Finding Work in Magazine Journalism? Here Is What To Do

If you’re an aspiring journalist or writer, you’ve probably been told over and over again to find work in magazine journalism. After all, magazines have always been a great way to break into the world of writing. 

So how do you actually go about getting some of that sweet magazine money? I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about pitching stories and ideas to magazines from dealing with rejection letters to negotiating payment for your articles.

A Day In The Life Of A Journalist – YouTube
1. Explore the world of magazine journalism and its opportunities.
2. Learn the essential steps to kickstart a career in this field.
3. Understand the roles and responsibilities of a magazine journalist.
4. Build a strong portfolio showcasing your writing and reporting skills.
5. Network with industry professionals and seek freelance opportunities.
6. Develop niche expertise and focus on producing high-quality work.
7. Embrace curiosity and adaptability as key traits for success.
8. Gain experience through internships, student publications, and blogging.
9. Stand out in the competitive job market with a unique storytelling voice.
10. Pursue journalism degrees or related fields for specialized knowledge.

Ask Questions

You can also ask questions about the publication’s style, tone, and length. These are all important factors to consider when writing for a specific magazine. Some magazines have strict word counts, while others might allow you more freedom in your word choice. 

You may also be able to find out what types of topics the editor would like to see covered in an article before you start writing it.

If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a magazine writer, our guide on how to start a career writing for magazines will give you the essential steps to kickstart your journey. Learn about the skills you need, the types of magazines to target, and how to pitch your ideas to editors.

Read The Magazine

Sometimes, it’s difficult to get a sense of what a magazine is like and what sort of content they publish just by reading its mission statement or website. To get a better feel for the tone and style of a publication, it can be helpful to read some past issues. 

Whether you’re applying directly to work in magazines or not (though we hope you will!), this is a good way to see how other writers have tackled similar stories in the past and thus improve your chances of getting hired if you decide to freelance later on!

Develop A Pitching Style

When pitching a story, you need to be concise. The editor might be busy and will have to read a lot of pitches every day. You want your pitch to stand out by being specific and creative. When you’re confident in what you’re selling, it shows in your pitch and makes it more enjoyable for the editor to read.

Working on this feature should help with your writing skills as well, so take advantage of the opportunity! 

You must be yourself when pitching stories; if someone else wrote your pitch for you then chances are it won’t sound authentic or genuine at all (and no one wants that). Be open to suggestions from editors too they know what works within their publication better than anyone else!

Do Your Homework

A good place to start is by doing your homework on the publication. Read a few recent issues, check out the archives, and see what’s been done before. This will give you a sense of how much they cover similar topics and which voices are featured regularly on their pages.

It’s also important that you do your research on the editor and especially if it’s someone with whom you have no previous relationship. 

Find out who she is (and what her byline looks like) so that when she emails back saying, “I liked your pitch! Can we meet in person?” you can reply with confidence: “Sure! We should grab lunch at a such-and-such restaurant near my office downtown sometime next week. My assistant will send over my calendar details.”

Curious about the experiences of successful magazine writers? Check out our article on how I got my start as a writer in magazines where we share personal stories and insights from seasoned writers who turned their passion for words into a flourishing career.

Pitch Ideas As A Freelancer

The first step is to develop an idea for a story you want to write. Think about what kinds of stories interest you and which ones will be interesting for your audience. You can pitch ideas for articles that have been written before, but be sure to make your pitch unique so it looks fresh and exciting.

When pitching ideas, think about how long the article will be (usually 1-3 pages) and how much research it takes to write it. 

The length of the article should match its topic: a feature story could be 5-8 pages long while a news release might only need one-page maximum! It’s important that whatever content you present is relevant and useful in some way otherwise there won’t be any point in publishing anything at all!

Evolve Your Pitches Over Time

As you gain experience and insight, it’s a good idea to update your pitches over time. It can be helpful to keep a list of publications you pitch frequently and note what changes have been made in your pitches. If the publication has new editors, or if there are changes in the industry, it’s important to make note of those for future pitches.

Ever wondered what sets top magazine writers apart from the rest? Uncover the insider tips and strategies as we reveal the secret to success shared by top magazine writers. Learn from their experiences and apply their wisdom to elevate your own writing career.

Establish Relationships With Editors

The best way to get yourself noticed is by building relationships with editors. Editors are busy people, so you should be friendly and polite when you approach them. If the editor has time for you, it’s helpful if you can offer your assistance with projects or new ideas for content.

Don’t be a pest; avoid being over-eager about your pitch or story idea. Be respectful of their time and don’t expect them to read through your articles before their published editors have too many stories coming in from freelancers who want their work published now!

Learn about the editor’s style: what kind of writing do they like? How long should a story be? Do they prefer short blurbs or long features? What topics interest them most?

Become Indispensable To An Editor Or Magazine

To do this, you’ll need to be a resource for your editor. Do the research before the assignment and find sources that have information that is relevant to their story, and make those sources available to them when they need them. 

You can also be a sounding board for ideas and help with brainstorming sessions. You could also collaborate with other editors on projects or pitch ideas yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Finally, if someone needs to solve something complicated, ask if you can do it for them as an intern project (for more info on how to do this effectively).

Crafting compelling articles is an art that requires honing your skills. We’ve compiled 15 tips for better magazine writing that will help you captivate readers, master your style, and create content that editors love.

Follow The Magazine On Twitter And Facebook

Following the magazine on Twitter and Facebook is a great way to get a feel for the style of writing they are looking for. You can also get a feel for the types of stories they are looking for.

For example, if you see that the magazine posts regularly about fashion and style, that may be an indication that they are interested in hiring someone who has experience in this area. If you see that they post frequently about sports equipment or games, then perhaps sports reporting might be an area where your background could be helpful.

Respond To Relevant Query Letters On Publications Websites

The first step is to scan the publication’s website for its submission guidelines. If you can’t find them, don’t hesitate to ask you’re not the only one who’s noticed and it could take as little as two minutes for them to reply with the information you need. 

When you do receive these instructions, be sure that your query letter is specific and tailored to their needs. Don’t use a form letter or a template; rather, respond directly back in an email sent from your professional email address (not your personal one).

When responding to query letters, you must do so quickly the quicker the better! Within 24 hours is ideal but if there isn’t enough time before any deadlines hit on those publications’ websites then send yours off as soon as possible (even if it means staying up late) 

So they have ample time for consideration before sending out responses later on down the line when everything starts getting busy again during rush hour traffic around New York City at 5 PM EST/EDT every weekday afternoon…

Freelancing for magazines offers flexibility and exciting opportunities. Discover the secrets to breaking into freelance magazine writing and learn how to build a portfolio, pitch ideas, and get your work published in top publications.


I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you want to know more about magazine journalism and how it works, there are plenty of resources online. The best place to start is often with the publication itself! 

Most magazines have pretty robust websites that include information about their content, staff bios, and more. You can also check out individual authors’ websites as well as social media accounts like Twitter or Facebook where they share tips and advice on writing or editing jobs in general (such as ours at @SproutSocial).

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out using our contact form here!

Further Reading

Indeed Career Advice – What Does a Magazine Journalist Do? Learn about the roles and responsibilities of a magazine journalist and discover the exciting world of reporting, writing, and storytelling within the realm of magazines. Read more

Prospects – Careers in Journalism Explore the diverse career paths available in journalism and find out what you can do with your journalism degree. Read more

FutureLearn Blog – How to Get a Job in Journalism Looking to break into the field of journalism? Check out this guide that offers valuable tips and strategies for landing your dream job in the competitive world of journalism. Read more


What are the typical job duties of a magazine journalist?

Magazine journalists are responsible for researching, writing, and editing articles for magazines. They conduct interviews, gather information, and often cover a wide range of topics to engage readers.

What skills are essential for a successful career in journalism?

To excel in journalism, strong writing and communication skills are crucial. Additionally, journalists should be curious, adaptable, and have a keen eye for details.

Can I pursue a career in journalism without a journalism degree?

While a journalism degree can be beneficial, it is not the only path to a career in journalism. Many successful journalists have backgrounds in related fields or gain practical experience through internships and freelance work.

How can I build a portfolio as a journalism student or recent graduate?

As a journalism student or recent graduate, you can start building your portfolio by contributing to student publications, creating a personal blog, or seeking freelance opportunities to showcase your work.

What steps can I take to stand out in the competitive job market for journalists?

To stand out in the competitive job market, focus on developing a niche expertise, networking with professionals in the industry, and consistently producing high-quality work that demonstrates your unique voice and storytelling abilities.