Do You Want To Write For Magazines? 15 Helpful Tips

Writing for magazines is a great way to build your writing skills and gain exposure. However, it’s not as simple as just sending off an email to an editor with some ideas. You need to do your research first and make sure you’re pitching the right kind of story at the right time and before anyone else does! 

Here are 15 helpful tips for getting started:

How to Get Published in a Magazine – YouTube
Writing for magazines can be rewarding and exciting.
Research different magazine publications and their submission guidelines.
Craft well-polished article ideas and pitch them to editors.
Include a captivating hook and engaging storytelling in your articles.
Continuously improve your magazine writing skills through practice and feedback.
Approach magazine editors professionally and with concise query letters.
Understand the target audience and provide valuable insights in your articles.
Avoid common mistakes like missing deadlines and using clichés.
Take inspiration from successful magazine writers and their articles.
Network with other writers and professionals in the magazine industry.
Stay persistent and keep submitting your work to different publications.
Build a strong online presence and showcase your writing portfolio.
Embrace rejection as part of the writing journey and keep pushing forward.
Seek out writing courses and workshops to enhance your writing abilities.
Stay updated on industry trends and topics to create relevant content.
Be passionate about your writing and the topics you choose to explore.

Take A Look At The Magazines That You Frequent

Identify a few magazines that you would like to write for and become familiar with what they publish. Magazines prefer writers who are knowledgeable about their brand and its readership, so take time to learn about the different types of content they offer on their website, social media channels, and in print.

Read the guidelines for writers in each magazine to understand their expectations before sending off an article request. You may find out that there’s a certain angle or style of writing they want first-hand experience with or that they only accept specific genres of articles (e.g., entertainment news versus health care reform).  

Additionally, some journals require contributors to submit two or three pitches before submitting a completed draft; this gives editors an idea of your level of interest in contributing regularly while helping them stay up-to-date on new topics within your field. 

It also allows them more time than usual when deciding whether or not your piece fits into what needs filling out their publication’s editorial calendar (i.e., which issues will be coming out soon).

Writing for magazines can be an exciting career path. If you’re curious about the day-to-day life of a magazine writer, check out our article on Magazine Writing: A Day in the Life to get a glimpse behind the scenes.

Find Out What Makes A Successful Magazine Article By Reading Lots Of Great Ones

One way to understand what makes a successful magazine article is to read lots of them. You can read magazines you like and see what they do well, or you can read magazines you don’t like and see how they could improve. 

Reading both will help you become more attuned to the style and tone of each publication and let’s face it: if your first article gets published somewhere, it’s likely going to be in one of these two categories.

Identify A Few Magazines That You Would Like To Write For And Become Familiar With What They Publish

Read the magazine regularly.

It’s important to identify a few magazines that you would like to write for and become familiar with what they publish. 

You can get an idea of what type of articles they are looking for, who their editor is, and even what readership they have by reading a few issues (I recommend buying them rather than borrowing). You can also find out what their mission is, as well as their style once you do some research into their site or blog.

Read The Guidelines For Writers In Each Magazine And Understand Their Expectations

You should also read the guidelines for writers in each magazine. These are usually found on their website or in emails from them. The guidelines will tell you exactly what they expect of you and what you can expect from them. 

For example, an editor may require a specific word count or request that your story be accompanied by any relevant pictures taken by yourself or a photographer hired by you (if this is the case, make sure that the magazine pays for these costs). 

Or maybe they’ll want to see a short bio about yourself before they publish anything on your behalf? The point here is that knowing what is expected of both parties before agreeing to work together will help keep everyone happy (or at least less frustrated) throughout the process!

Are you considering becoming a magazine writer? Explore the top reasons why it’s a great choice in our post on Top 10 Reasons to Write for Magazines. Find out how this career can be fulfilling and rewarding.

Read Magazines’ Usual Sections To See Which Could Fit Your Story Idea Best

Read magazines’ usual sections to see which could fit your story idea best.

Identify what kind of article you want to write.

Identify the magazine’s target audience: What does it cover? Who does it appeal to? How old are its readers? Where do they live, and so on? Only then can you determine which section might be best for your story idea.

Identify the magazine’s typical topics: If you’re writing a feature article on how to bake bread, don’t pitch this idea as an advice column topic that’s only 800 words long! 

The editor might be interested in developing a longer piece with more details about how baking bread works or why people should bake their bread instead of buying pre-made loaves at the grocery store. In short, know who will publish your piece before submitting anything!

Research Competing Articles On Your Topic And Identify Where There Are Gaps In The Market

Identify related magazines and look at their websites and archives, as well as other magazines on the same topic or with similar readerships.

Look for patterns in what topics are being covered, who is writing about them, and what kind of content is most popular with readers (in terms of length, layout, tone, etc.)

Tailor each pitch to the exact type of article you want to write, the publication it would fit into, and the specific editor who will read it.

Be Clear About What You Want To Write

Be clear about what the editor wants to read.

Be clear about what the magazine wants to publish.

Be clear about what you can do to make the story work for them and their readership. They may ask for changes or additions that will change how well it fits into their publication, or they may reject it outright if it doesn’t fit in with their editorial guidelines and goals for that year’s content (or even for that issue). 

It’s always better to know when a pitch has been rejected because of format or subject matter than it is not knowing why it was rejected at all!

Finding the right magazines for your article submissions is crucial for success. Discover 15 excellent options in our article on 15 Great Magazines for Article Submissions, and start your journey towards publication.

Approach An Editor With A Story Idea That Doesn’t Require Months Of Work Before Approval

Always pitch first!

Don’t send unsolicited stories to magazines. If you think you have an idea that’s worth pursuing, discuss it with an editor before writing anything down. 

Editors are busy people, and they don’t want to be bogged down by proposals that need months of work before approval or submissions that have already been published somewhere else.

Also, make sure your story has not already been rejected elsewhere this is one of the fastest ways for a writer to get on an editor’s bad side!

Use Any Special Knowledge Or Experience You Have To Pitch An Article That’s Different From What Just Anyone Else Could Write

You have a unique perspective, knowledge, and approach to the world. Use it. If you’ve run a marathon, write about what that experience taught you about yourself or your relationship with other runners. 

If you’ve been through a divorce, share how it changed your life and tell us how other people can get through their divorces in different ways. Do not shy away from sharing personal details that might be difficult for others people want to read about their struggles as much as their successes!

If there’s something special about where you grew up or where you live now that makes it an interesting place to visit, pitch an article suggesting people take trips there based on its unique characteristics (like a mountain town near Denver if lots of people live in Colorado).

Come up with an angle on your topic that is recognizably new or original so that your story will stand out from others already published on the subject.

When writing for magazines, it’s important to find an angle on your topic that is recognizable as original and new. The reason for this is that there are already so many articles about most topics, and you want yours to stand out from all the others.

A good way to do this is by drawing on your own experience with the subject matter at hand. For example, if you’re writing about how to deal with difficult people in the workplace, tell us how you handled a similar situation yourself and why it worked or didn’t work very well in your case (which will help readers understand what they can expect from certain strategies). 

Or if you’re writing about an unfamiliar subject like “How To Make A Better Moussaka,” you could offer helpful tips based on what has worked for other home cooks who have attempted cooking moussaka before (e.g., don’t forget the eggplant!).

Don’t duplicate other people’s work without giving credit where credit is due! If something sounds familiar when reading through your article, it probably isn’t yours anymore.

The online publishing landscape offers valuable lessons for magazine writers. Learn what you can glean from it in our insightful post on What Magazine Writers Can Learn from People Who Publish It Online, and adapt your writing approach accordingly.

Use An Engaging Lead (First Paragraph) To Capture Your Reader’s Attention Immediately

Before you sit down to write your lead, ask yourself: what makes my story unique? What makes it worth reading? How can I intrigue readers from the get-go? If you’re struggling to come up with an engaging lead, try one of these strategies instead:

Don’t start with a long description of your topic. Your reader doesn’t need to know everything about what they’re going to read before they read it and if they do need that information, there are plenty of other places for them to go find it (such as Wikipedia). Instead, keep things brief and focus on getting right into the action.

Don’t start with a long list of facts or figures (unless those facts and figures are also interesting). In general, people don’t care about statistics unless something is compelling about them; even then, they usually just want enough details so they can understand why those stats are important. 

If you have an important point based on data say, “More than half our nation lives paycheck-to paycheck” just mention that fact once at the beginning before diving into why this is important for the rest of your piece.

Don’t start with a long quote from someone else’s work (unless that quote is also interesting). Asking yourself whether other people would consider something quotable will help you decide if it belongs here; if not and especially if it’s more than two sentences in length consider skipping over this part altogether until later on in your article when the relevant context has been established.

Don’t Send Unsolicited Stories To Magazines; Always Pitch First!

When you’re first starting, it can be tempting to send an unsolicited story. But this is one of the worst things you can do.

Why? Because it doesn’t matter how great your writing is if no one reads it! And sending an unsolicited story means that no one will read your work. 

The magazine editor isn’t going to have time to read through everything that comes in over the transom (that’s doorways for those of us who aren’t hipsters). They get hundreds or thousands of submissions every month and they don’t have time for all of them!

So what do they do? They toss out anything that doesn’t look professional enough whether the writing itself is good or bad. After all, you want magazines to take your writing seriously when they see how professional it looks and feels.

Breaking into the freelance magazine writing world requires dedication and strategy. Our guide on How to Break into Freelance Magazine Writing will equip you with essential tips and steps to kickstart your career successfully.


And that’s it! The most important thing is to make sure your story idea is a good fit for the magazine you are pitching to, and that you have done your research so that the editor knows they can trust you to deliver what they need.

Further Reading

6 Magazine Article Writing Tips: Learn valuable tips and techniques for crafting compelling magazine articles that captivate readers.

Writing for Magazines: A Guide for Writers: Dive into this comprehensive guide that offers insights into the world of magazine writing and how to succeed in the industry.

How to Write and Sell Articles for Magazines by Nichola Meyer: This article by Nichola Meyer provides valuable advice on writing and selling articles for magazines, helping you understand the process better.


How do I get started as a magazine writer?

To begin your journey as a magazine writer, start by researching different publications and their submission guidelines. Craft well-polished article ideas and query letters to pitch to editors.

What are some key elements of a successful magazine article?

A successful magazine article should have a captivating hook, a clear structure, engaging storytelling, and valuable insights or information that resonates with the target audience.

How can I improve my magazine writing skills?

Improving your magazine writing skills requires practice, seeking feedback, and studying articles from established writers. Consider taking writing courses or workshops to enhance your craft.

How do I approach magazine editors with my article ideas?

When approaching magazine editors, be professional and concise. Craft a compelling query letter that introduces yourself, outlines your article idea, and explains why it’s a great fit for their publication.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in magazine writing?

Common mistakes to avoid in magazine writing include submitting articles without understanding the publication’s style, failing to meet deadlines, neglecting to fact-check, and using clichés or jargon.