So there I was, minding my own dang business, slogging through e-mails with super fun subject lines:

  • “2015 reforecast.”

  • “1-on-1 this week.”

  • “E-edition database project.”

  • “Derp.”

Ping! A new e-mail arrived: “Go now! The most magical town in California. We’re heading to dreamy coastal Cali and giving you ALL the best sp….” It trailed off tantalizingly.

I noted the sender: One Kings Lane, a company I trust. So I clicked.

The come-on continued with a stunning full-colour, full-screen photo of Big Sur, and a short, well-written paragraph:

“Nestled along Highway 1 in a narrow sliver between the Pacific’s rocky cliffs and the soaring redwoods of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Big Sur has long attracted creative types looking to lose themselves in one way or another. Jack Kerouac came to dry out. Hunter S. Thompson came to be a caretaker. You’ll want to come see why hippies and hipsters alike flock to the California town for its magical, mythical vibe. We love it for its breathtaking views, quirky lodging, and chill scene – and it’s just a short drive from San Francisco.”

Magical, mythical vibe? I’m down with that.

Cleanly designed, colour photos, loads of white space, and packed with helpful shopping advice. This e-mail from the home goods online retailer One Kings Lane is an e-commerce practitioner’s dream.

And of course news media companies would be super smart to steal this simple idea with their own travel sections, concert reviews, food focuses, or any other content that lends itself to this shopping-friendly concept.

I scrolled through the first paragraph about lodging, which included a hotel (clickable) and a mention of “vintage pieces,” an inn (clickable) and a mention of “luxe rooms,” and a yurt village (clickable) with a mention of an outdoor sushi bar and organic garden.

Directly beneath it were large colour photos of items from the lodging options or similar to those found there: a Navajo rug, a Max Wanger Big Sur print, a Horgen 1-Light pendant in natural. After each listing was a clickable SHOP NOW, and so … click! There is your customer, filling her shopping cart.

A similar digital shopping gallery presented itself after lodging with eateries, then activities. Again, one can click on Nepenthe’s, Big Sur Bakery, Big Sur Roadhouse, and Sierra Mar.

No doubt each of the highlighted lodging, food, and activity businesses either paid One Kings Lane for the link, or offers a share of the revenue gained from reservations made, activities booked, or food purchased.

Beneath the three categories of lodging, food, and fun, one is invited to “Shop the Look” a traveler would see and appreciate in Big Sur. In home décor, clothing, jewelry, and furniture, the selling opportunity is endless. A cool cactus clutch, a Zuni inlay turquoise ring. Things one can buy even if she can’t actually make the trip to Big Sur.

Just think of the opportunity for us as news media marketers.

Your food section focuses on Italian cooking. You add on to the content online creating an e-newsletter with Italian travel, art, clothing, specialty food, music, and books. Click! SHOP NOW.

Your entertainment section focuses on a Jimmy Buffet anniversary tour. You add on to the content online creating an e-newsletter with books, CDs, lodging at driveable concert dates in your delivery area, T-shirts, posters, PARROTHEAD COSTUMES.

Your health section focuses on mindful weight loss. You add on to the content online creating an e-newsletter with weight loss programs, recipes, support groups, yoga classes, gyms, hospitals, chat forums, books, CDs, Fitbit products.

The sky is the limit. Make your news product even more valuable to readers – who are also shoppers – by pointing them instantly to the cool products and services that you’ve curated for them.

Click!