Since 2008, I have been writing mostly for the print and online version of The Dollar Stretcher either under my real name or my pen name, but I also regularly write for several other publications such as Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, www.advanceweb.com. From the editors of these and other publications I have learned that your ticket to getting published in magazines is doing research with exact documentation that can pass any test of fact-checking and also by being SEO-friendly.
The writer’s guidelines for The Dollar Stretcher, www.stretcher.com, state that for both their print issues and online articles, what they are looking for is “an expert comment on the article subject.” They go on to request, “if you are not the expert, please consider finding one to provide a quote or two on the subject. Many experts are willing to provide a quote as long as their book or website is mentioned. We also like to see statistics that are relevant to the subject.”
I’ll be honest here. Though I have had over two hundred non-fiction articles published in print magazines or online in these past eight years, my technology skills are sadly lagging far behind those of many, or maybe even most, people. So, when one of my editors mentioned to me a few years ago that my writing needed to be more SEO-friendly, I sheepishly had to ask my tech-savvy son, then in his mid-30s, exactly what SEO-friendly meant!
I learned what perhaps many of you who are reading this article already know. Search engine optimization, I discovered from www.techterms.com described SEO this way: “Just about every Webmaster wants his or her site to appear in the top listings of all major search engines.”
Having an aha! moment, I figured out that if I included some of the key words in my first paragraph, that a person might typically type into Google, Yahoo, or some other popular search engine, my article would be easier to find and therefore read more often. If you want to become popular with your editor or potential editor, aim to make your magazine articles more SEO-friendly.
Being somewhat of a skeptic, I thought I would put the concept of search engine optimization to the test. I did a search on Google typing in key words “selling your goods at the farmers market”, and I instantly patted myself on the back; the April 2012 article which appeared on www.forbes.com, about selling at farmers markets, that I wrote under my pen name, Lee Doppelt, came up as listing number four. I was beaming with pride that I really did understand SEO-friendly writing.
Doing research for your magazine articles
You are much more likely to get a magazine to publish your articles, if you learn to do research. Always site your source, just as you did when you wrote a thesis in high school or college. And whenever possible, use quotations that get attention, and statistics that back up the idea that you are trying to convey. I was hoping that I could find a statistic that showed the percent of manuscripts that were submitted to magazines and were rejected because they lacked statistics or quotes. So, I challenge you, the reader, to see if you can find any numbers that back up this idea!
And use only reputable web sites. You will quickly learn to be the judge of that, but someone’s blog, for example, is probably not a source you want to use for any article you write that you want taken seriously. For articles on medical subjects, for example, use sites such as WedMd.com. So always take your time when searching for appropriate data that will be included in your article, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.
Save your sources for fact checking
When sprucing up an article that you plan to submit to a magazine or online venue, always remember that any publication worth writing for hopefully has people on their staff who do fact checking. If not, then you probably do not want to write for them!
A few months ago, when doing research for an article, “Where Did You Receive Your OT Training?” for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, I was looking for information about one of the first occupational therapy programs in the United States. I had to do quite a bit of digging around, but I finally did find what I was looking for, and I was able to include it in my article.
Within a few days of submitting the article, the editor emailed me; she was doing fact checking and wanted to know exactly where I found my information. I immediately emailed a link to the editor to show her the web site that I used, and my article was soon published on the Advance web site.
Tired of getting your magazine submissions rejected, or worse, ignored, with no response? Learn to make every article SEO-friendly and well-researched with quotations and statistics that would pass the scrutiny of even the toughest fact checkers and you are likely to see more of your articles published.
About the author:
Debra L. Karplus is a licensed occupational therapist, accountant, teacher, public speaker, mother and grandmother and freelance writer for several print and online venues. She writes a weekly blog for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners and has been a featured columnist for grandmagazine.com and for Young Money and writes regularly for The Dollar Stretcher. She has been an item writer for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and an essay writer for the ACT. She speaks to high school students who are aspiring writers and has taught magazine writing classes through her local public school adult education program. She is consumed with hobbies including genealogy and do-it-yourself projects at home. She had articles published about all of the above. Learn more about Ms. Karplus at http://debrakarplus.blogspot.com.
Also by Debra Karplus:
1. Freelance Magazine Writing, It’s My Business (article)
2. How to Find Paid Writing Opportunities in Unexpected Places (article)
3. How to Conduct a Creative Writing Class for Children (article)
4. Sell Your Non-fiction Article by Writing a Winning Query Letter
5. 7 Effective Ways to Market your Articles (article)
6. Breaking into New Markets with your Freelance Writing (article)
7. Generate More Writing Opportunities with an Online Presence (article)
8. How to Build an Idea Bank to Write Interesting Articles (article)