Realities of Travel Writing, part 2: Getting the Assignment

In this second installment of Realities of Travel Writing, I’m continuing on the topic of getting the assignment. It bears fleshing out, as you can’t board the plane until you land the gig. So, first thing’s first.

After you’ve come up with a great article idea and researched the websites, blogs, or magazines you want to pitch it to, there’s still a lot more to be done.

Firsts, is your idea in line with what they specialize in? What is their market or target audience, and how is your article idea relevant to them? Some blogs/websites/magazines are quite open to all facets of travel, but some are “niche,” i.e. quite focused on one part of the world or aspect of the experience of traveling. The editor is the audience, for the purposes of pitching. Know their needs well or you’ll be wasting your time and theirs.

Similarly, know the tone and style of the publication you’re approaching. Tailor your pitch accordingly. For example, World War II Magazine will have a more professional, academic tone than, say, a free-wheeling blog dedicated to twenty-somethings with wanderlust. Again, know your audience. If you pitch them without knowing anything about their market it will show and they will shut you down fast.

Also, more research to be done: Have they published a piece similar to your idea recently? If so, they won’t be interested in repetition. Be aware of what they haven’t covered lately and leverage that in your pitch. Editors of magazines, websites, and blogs are always scrambling for fresh ideas. They need new content constantly, and are aware of the perils of repetition and stagnation.

The bottom line: Come to their rescue with an original, well fleshed-out piece that is in line with their purpose, market, tone and style, and you’ll be surprised how receptive they can be.

Posted by | Comments Off on Realities of Travel Writing, part 2: Getting the Assignment  | August 24, 2012
Category: General, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Writing, Working Abroad

Comments are closed.