Tuesday, 14 October 2008

#40 – Stories based around sporting events

Or how travel writers can win at the Olympics or World Cup.

Travel articles about Beijing
Anyone who reads travel magazines or the travel sections of newspapers couldn’t help but have noticed all the stories about Beijing that have been circulating this year.

Olympics as a hook
This isn’t a coincidence, of course – nearly all of them were using the Olympic Games as a hook. It makes sense – the Olympics are something people are interested in reading about and advertisers are interested in using as a promotional tool. It’s the magic combination of topicality and popularity.

Different styles of articles
Some of the articles linked to the Beijing Olympics were straight guide-style pieces, some focused on a certain aspect of the city, some more newsy about new developments, some just first person accounts of travelling in China. But loads got published. And it just shows that looking into future forthcoming sporting events can pay off for a travel writer.

Big future sporting events
The big ones are obvious. In 2010, there will be a lot of South Africa articles linked to the football World Cup. In 2012, it’ll be the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine, as well as the Olympics in London. Get in there early, and easy sales await.

Annual events
But you don’t necessarily have to wait for an event that comes along every four years. Some annual events are great for hitching pieces about certain destinations to – Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis, Liverpool for the Grand National horse race, wherever the Golf majors are being played that particular year.

Formula One and cricket
And then there are the sports that tour the world – articles can be tied into Formula One Grand Prix venues, for example. Meanwhile articles about the Caribbean may be easy to sell in Australia when the Australian cricket team is playing the West Indies, then re-shaped for different markets when New Zealand and England go on tour.

Sporting knowledge
Often, you don’t need to know too much about the sport – just the fact that the event is happening is often a good enough topical hook.

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