HOW TO SELL MORE BY MAKING YOUR ARTICLES BALANCED
By Krista Jones in Roswell, GA
When you’re writing about the Westin Maui Resort and Spa — which is something I had to do for a recent writing project — it is easy to focus on the resort’s beauty and all the wonderful advantages of staying there.
For instance, you might write that it’s situated along a magnificent stretch of Ka’anapali Beach, with spectacular views of Lanai and Molokai. You might also write about its exclusive services, first-rate restaurants, and cultured entertainment. And you might add that although it is a world unto itself, it is just minutes from Maui’s many attractions.
Those are all wonderful points to make. But as nice as they are, they may not be enough to get an editor’s attention. So what more do you need to do?
Here’s a secret I learned from AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting that will help you make your articles more appealing to editors — and, of course, to “regular-old” readers, too…
FOUR TIPS FOR WRITING COMPELLING… AND SALEABLE ARTICLES
Granted, writing marketing sales copy and travel articles may seem like two very different things. But they’re not as far apart as you probably think. Both need to be persuasive and well-balanced. And that’s exactly what applying “The Four-Legged Stool” will do for your writing — whether its intent is to sell somebody a product or service (as a marketing piece does) or sell somebody a destination (as a travel article does).
Here are the four legs of the stool:
1. Benefits: Don’t just tell your reader a resort has spacious rooms.
Tell her how the hotel’s spacious rooms give her a great view no matter which one she’s in. Don’t just tell her that the resort offers a long list of activities. Tell her, instead, that it’s perfect for all types of Hawaiian vacations — from a lazy beachfront getaway to a high-octane escape — because it has thrilling diversions and amenities to satisfy every interest.
AND…take some time to search for benefits that may not be so obvious. Since these types of benefits are more abstract, it can be more difficult to convey them.
For example, a more abstract benefit of staying at the Westin (a decidedly upscale resort) is feeling prestigious. But rather than stating that outright, you’d want to convey that benefit to your reader by illustrating the specifics that add up to “prestigious.”
Talk about the turn-down service. Talk about the fine dining. Talk about the 1,000-thread-count sheets. You want your reader to absorb that feeling of “prestige” from your article. Do that, and the result will be a much more powerful article.
2. Ideas: Benefits are great, but to really engage your reader, also give her an appealing idea to think about. For the idea to work it should meet two requirements: It must reinforce her pre-existing beliefs and feelings, and it must present an authentic view.
So in the case of the Westin example, if you’re writing to a busy reader who’s looking for a genuinely pampering escape, then you want to state that idea clearly in your article. Take a position about this place, in other words. Tell your reader “If you’re busy schedule has driven you to the brink, there’s no better place to reclaim your sanity and recharge, than at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa, where your comfort is, without question, the staff’s number one priority.”
You need a clear “angle” that will appeal to your reader, and that angle is your big idea.
3. Credibility: Give readers a reason to believe you. One of the best ways to establish credibility is to include photographs that further illustrate what your article states. Also helpful are quotes from people that reinforce your idea.
For instance, in an article about the Westin Maui, you might quote the General Manager talking about what he or she thinks is the number one way the resort distinguishes itself. And you might quote fellow guests. Find somebody who’s staying there to say, “I work 65 hours a week, minimum, back in New York. I have three weeks of vacation a year. I could have gone someplace closer to the east coast, sure — and I used to. But I’ve been coming here every year for the past five years because no place else provides this kind of genuine getaway. When it’s all said and done, this is the place I dream about when I’m stuck in traffic and ready to pull my hair out.”
4. Track Record: Hmmm… that one sounds a little bit trickier, doesn’t it? Not to worry — it just means you should state the “performance record” of the place or service you’re writing about.
For the Westin, you might state how long the resort has been the number one resort on the island. Or if you’re writing about a café, talk about the number of satisfied customers, number of years in business, or what critics have to say.
I always keep the four-legged stool in mind as I write because it lets me know that my piece is balanced. Try it…I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Krista Jones is a former Environmental Scientist turned copywriter who credits AWAI’s Accelerated Course for Six-Figure Copywriting for not only teaching her how to write effective copy, but for helping her improve all areas of her writing.
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.]