’t have time to read 3,000-word articles, either.
If the in-flight you’re aiming to write for doesn’t have Writer’s Guidelines, then look at the length of the flights the airline takes. If they’re short, send only short articles. If they fly across seas, longer articles are probably OK.
TIP #4: Consider the reader.
ExpressJet caters mostly to male business travelers between the ages of 25-55. And that’s true of most airlines. It’s not that women and children don’t fly. It’s just that they’re not the majority. And they’re not where most of the airline’s income comes from, either.
When you’re writing an article for an in-flight, think about those male readers and what topics would interest them. An article on scrapbooking in New Orleans won’t sell as well as a round-up of three great barbecue restaurants in Birmingham.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]