The more markets you have for your writing, and the more clips you accumulate, the easier it is to make sales. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s easy to get trapped in the same old market circles. Maybe you began by writing about local wine tasting events, moved on to wine reviews, have even taken wine-tasting jaunts around the region. You’ve got plenty of clips about wine, but now you want to write parenting articles. How the heck do you score that new gig when your old clips don’t match up? Simple. Turn your clips into stepping stones.
Step 1: Find your starting point.
Just like hopping from stone to stone across a creek, you’ll want some solid ground to stand on before you make that first leap. In this case, your starting point would be any clip you think showcases your talent. For the sake of continuity here, let’s use the wine-tasting example. Imagine that you have a fantastic clip about your hometown’s Festival of the Grapes. Now you’re ready for the next step.
Step 2: Identify your ending point.
Before you jump out into the middle of the water, you need to have an idea of where you are going. What is on the opposite bank of this hypothetical writing creek? It’s the end goal for all this hopping. If parenting articles are what you want to do, identify a few parenting markets that you’d like to write for and make a list of the departments they cover in each issue.
Step 3: Create some middle ground.
Here’s where brainstorming and a little creativity pays off. Where do the two types of writing connect? If your clip from step one is about a local festival, can you think of a festival to cover that might appeal to any of your parenting markets? If so, you’ve found a single stepping stone to get you from point A to point B. Your clip is about a festival, you’re querying about a festival, you’ve got a match. Hurray!
But what if a single stepping-stone won’t get you across the writing creek? Create more. Using the same clip about festivals, brainstorm similar articles you can write for your old market. The new articles don’t have to be related to the market you want to reach, but it helps if you can make a broad connection. For example, you might decide to write a travel round-up of wineries to visit in your state. Land that gig with a query and your first clip, then use the new clip to hop into the parenting market with a query about a round-up of summer camps for kids. A round-up clip, combined with a round-up pitch. Once again you’ve made a match.
If you use your clips creatively, new markets are only a hop, skip, and jump away.