While the most glamorous article writing gigs are generally with the glossy newsstand publications, writing for niche trade magazines or journals serving specific industries or types of businesses can be far more rewarding and – dare we say – lucrative.
Many of the writers whose bylines you recognize from popular women’s and general interest magazines also pen articles for trade journals serving everyone from accountants to packaging manufacturers to appliance repair people. Like me, these writers enjoy the often painless researching, writing, and editing processes that transform a lower per-word rate into a higher per-hour earning rate.
5 Reasons to Write for a Trade Magazine
1. They are usually easier to work with than consumer magazines, so assignments take less time to complete and generate fewer revision requests from editors. That means you can earn a higher hourly rate – often higher than with the big name magazines.
2. You can leverage your expertise in a specific area to land ongoing assignments with a niche industry publication or even a role as a contributing editor. Earlier in my career, I used my experience as a waitress while in college to get named a contributing editor at a restaurant industry trade journal. Later, after leaving a public relations job at a beverage alcohol company, I was named a contributing editor at a magazine serving that field.
3. It’s easier to break into trade journals. Sometimes all it takes is a well-written letter of interest explaining why you’re qualified to write for the publication. Unlike newsstand magazine editors who are inundated with query letters, many trade journal editors are actively looking for qualified writers.
4. Generating article ideas to pitch is as easy as studying the magazine’s editorial calendar. This tool tells writers, advertisers, and others exactly what topics the magazine will be covering each month that year. Your odds of landing an assignment skyrocket once you know which topics they plan to cover.
5. Once you’ve shown that you can write well, meet deadlines, and be a trusted member of the editorial team, you have an excellent chance of being on the receiving end of an ongoing stream of interesting assignments that are generated by the editorial staff – no pitching required! Just check your e-mail for the assignment, do a good job, and cash your checks.
While some trade magazines pay low rates, others don’t. Beginning writers will want to start with those that pay less because editors at those publications will be more willing to help an entry level contributor with talent and topic know-how become a better writer.