Jen Stevens (author of Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program) here with your “Olympic Fuel” tip of the day.
Writing a strong headline for your article is a surefire way to get an editor to take notice. Most writers give their stories titles that are too general and lack adequate description, like “Washington Eateries” or “Wandering le Marais in Paris.”
But you can — and should — do better than that. If you do, you’ll sell more. I guarantee. Here, below, are five ways to do it, adapted from a list compiled by a writer colleague of mine, Bob Bly (Bly.com).
He suggests these techniques for marketers looking to get a buyer’s attention. When you think about it, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. After all, you want an editor to buy your piece.
** 1.) Put a number in your headline.
Numbers work. They show an editor you’ve got a “tight” article idea.
– 7 Good-Value B&Bs in Paris
– 3 New Sushi Finds in New York
** 2.) Be mysterious.
Hint at what you are offering, but don’t give the answer away. An editor will open your article to find out exactly what you are talking about.
– The Easiest Way to Get a First-Class Upgrade
– The 3 Best Tricks for Plane Travel with Toddlers
** 3.) Make a big promise.
A bold promise can get an editor’s attention. Consider putting a question mark after it. That can help address a reader’s inherent skepticism.
– Get Paid to Travel?
– Learn to Snowboard in Four Hours?
** 4.) Ask a question.
The right question can catch an editor’s eye. But make sure you’ve targeted your reader well. You don’t want to ask a question if the answer is going to be “no.”
– Can You Still Travel Europe on the Cheap?
– Ready for the Newest Extreme-Travel Challenge?
** 5.) Offer to reveal some secrets.
“Secrets” is a powerful word in a headline, and “lost secrets” are even more intriguing.
– 3 Secret Swiss Retreats
– Mayan Remedies: Lost Secrets from a Belizean Jungle
Knowing insider tricks like these for grabbing an editor’s attention or for breaking into new markets can be like rocket fuel for your travel writing career. Instead of taking the long way around and relying on trial-and-error to feel your way forward, you can simply get on the right path from the get-go and start running toward success.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: You can position yourself to do exactly that with our report from freelancer Steenie Harvey, “The Foreign Market Shortcut: How to Write Less and Double Your Sales.” It’s full of practical tips like Jen’s here today. And in it you’ll learn where to sell your stories to get paid in a stronger currency and double your income on every article… what Canadians, British, and Australians editors are after right now… how to use what you already have to give you an edge over foreign writers… and more.
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.]