When we do photo workshops in places like Paris, we try to find unique angles and viewpoints, where you can capture well-known monuments and landmarks with a fresh perspective. It’s something you should always be thinking about when you want to create saleable photographs from a much-traveled destination like Paris.
Today, freelance writer Jen Stevens explains how to do the same with your travel articles. Editors will always need more stories about Paris because articles about Paris sell magazines. It’s always on the cover of a half-dozen travel magazines at the bookstore.
Write specific travel articles and you’ll have a better chance at getting published. Scroll down to find out how…
Have a great weekend,
Director, Great Escape Publishing
Unique Travel Articles: The Secret to Selling Stories About a Well-Worn Destination
“You’d think people would run out of things to say about Paris. I mean really, how many travel articles can that city spawn?” This from my friend standing next to me at a newsstand, scanning magazine covers.
My response, delivered incredulously over the top of my glasses:
“There is no end.”
And nor should there be. After all, people like Paris. No, they LOVE Paris. Even if they’ve never been there. The name alone conjures up romantic longing.
Editors understand that. That’s why they’ll never stop publishing stories about how to get there and the best ways to enjoy it. Because an editor strives to deliver content readers can’t help but gobble up. That’s what sells magazines and newspapers and brings readers back again and again to the websites they like. With Paris… you can grab a reader’s attention with the name alone.
Having said that, writing about a well-worn destination like Paris (or London or New York or Seville or Disneyland) does pose its challenges.
First: You can’t simply propose an article “about Paris.” That won’t fly. That’s like proposing to Newsweek an article “about this week’s news.” It begs the question: “WHAT about it?”
And, so, you must provide an answer. What, specifically, will you write about Paris (or whatever your well-known destination is)?
** THE MORE SPECIFIC, THE BETTER **
That’s the secret to selling articles about places that have been written about a million times: specificity. Narrow your topic and your audience, and you’ll begin to pull out of thin air tens (if not hundreds) of potential specific travel articles.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean when I say, “take a specific approach.” Here’s how it translates in the real world. It’s specific travel articles like these:
** Top 10 Paris Food Blogs (Budget Travel)
** Four Up and Coming Paris Hot Spots (Travel + Leisure)
** 10 Things Not to Do in Paris (Conde Nast Traveler)
** Paris Dog Cemetery (Europe for Visitors)
** In Paris, Getting Hip Through Knitting (New York Times)
** Chirps and Chimes in the Cite – Sunday Bird Market (International Living)
** Shania Twain’s Paris (American Way)
** Visiting Paris in the Winter (Holiday City)
** How to Use the Paris Metro (Parislogue.com)
** On the Trail of Ghosts in Paris (New York Times)
** Euro Bargain: Belleville, Paris (Bon Appetit)
You see my point. You’ve got to divide to conquer.
The good news is: You can do it lots of ways. For instance, you could think about your destination geographically — focus on a neighborhood or a street. Or you could take a how-to approach. What sort of practical tip related to your destination could you share? “How to Use the Paris Metro” from my list there falls into that category.
You could consider a destination through a well-known character’s eyes. It could be somebody from history or fiction (da Vinci’s Paris). Or, like the example above, a celebrity’s take. American Way ran a piece that included country music star Shania Twain’s recommendations for a day in the city.
You may not have access to celebrities, but experts are easy to tap. How about a music professor at your local university — what “music stuff” does he do in Paris? Or a chef in your town. When he goes to Paris, where does he shop and eat?
Another option is to come at your destination with a specific interest in mind. In other words, think about it “audience first.” You want to write for an audience of knitters? Write about the best yarn shops in Paris. You want to write to parents considering a trip there with kids in tow? Provide 10 practical tips — like where to find English-speaking baby sitters, kid-tolerant restaurants, parks where you can sit on the grass, and more…
Remember: Specific is the secret. Classic destinations like Paris are always on editors’ minds. Your job is to find a new and narrow way to talk about them.