Your travel picture may be worth a thousand words, but a moving picture? That’s worth far more. A video for a destination story is extremely valuable to a publication with an online presence – and most will put some of that money where their freelance budgets are these days. Publications can sell the time in front of an online video – it’s that maddening spot that takes 7-13 seconds before you can “skip ad” and go to whatever cute cat thing you were trying to watch – so they make bank every time a viewer clicks on it. Here are three things to keep in mind when you want to publish a travel video that will make it more appealing to editors:

  1. Shoot in short clips, 10-20 seconds at a time, to make it easier to edit later.
  2. Videos for most publications should run no more than about 2 minutes total. Giant video files slow down websites, and they really shut down emails.
  3. Include some form of narration, either as a voice-over during filming or after as a voice-over or dropped-in type.

Also keep in mind that many larger publications have a video staff (The Denver Post does). So, if you have raw footage that you feel unsure of editing yourself, you can also offer the footage for editing. You can’t charge as much for this, of course, but it is an option. Whatever you do, don’t give away your video – either charge more for it outright or use it as a bargaining chip: for instance, if you know that you are competing against someone else to get a story purchased on the same subject, but you have video. Three things to keep in mind when offering a video as part of a pitch:

  1. Offer the video last as part of your query. The story still comes first, photos second, and then video. Give a one- or two-sentence explanation about what it offers (or what it will offer, if you are planning to shoot) and how long it runs (or will run).
  2. Most publications don’t have video specifications on their guidelines, so don’t be concerned about not knowing what each pub wants or needs. If they do offer specs, of course follow them, but if not, just ask. Some prefer that you run the video through YouTube first and then share the embed code at a particular size (e.g., 1280 x 720). [Editor’s note: These options are available to you on the YouTube website once you upload your video.]
  3. If the publication has asked for the pitch on spec (i.e., they’ve agreed to look at it but haven’t yet agreed to buy it), send a link to the video or your own website or private YouTube rather than sending a huge .MOV or .WMV file, or wait until the editor is ready to receive it. You should never send a large file to an editor without express permission.

Finally, remember that what’s more important to editors – and ultimately viewers — than sweeping landscapes or lovely beaches are unique happenings: oddball festivals, interesting characters, sizzling street food. Capture the things that captivate your heart along your travels, and a wobbly screen won’t matter at all. Share on Facebook

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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