Personal experience articles – also called personal essays – are usually the most fulfilling to write because they describe a significant event in your life. They can be hard to sell, however, because many writers mistakenly believe that research is not required for personal experience articles.
The best way to market a personal experience article is to combine fact with advice. Regardless of the subject matter, you probably learned something from your personal experience, so you can convey your advice to the general public while you tell your uplifting or sad or informational story. The advice and tips you give, however, should not be limited to those stored in your memory; in order to write a marketable personal experience article, you need to conduct some research.
1. Interview Important People
One of the best ways to write a salable personal experience article is to include quotes from important people. For example, if your personal experience article is about your recent bout with cancer, you might want to interview an oncologist or similar medical professional.
The same goes for your personal experience article about a lawsuit you filed; interview your attorney and others involved with the case. Showing that professionals have insight on your personal article will make it a much hotter property.
2. Compile Statistics
Many personal experience articles are based on a common issue that men or women go through from a personal angle. If this is the case, consider including statistics in your personal experience article. For example, if your article is about dealing with the death of a child, you could include statistics about children who die before their parents.
If you can’t find relevant statistics, look for agencies or public services that cater to people who have had your experience. Talk with them and see if they have any literature – brochures, newsletters, flyers, etc. – that might help with your research.
3. Talk to Others in the Same Boat
If you are writing a personal experience article, chances are, others have had similar experiences. If you can track those people down and obtain quotes, your article will have a much larger impact. Talk with government and social agencies, reporters and anyone else who can connect you with people who have shared your experience.
4. Research Other Articles & Books
You can take the third tip one step further and see if there is any other literature that relates to your personal experience article. Find out who wrote them and contact the authors if possible; if not, you might want to get permission to include quotes from those sources in your article.
As you can see, personal experience articles aren’t just about telling your story. In order for your article to benefit and interest others, your readers must be able to relate. Including ways in which the general public can get involved in your personal experience article will make it much more marketable to publications.
If you are having trouble tying research to your article, consider looking at it from a different perspective. Examine your personal experience from as many perspectives as possible and try to relate those ideas to what readers would be interested in.