Target Your Readers’ Emotions…and Sell More
- How Travel Writers are Turning Trends into Checks
- Target Your Readers’ Emotions… and Sell More
- More Opportunities and Resources for Writers
A few weeks ago, Jen Stevens, freelance travel writer and author of AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program, gave us advice for turning today’s hottest trends into fast-selling travel articles. You’ll find her words of wisdom in Issue # 111 of our archives here: How to Turn a Profit from a Feel Good Trend.
I bring that up because everywhere I look I see articles that speak directly to the trends that Jen identified.
For instance, she mentioned “caring” and talked about people pampering their pets and being interested in educating themselves about issues.
On the cover of this month’s Budget Travel you’ll find the teaser: “Pet Travel: Expert Tips to Make Your Dog Happy”
Jen mentioned “togetherness” as a trend, too, and talked about people longing for nurturing marriages, strong families, and solid friendships. She suggested you could sell an article on friends traveling together.
Lo and behold, Budget Travel has just put together an entire supplemental summer magazine devoted to just that — called Girlfriend Getaways — which contains articles with teasers like, “The Shoe Lover’s Guide to Travel” and “Looking to Meet Guys? We Know Where to Go.”
In her piece on trends, Jen also speaks about “peace of mind,” the idea that in an uncertain world, people are looking for inner peace.
In today’s New York Times, there’s a day-trip travel article titled, “Pacem in Terris: A Retreat Dedicated to Peace and Art.”
In it, the writer says of her experience there:
“An air of meditative quiet suffuses Pacem. People wander quietly or talk in hushed tones. Soothed by the rush of the river and calmed by the peacefulness, I found my stay on the grounds stretching to four hours. I paused before one after another of Dr. Franck’s works and left feeling inspired.”
My point is: Jen’s onto something with those trends she talks about. Read her article — it’s worth your while. Again, you’ll find it here: How to Turn a Profit from a Feel Good Trend.
Before you click through, though, take a few minutes to read on below, where you’ll find even more advice from Jen in this week’s issue. She focuses on the one, sure-fire way to grab your reader with every piece you write.
No matter how good an idea you have for your article — even if it speaks, without question, to a current trend — if you don’t approach your piece with this simple truth in mind, it’s going to be difficult to sell.
But take this secret into account, and you’ll immediately increase your chances of writing a piece readers (and editors) can’t resist.
Don’t forget to keep me up-to-speed on your travel-writing or photography success. If you have a story to share, send me a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,
Director, Great Escape Publishing
[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.]
AN EMOTIONAL APPEAL: TARGET YOUR READER’S DESIRES, AND YOU’RE SURE TO SELL MORE
By freelance writer Jennifer Stevens in Colorado Springs, CO
Learn to structure your stories so they grab your reader’s emotions and desires, and your articles will sell better, guaranteed.
How do you make that emotional connection? To answer that, let’s consider the question: Why do people travel?
Unless they are traveling for business or to attend to family matters or some such, they probably aren’t traveling for any “rational” reason.
I mean, when you think about it, there’s really no “rational” reason to leave Chicago and visit the Great Wall of China… or to drive from Miami on a tour of the nation’s national parks.
In fact, there may be a lot of “rational” reasons not to. It costs a lot to travel (unless you’re a travel writer). Highways are often crowded and sometimes dangerous. You have to pack and unpack. Air travel these days involves long lines and hassles.
Nevertheless, people do travel. They travel for pleasure. They travel because travel is romantic and exciting. It makes people feel good. It makes them feel better than people who can’t travel… smarter, worldlier, luckier.
We’ve talked in this newsletter before about the importance of knowing your audience. That understanding of your readers comes into play here.
** Let Your Audience Dictate the Emotions You Target…
If you’re writing a piece about some undiscovered island off the coast of Panama for a backpacker audience, then you’d probably appeal to your readers’ desire for adventure.
If you’re writing a piece about an extremely high-end spa outside of Las Vegas for an upscale audience, then you’d probably appeal to your readers’ desire to feel privileged.
Depending on the sort of piece you’re writing, other core emotions may come into play.
For an article about kayaking solo down a remote river, you might appeal to a reader’s sense of fear.
For an article about staying amidst the locals in an underprivileged land, you might appeal to your reader’s sense of compassion.
** Hook Your Reader with an Emotional Appeal Right Up Front
It’s important to make an emotional appeal first in your stories. You can write about a tropical island by ticking off for the reader how many beaches there are, how many rooms the resort you recommend has, what the average temperature is, how many inches of rainfall the place gets…
Or you can write about a tropical island by saying: “You land on a tiny airstrip, built the short way on a long, slender spit of sand. You take your jacket off, put your sunglasses on, and fold yourself in half to get through the small plane’s door. A smiling driver waves you over to his dusty, rust-eaten 87 Ford pick-up. Six minutes later, you’re in paradise.
“You drop your carry-on in an attentively swept lobby — Mexican-tiled floors, wide glass expanse to the water. And you walk directly through to the beach to stand for a few minutes under the shade of a palapa roof. You soak in the salt air, the soft sand, the clear turquoise waters. No more email. No more traffic. No more news. Not a soul on the wide, mile-long, crescent-shaped strip of beach. Just you and a glorious feeling of escape. A young woman in red plastic flip-flops and a flimsy white sundress hands you a cold bottle of beer, wrapped in a paper napkin, and asks you for your name so she can check what room you’re in and have your bags delivered.”
Now, honestly, which description holds more appeal? The second, I think you’ll agree. And you know why? Because it doesn’t “sell” the place in a logical way.
** The Difference Between the Number of Beaches and the Feel of the Soft Sand Between Your Toes
As the old adage goes: Convince the heart, and the mind will follow.
In other words, grab your reader with an emotional appeal. Once you’ve done that, you can dish up the “justification.”
It’s not that facts about the number of beaches or the average temperature are irrelevant, it’s just that they aren’t immediately compelling. That information that speaks to the “mind” has its place — and that place is best interwoven into your text, adequately cushioned by those elements that have a more visceral appeal.