Editors are busy. If you want to sell your travel articles and photos, you’ve got to stand out right away.
One quick way to capture their attention is to use an old copywriting trick called “The 4 U’s.”
They are: Unique, Useful, Urgent, and Ultra-specific.
Together these elements will help you craft a strong travel story. Here’s how they work…
1. Useful: Your travel story becomes much more valuable to an editor when it’s useful. The editors on our Editor Panel in New Orleans all said they like articles their readers can rip out and take with them on a trip. And they like useful information to post online because it helps their website rank high on Google searches.
To make your travel stories more useful, include an “if you go” section. Tell readers how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and where to eat. You can also include weather and packing advice like: The best time to visit Belize is in July because hotel rates are low but the weather is still good.
2. Unique: How can you make your story stand out? Every editor on our panel pointed out that their publication publishes stories on the same destinations year after year. To get into the pages of their magazine, you MUST find a unique way of seeing their destinations that they’ve never seen before.
Tell us something we don’t already know, they said. Make us say: “Wow, I had no idea there was an underground sangria bar in Paris!” Dig up a unique story or an interesting angle and editors will clamor to buy your piece.
3. Urgent: Urgency is one of the most valuable tools you can use to get an editor to buy your story. You can add urgency by making your article timely. Hook your story to an upcoming festival, holiday, season, or trend. If an editor has a choice between something that is timely and something they can run at any time in any month, there’s a much better chance, the one without urgency will get pushed to the backburner in favor of the timelier piece. (Note: As a travel writer make sure to submit your urgent articles well in advance of when the events will occur as editors usually work a few months ahead.)
4. Ultra-Specific: Instead of pitching an article titled: “New Orleans Behind the Curtain” try instead to be more specific. “The Best B&Bs on Bourbon Street for Under $170/night”.
The more specific you can be, the better. You’ll grab your reader’s interest from the start, and it’s very clear to everyone what you’re writing about.
When it comes to good writing, there are certain rules that can be applied across the board to make you a stronger and better writer.