How to Pitch: TravelingMom

Travel Writing — By on February 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

By Kristen Kuchar

TravelingMom is happily providing travel content for moms who travel – whether it’s with the kids, for business, with friends, or solo. Although the site is geared towards moms, any travel lover can appreciate the wide variety of honest, personal travel stories and helpful travel tips. This week, The Lost Girls got the chance to talk to editor Cindy Richards on what it takes to write for the site. Read Cindy’s helpful advice and follow her on Twitter @CindyRichards:

1. How is TravelingMom different than other travel blogs and sites?

We’re an all-round online magazine with stories told from a mom’s point of view–whether they’re family travel, girlfriend getaway stories, romantic travel or even single travel stories, they all have to have a mom’s perspective. Our destination stories have a “BFF” tone to them–we share what works for kids, what doesn’t and what other moms need to know before they go. The site has tips stories, destination stories, stories of celebrity traveling moms and stories that help make family travel affordable. Our Free in the 50 States feature is consistently one of our most popular features. We also have 30+ bloggers each of whom writes from a particular niche (TravelingMom with Toddler, TravelingMom with Teens, Blended Family TMOM, Midwest TMOM, etc.)

2. What can freelancers contribute to TravelingMom?

We love round-up stories (best resorts for kids, best beaches for babies, healthiest travel snacks), tips and how-to stories. We rarely take destination stories, unless it’s a truly exotic place (I just posted a story by a writer who visited Cuba.)

3. What makes a great pitch? Can you give me an example of a pitch that you accepted?

That’s a tough one. I’m fairly informal and incredibly busy, so I’m looking for an email that gets to the point quickly: Traveling with kids is expensive, unless you know how to use a travel app to save money. This story would profile the 8 best apps for saving money when you travel with kids. And the email subject line is critically important. I get more than 200 emails a day and have a pretty strong spam filter installed. So the email subject should say: TMOM pitch: best travel apps. That way, I know why you’re sending the email, even if I don’t recognize the sender or it ends up in my spam file.

4. What do freelancers need to keep in mind before pitching?

That your pitch is your one chance to make a good impression. Spell check. Don’t cut corners and use texting language. Go for perfect punctuation. And include your contact info in your signature line. It’s not professional to sign a pitch email “Annie” and leave it at that. At the very least, give me your first and last name and phone number.

5. What doesn’t make a good pitch or what are you not interested in?

The biggest mistake people make is not taking 5 minutes to look at the site to find out we already have a story on that exact topic. Just because we have a story doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be interested in another on the same topic, provided it comes at the story with a different angle (we probably have 100+ plus Disney stories, but there’s plenty to say about Disney on a family travel site). I just want to know that you cared enough to find out what we’ve already written and prove it in the pitch, “Your last story on Washington DC focused on the free things to do in DC. My story would focus on the 5 things worth paying for in DC.” Then, when you send the story, include some internal links to the other TMOM stories already on the site. It saves me time and will forever endear you to me.

6. What are the biggest mistakes you see in freelancers pitching TravelingMom? In new writers?

I’ve already mentioned two: failure to proofread, spellcheck and grammar check pitches and an overall unprofessional tone. And, for new writers, I would recommend creating a professional email address. Hotchick@gmail.com might have gotten you dates in college, but it does not covey professionalism. Finally, ask about pay up front and get it in writing. As a fellow freelancer, I am always shocked by the number of people who never ask whether or how much we pay until after something is published–including a veteran writer who recently sent me a fully written story that I used on TMOM. After the story ran, she sent me an invoice. We had never talked money and since she sent the entire story, not just a pitch, I figured she just wanted another outlet for her work. We negotiated a settlement, but neither of us ended up happy and she hasn’t written for us again.

7. If a writer has a great idea for TravelingMom, who should they send it to?

editor@travelingmom.com

If you don’t hear back in a week, send it again. Remember: 200 emails a day. Things can easily get lost in the shuffle.

8. Besides the pitch, what else should a writer include in the e-mail?

Links to one or two published stories or your website, if you have clips there.

9. Does the site pay for posts? How much?

Yes. $25 per post. But we have a very limited editorial budget, so that doesn’t cover very many stories.

Thanks for your time, Cindy! Don’t forget to follow @CindyRichards and @TravelingMom and visit TravelingMom.com to read the latest travel stories.

Kristen Kuchar is the author of Mac n’ Cheese to the Rescue. Follow Kristen on Twitter at @KristenKuchar.

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