By John L. Beath
Several publications coast to coast have folded recently, leaving some OWAA members stranded like a ship without water. Don’t let your career get grounded because of the poor economy and decreasing traditional markets.
Like many other members, I became a statistic when my best market, a West coast magazine, folded last May. Instead of waiting for the economic tide to come to me, I began searching out new markets and new ways to profit in a low tide economy.
Even if you don’t have traditional assignments and your queries go unanswered, you should use your time wisely and work on book projects, Web sites, stock photos, videos, podcasts or whatever will help you earn money, whether now or in the future. You should also search out and seek non-traditional markets for your work. While outdoor publications decline, there are still hundreds of magazines that could use your work. You just have to think outside the box. For instance, a story about a disabled child learning how to cast with a fishing rod to help with her fine motor skills could be sold to a women’s magazine. In an extraordinary economic market we must learn to adapt to the marketplace to survive.
For those lucky enough to still have jobs, especially newspaper and magazine columnists, you should think about how to make yourself more valuable to your editors and readers. In the old days a well-written column accompanied by one or more photos was all it took to satisfy readers and editors. Now editors and readers want more. Savvy columnists now have the opportunity to include links to blogs, videos and or podcasts. Radio hosts can also use these Internet elements to build a loyal and much larger audience. Taking advantage of these elements will make you worth more than the writer who simply writes or radio host that just talks.
These elements don’t take much more effort and can help you tell a more interesting story. If you don’t already write a blog, check out blogging platforms like WordPress and BlogSpot. For video, purchase a small video camera and then create a YouTube.com account. I will touch on opportunites like these in upcoming I-Tech columns.
In closing, please remember to take full advantage of your OWAA membership and contacts. And there’s no better time than now to read Outdoors Unlimited from page to page and attend our annual conference. OWAA is like a big family that I’m proud to be part of and extremely proud to serve as your president. ◊
John L. Beath is OWAA’s newest president and owner of Pacific Lure Communications. He is a writer/photographer and owner/editor of 14 Web sites and 10 online stores. He is also an Internet marketing consultant for several businesses. For more information about getting connected on the Internet, visit his site at www.webuildyourwebsite.net.