Freelance writers write many of the articles featured in magazines. Freelancers write for all types of magazines including major consumer titles like Glamour, trade magazines like Target Marketing, and the hundreds of other magazines published everyday by companies and custom publishers.
If you want to get your article published in a magazine, you must first sell your idea to the editors with a great query letter. But once you have an assignment, how do you write an interesting article that will keep your readers interested and keep your editor coming back to you time after time with assignments?
Here are 6 tips for how to write great magazine articles.
Know Your Audience
The first thing a writer should focus on is exactly who their reader is. Does the magazine target teen girls or CEOs? Knowing who the magazine targets will help you focus your article so that you’re speaking directly to your audience.
For instance, trade magazines are targeted to professionals working within a certain industry. These readers want information that they can use on a daily basis to operate their businesses successfully. A common mistake for a new magazine writer might be to write a trade article that targets the wrong audience. If you’re writing an article for an HR trade magazine, don’t write tips for finding a new job. Rather, the HR professional wants tips for how to find the best job candidates.
Stick to the Word Count
Magazine editors have a certain amount of space to fill each month. When you land an assignment to write an article, the editor will specify a certain word count, say 1,000 words. Don’t turn in an article of 1,500 words or 750 words. This will annoy your editor and create unnecessary problems. Aim to hit your target word count as closely as possible.
Find the Best Experts to Interview
Most magazine articles quote experts on the subject of the story. Make sure that you find and interview the best possible sources for your article and add their quotes to your article. Expert sources lend a voice of authority to articles and offer different perspectives for readers.
Edit Your Article
Be your own editor before submitting your article to the magazine. Don’t turn in a story riddled with grammar errors. It will make you look unprofessional and careless. Editors don’t want to spend hours rewriting a bad article. Editors want to work with writers who turn in clean copy that requires minimal edits. Help make your editor’s job easier by striving to turn in the best copy possible.
If you need to brush up on your grammar skills, there are plenty of books and guides on the market to help.
Meet Your Deadline
It goes without saying that you should meet your deadline. Again, you want your editor to love your work so that they will come back to you with future assignments. If you turn in late work or fail to turn in your article at all, don’t bank on future assignments from this editor.
You’ll set yourself apart from other magazine writers by always meeting your deadlines.
Understand Article Structure
Knowing how to write a great article takes practice. Articles have various components including the lede (or introduction), main body, and closing. Study articles by other writers in your favorite magazines to learn how they structure their articles. You can pick up article structure easily by studying the work of other top writers.