Coming up with quality magazine articles that are outstanding takes more than it appears and requires a proper professional approach to do a good job.
Presumably, you are trying to do so but don’t know how you can write good magazine articles, right?
Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore because, through this article, I will be walking you step by step on how to write a magazine article, whether as a freelancer or as an employed writer for a magazine.
I will also be covering all the essential information that you need to know for both scenarios and therefore urge you to be very keen as you read this article because you don’t want to miss out!
How to Write a Magazine Article
√As a Freelance Writer
Here, you can venture into two well-paying magazine areas, the first one is general interest magazines and the other one is trade magazines.
Starting with general interest magazines…
This is a type of magazine that provides information to readers in a general manner and on a variety of subjects.
Examples of such magazines include The Atlantic, National Geographic, and The Economist.
On the other hand, trade magazines which are also called trade journals are magazines that target experts in a particular area.
Examples of such magazines include Accounting Today, Advertising Age, and Engineering News Record.
Now that you know these two types of magazines, the next thing you are to do is decide on which magazine you want to write about and choose your direction.
Once you have know which type you want to take on, you should then proceed to the next step of doing your research. Here, there are a few things that you will be looking at as you carry out your research;
~ How do other writers of that magazine write? This will help you know why their works have been published and give you a feel of how your writing should look like.
~ The magazine’s tone, is it conventional? formal? or technical? Again, this one directs your writing so that you are not using an informal tone for a formal article.
~ How many adverts are there in the magazine? This is essential because more ads indicate that a publishing company is good and so you get paid well.
~ Who reads that magazine? In other words, who is the audience?
~ How often does a magazine need articles, is it weekly, biweekly, or monthly? Knowing this will guide you on gauging where higher chances lie.
~ What articles have already been published by that specific magazine? You don’t want to waste your time pitching articles that have already been done.
~ How many pages of the articles are dedicated to actual content as opposed to advertisements. This will help you know how much content the magazine needs at a specific time.
Next, you can now write a query letter (a one-page letter that you send asking them if they would be interested in your work) to the editor of a magazine you are interested in and pitch your article.
Writing a Query Letter
This is how you can write a good query letter;
~ Include the address the editor and address by their correct name
For example, “Dear Mrs. Roberts”. This will spark their attention because it shows you’ve done some research.
~ Be straightforward and immediately start introducing your article through an interesting hook. The hook is important because it gives the editor a slight idea of how your article should like so make sure that you completely wow him or her.
~ Explain to the editor why you wish to work with them and why you felt you are a good fit for the magazine. You need to market yourself in the best way possible so you must be confident.
~ If you have anything else going on with you that can help the editor see why they should pick you, for example, you may have a huge following on social platforms or maybe you write for blogs. Mention it because it increases your chances of an opportunity.
~ Proofread your work to ensure that there are no typos at all because doing so will ruin your chances.
~ Do not forget to include your contacts so that you can get contacted easily.
Once done with this step you can now send the pitch and wait to get hired.
NOTE: You can also look for magazine articles on freelance websites such as Upwork and Freelance.com among others. They also have clients who own magazine based websites that you can work for and get paid well too.
Back to the company you had pitched your article.
When You Get Hired as a Freelance Magazine Writer
If hired and given a writing project to work on, the first step is to understand the editor’s needs.
You can ask yourself the following questions, “what is the editor expecting on this article”, “how can I structure my work so that it’s more presentable” and “what style should I use”.
Such questions will help you come up with something concrete that will direct the flow of your article.
Next, do your research well in the assigned area.
No matter how well you think you know a topic you must carry out research. This is because you not only get many new ideas but also can support your statements.
As you carry out research make sure that you use relevant resources and make sure that you know exactly where you are going to place them.
If needed, you can carry out interviews on a topic just to get that extra edge. The idea of carrying out research is that you get to be as resourceful as possible on a topic and have all the necessary facts.
After you’ve carried out your research successfully, it’s time to plan your work.
Here there are a few elements that you must consider;
First, you need to grab a paper and pen to get started on drafting your plan.
~ Start by contemplating about your title, and the angle through which you will approach it from.
It’s a very sensitive area of your article and so you want to spend enough time coming up with a great one that gets the attention of the readers. The following tips can help you come up with a good title;
• Use what, when, why and how
• Have a unique element that can clearly show your readers what they will get from reading your article
• Emotionally appeal to your readers by describing their problem
~ Fill in the details of the plan that you initially drafted. Add specific details to what you had already created and if something is missing, add it.
~ Get started writing. The real process begins and you fully build on the ideas that you had initially crafted.
As you write, you want to avoid deviating from the original plan to avoid confusing yourself and only make additions once you are completely done with the article and also, only where extremely necessary.
~ Edit your work. Check for any spelling, syntax, and grammar errors. Make sure that you at least read your work twice before submitting to have a much accurate view of any mistakes.
You also want to eliminate anything that does not make sense as well as any form of repetition. In other words, submit perfectly edited work.
~ Strictly stick to deadlines. This is an important step in establishing professionalism, and so if possible, try to submit your work a day or two before the stated date.
Being late may cause your work to be dismissed, or worse, lose future opportunities because you seem lazy or disorganized.
When it comes to how much freelancers are paid, your payment depends on how hardworking and committed you are as well as consistent in looking for new opportunities.
The more you look for opportunities, the more you are likely to get hired and so the more you might earn. Payment is either based on the number of words that you write and so rates vary with different publishing houses.
On to a very sensitive topic about the legal rights of your work, know that all rights to your work belong to you unless of course, you sign a contract showing that you give the publishing company all the rights to your work. What this means is, it’s illegal for them to put out your work again in any way without paying.
Away from that, if you are not hired, please don’t get disheartened, keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities.
When you get rejected a lot to a point that you don’t want to try again, don’t give up. Just remain motivated and persistent and eventually, you will get hired.
√As an Employed Writer For a Magazine
As much as you are a good writer, you have to keep finding new ways to perfect your craft. Here are a few things that you can use to write even better when you are working for a magazine as their content creator.
~ Do your research. Find out how you can perfect your skills by reading works of experienced writers or look for mentors. This will help make learning easier because they guide you practically and so you can observe and learn firsthand what they do .
Now when doing research for the content that you will write, you want to ensure that you exhaust all options so that you are as informative as possible. Doing so will not only help in proving the facts in your work but also establish trust with your readers.
~ Choose topics you are good at or passionate about. Unless you have been given specific topics to write about, you should aim to restrict yourself to the topics you love.
The reason behind this is because you are most likely to produce great articles in these areas. You get easily inspired when you do things that you love and hence your imagination is sparked.
~ Find a unique and interesting approach to every article. Doing so will increase the chances of your work being published so you want to invest your time and effort into choosing your topics keenly and then looking at the possible angles you can approach them from.
Also, be different from other writers, write on unique topics that are not so general because most publishers don’t find them interesting.
~ Organize your work well by coming up with a good outline. Most writers overlook this step when writing but it’s key because it helps in organizing your ideas as well as saves you a lot of time.
Make sure that your outline contains ideas that you will discuss in every section of your work right from the introduction to the conclusion. Ensure that you write your ideas systematically as opposed to mixing them up.
Have a clear outline so that by the time you begin writing you have worked out any possible ideas so you won’t waste time looking for what to write to make the cut on words.
~ Stay away from distractions. Since you are trying to write an article using the shortest amount of time that you have, stay away from any distractions.
This could come in the form of your noisy friends or devices such as the TV, laptop, or phone. Look for ways to stay focused on your work and if possible, find your “safe haven” where you go specifically to write.
~ Be creative. Since you are writing professional articles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot be creative. Communicate with your readers in their own voice just so that they can feel warmed up to your work.
More importantly, don’t just tell them what to do on a certain thing, show them how to do it. You mustn’t strive just to inform or educate them but also entertain.
~ Be careful with the guidelines provided for each article. This is because every magazine has unique instructions in terms of tone, subject, and approach that you are required to use.
Stick to those guidelines and if not provided, you can consider checking out previous works of the magazine and work with that. Making inquiries from the right person is also a good idea so that you have a clear direction of what to do.
~ You must proofread your work for any errors and lastly adhere to the set deadlines. You should give yourself an excuse for submitting sloppy work and the same applies to deadlines, such elements may jeopardize your work greatly.
Regarding your pay, since you are on the payroll of the publishing company, you get paid per month and of course, pay varies with each company.
That is all about magazine articles.
With the steps that I have provided, you should be good to go now.
I encourage you to keep practicing on those steps and keep creating magazine articles, in general, to get better at them and so that you can make it your second nature.
I wish you the best as you get started and if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer them as soon as possible.