Selling things was too easy when the Tooth Fairy was around. I’d stick a tooth under my pillow and wake up to find a dollar in its place.
But while it would be nice to leave a travel article under your pillow and magically find 200 bucks in the morning… there’s no such thing as a story fairy. You have to sell yourself to get published and paid. Luckily, selling doesn’t have to be complicated. And if you know how, it can really give you an edge above other writers.
Why am I bringing this up now?
Last week, all of us here in the Great Escape Publishing went to AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp, where we learned a few simple selling techniques from some of the best marketers, advertisers, and copywriters in the country. And it occurred to me that a lot of what we learned also applies to selling your travel writing.
So this week, I interrupt your regular e-letter programming to introduce four tips from the very best marketers and advertisers in the business. Each will make selling your articles a lot simpler. After all, you DO want to make money, right?
Scroll down for your first tip… on how to super-target your travel articles and start selling more right away.
Great Escape Publishing
Sell More Stories Series – Tip #1: How to Be an Editor Sniper
The number-one key to making a kill is excellent aim.
If you want to sell something to someone — like, say, your latest travel article to a glossy publication — don’t pull the trigger with your eyes closed.
For example, if you blindly shoot your Funky Boutiques in Cape Cod piece over to Sunset Magazine, you’ll miss the shot. Because Sunset doesn’t publish articles about the East Coast… and no matter how good your story is, they won’t buy it.
Last week at AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp, I learned three steps for getting hired from copywriters Mike Palmer and Michael Masterson that apply directly to selling your travel writing. Here they are…
EDITOR SNIPING: Three Steps to Super-Target Your Articles (and Start Making a Killing)
** 1. Pick your prospect.
In copywriting terms, your “prospect” is your potential customer. In travel writing, your prospect is your reader… and your first and most important reader is your editor. So before you send your travel story anywhere — or even before you write it — think about where you’re going to send it and what that editor is looking for.
** 2. Find out everything you can about your prospect.
The easiest way to find out what your editor wants is to read the Writer’s Guidelines. In our countless interviews with, and presentations from, travel editors, their number one pet peeve is getting articles from writers who don’t read the guidelines. If you do read and follow them, you’ll be way ahead of the pack. But you can also take it further. Read the magazine. Read back-issues, if you can. Go to the website and find the “Advertise With Us” section. There, you’ll uncover valuable information about the magazine’s readers that’ll help you super-target your piece.
** 3. Give your prospect what she needs.
This is as simple as following the Writer’s Guidelines and mimicking the style of articles in the magazine. Note whether articles come with a sidebar on how to get to the destination, what to do around town, or some other extra information.
If they do, include one with your story. You can also look for or request an editorial calendar, so you know what the editors are planning to feature in coming months. Then, offer them an article that covers one of those subjects. You’ll need to find out how far in advance the editors choose the content… but that’s usually right in the guidelines.
As Jennifer Stevens, freelance writer and former editor of International Living, often says, the less work an editor has to do, the better. Give her exactly what she’s looking for, and you’ll be much more likely to hit your target.
Once you’ve super-targeted your story, the next step in selling more articles is grabbing an editor’s attention with an exciting pitch. More on how to do that tomorrow…
[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.]