The Simple Secret to Giving Editors What They Want
I’m sitting in a green-and-yellow striped club chair in the lobby of the Delray Beach Marriott in Southern Florida. I’d be perched poolside, but it’s pouring out. The palms on the beach across the street are whipping in the wind.
Good thing I’m not on vacation.
In fact, I’m here to teach a few pointers about writing well… and to learn a few, too.
I’m participating in AWAI’s annual copywriting bootcamp, and I am struck — as I am each year — by how much cross-over there is between copywriting (that is, marketing writing) and travel writing.
When you’re writing marketing copy, you’re selling something. And, the thing is, when you’re writing travel articles, you’re selling something, too… an idea… a destination…
After all, you want your reader to get to the end of your article, put it down, pick up the phone, and book a trip.
To make that happen, your article must really “speak” to your reader. And that means it needs to be targeted to a specific person — a person who has certain beliefs, and wants, and needs.
Your article cannot be all things to all people.
In other words, a piece on “Traveling in Colorado” is too general. While all sorts of different people might be interested in doing that, an article with that sweeping a topic just won’t provide the specifics necessary to keep enough of them interested. (Or get an editor interested, either, for that matter.)
By contrast, any one of these pieces would have genuine appeal to different, but specific audiences:
- Three Mountain Day-Trips to Take with Kids
- Where to Find the Best Fall Colors in Colorado
- Five Easy Colorado Hikes
- Colorado by Car: A Five-Day Itinerary through Mountain and Plain
- No-Crowd Skiing in Colorado
Not only that, but the more specific and targeted your article is, the easier it will be to write. That’s because when you confine your article to a relatively narrow topic, it’s easier to decide what doesn’t belong in that article — what is, really, unrelated and extraneous information. And, naturally, it’s easier to decide what does belong in it.
What’s more, when you take on an article that has a relatively narrow scope, and which you target to a specific audience, it’s easier to sell, too.
Editors appreciate a piece that’s designed to pique the interests of their readers — something that doesn’t smell generic. Give them what they want… and you’ll land those by-lines you’re after.
[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.]