When is a feature feasible
Mid-August is when it gets tricky for the travel editors of British-based websites, newspapers or weekly-magazines to commission European stories. Not just features, but especially those.
Factor in the time required for a journalist to go and write the piece, editors to sub it and schedules to free up, and any beachy, summery European article commissioned now won’t realistically now run until mid-September — by which time readers will no longer be considering beachy, summery European trips. An editor could commission it to run next year in late-spring, yes, but only if the angle will be just as strong then. That won’t be the case with anything new now or currently topical.
Autumn-focused European travel stories — truffles, wine, leaf-peeping — stand more chance, but only if the season is long enough for an article to be turned out with sufficient speed that an ample booking window remains.
Autumn angles also must be unique. It’s not enough to say a destination is trying to encourage more guests to visit outside of peak season, or that it’s really nice in autumn; every place makes the same contentions. Why does your place (the wider destination, not just the hotel) stand out from everywhere else in autumn?
If your story — e.g. a hiking one — translates as well to spring as autumn, then you could suggest a writer travels in autumn with a view to a piece running early next year. Giving an editor more time to play with and a wider coverage window will increase your chances dramatically.
Otherwise, for those beachy, summery European angles, I’d suggest now is the time to concentrate on attracting writers from monthly mags with much longer lead times (i.e. publishing next spring), or for researching 2023 angles. Find a good one of those and, supposing a client is happy to tolerate such a delay, you might even convince an editor to send a journalist now to produce a piece ready to roll just before next summer commences.
TL:DR? With features, it’s all about realistic thinking; if you send a journalist now, when are you hoping that coverage will come out — and is that turnaround viable?
What Richard thinks…
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