The Complete Guide To Writing For Magazines

We all have ideas for the next great magazine article, but the truth is that writing for magazines can be a difficult task. If you want to be successful as a writer and get published in magazines regularly, it’s important to know what goes into writing for these publications. 

In this article, we’ve gathered together everything you need to know about how to write for magazines so that you can put yourself on their radar and make sure your articles are ready for submission!

How to write an article for a magazine – YouTube
1. Understand the magazine’s target audience and tone.
2. Craft compelling headlines to grab readers’ attention.
3. Research thoroughly to provide accurate and reliable content.
4. Structure your articles effectively with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
5. Pitch your article ideas to editors in a personalized and well-researched manner.
6. Revise and edit your work meticulously before submission.
7. Build a professional network to enhance your writing opportunities.
8. Stay persistent and resilient in the face of rejections.
9. Continuously improve your writing skills through practice and feedback.
10. Embrace feedback and learn from the successes and failures of your articles.

Do Your Homework

Writing for magazines isn’t just about writing a good story. You need to do your homework before you even sit down at the computer.

Research the magazine itself. Find out what it covers, who its target audience is, and what style they usually use. Read some back issues and see how they’ve handled similar topics in the past. 

This will help you get an idea of what kind of tone, language level, and structure the editors are looking for and if there are any tricky parts of their style that might trip you up (e.g., certain words or phrases always capitalized).

Research your topic thoroughly. Again, this is easier said than done when there’s so much information floating around on the internet these days! 

But if you can find some solid sources that agree with each other about basic facts (like dates), it’ll make things easier when it comes time to write your first draft: instead of having to research every single fact separately as part of your writing process (which wastes valuable time), 

All those facts will already be straight in your head because someone else has already done them justice somewhere else online and trust me: this little trick alone makes all the difference!

Writing for magazines can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to know the ins and outs of the industry. Check out our comprehensive guide on The Complete Guide to Writing for Magazines to get valuable insights and tips to excel in this competitive field.

Write About A Topic That You Know

Writing about a topic that you know is the most surefire way to make your writing authentic and engaging. The best writers are passionate about their topics, which means they have a stronger incentive to tell their readers everything they can know about that subject. 

Writing about things you are knowledgeable about also makes it easier for you to find the right tone and style you won’t have to spend time researching or experimenting with different approaches if your knowledge base is already established.

Even better than writing about topics you’re knowledgeable on is writing about things that interest or excite you! 

When we are interested in something, we want more information; when we’re excited by something, our desire for more information becomes even greater because there’s so much left for us to learn (and share). This makes us better storytellers because our passion shows through in what we write, which will keep readers engaged until the very end of the article.

Don’t Submit Ideas To Multiple Editors

You should never submit the same idea to multiple editors. Not only is that a waste of time, but it also gives off the impression that you aren’t aware of the magazine’s editorial calendar.

You should never send the same idea to the same editor multiple times unless it’s been revised each time or you’re given feedback and asked to resubmit something new.

You shouldn’t send your ideas out as soon as they occur to you; instead, wait until they’ve been fully fleshed out before sending them in (ideally 2-3 times longer than they occurred).

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Take The Time To Follow The Instructions

Follow the Instructions.

Take the time to read, understand and follow all of an editor’s instructions carefully. Don’t waste an editor’s time by expecting them to figure out what you want on their own or going off on a tangent without understanding the assignment. 

It might seem like common sense, but it can be easy for writers to get lost in their writing and forget about the bigger picture and that includes following all directions laid out in a pitch, query letter, or article request from start to finish!

Be Original & Unique When Writing For Magazines

If there are other articles on similar topics written by everyone else (i.e., “10 Best New Restaurants In Chicago For 2018), then don’t waste your time writing yet another listicle-type article unless you have something very different or interesting (or both) to say about it than everyone else does. 

If there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to content creation then either find another angle through which this information can be presented freshly; or forget about trying something new altogether and stick with what works best: great storytelling!

Pitch More Than One Subject

Pitching more than one idea at once is the best way to increase your chances of getting published. If you have two articles that each feels unique and is appropriate for different audiences, pitch them both! Just make sure that each idea targets a different publication (and editor).

If you write something awesome about travel, use it as inspiration for another travel-related article instead of sending it all over town unless the publications overlap in their audience. For example: if one magazine focuses on luxury travelers and another focuses on budget-conscious families, both editors could be interested in reading about how to travel affordably with kids.

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Be Able To Provide Sources For Your Claims

It’s important to be able to provide sources for your claims.

This is one area in which the rules of journalism and those of writing for magazines are different.

When you write an article for a magazine, you can express your opinion but that doesn’t mean that you can just make things up and expect readers to believe them. 

Readers expect writers who work in magazines to be experts in their fields, and they also expect writers on magazine articles to back up their claims with facts, statistics, interviews with experts in related fields, or even direct quotes from these experts if possible. 

This is one way in which working with a reliable source like The Editorial Freelancer can help you stand out from other writers: They’ll help you find the best sources for each point you want to make so that everything checks out when it comes time for publication!

Write A Stellar Query Letter

A query letter is the first step in selling your article. You should send a query to the editor of each publication you’re interested in writing for and hope that one or more of them responds favorably to your pitch. A stellar query letter will help you get their attention and convince them that you have great ideas worth publishing.

Below are some tips on how to write a stellar query letter:

Keep it short and sweet: 

Don’t waste time with long-winded emails that don’t say anything. Instead, keep your email concise and to the point by summarizing who you are, what your article is about, why it’s relevant now (the news peg), how long it would take to write and anything else that may be interesting about yourself or your story idea (for example this is my first feature article). 

This means no flowery language or unnecessary details; instead, focus on being clear about what exactly makes this piece unique from similar pieces being published elsewhere at present moment in time.

When the reader sees this email/letter which contains nothing but information about why readers should care about reading something written by a writer who doesn’t yet exist anywhere except as a concept at the moment when the email arrives in the inbox.

Before being deleted forever unless saved somewhere else like email drafts folder where nobody looks unless specifically looking for something specific reason like needing reference point while writing new chapter book series!”

Don’t Sell Yourself Short With Research

It’s a common misconception that you can write anything you want to write, and it will be accepted. This is not true! Writers are expected to conduct thorough research before they start writing an article, and many magazines have strict guidelines for how articles should be written.

For example, let’s say you want to write about the best places in America for college students who want to study abroad. Here’s what I would suggest:

Read other travel guides on this topic (like Lonely Planet or Frommer’s) so that your article doesn’t seem like a copy of theirs (and so that you don’t accidentally plagiarize). Look through their work for things they could improve upon or topics they could explore further.

Research the topic thoroughly by reading magazine articles and websites related to the subject matter but only if these sources are credible ones (i.e., not just random blogs). Make sure these sources agree with each other when it comes down to facts and statistics; if they don’t, then contact them directly because there may be conflicting information out there!

Give yourself time between researching your idea/topic and starting writing; this gives me confidence knowing I’m not going off half-cocked without having first done my due diligence as an informed writer making educated guesses rather than just shooting from the hip without knowing whether any given piece might end up being wrong in some way.”

Aspiring to write compelling news articles and get paid for your skills? Our article on How to Write News Articles & Get Paid to Write for the Web provides expert advice to help you break into the world of news writing and make money doing what you love.

Have A Thick Skin When It Comes To Rejections

If you’re going to have a thick skin when it comes to rejections, then be prepared to get rejected. That’s just the nature of the game. “You’ll never write anything if you don’t send it out,” said Kurt Vonnegut.

Remember that not everyone will like your writing (or even understand what you’re trying to say). Writers need to maintain their sense of self-worth and not take every rejection as a personal affront.

When dealing with rejection, remember these tips:

Don’t Give Up! Rejection doesn’t mean your work is bad; it just means someone else didn’t like it at this time. Rejection may be an indication that the publication thinks highly enough of your work that they wouldn’t want others seeing it until they can publish all of it themselves in one issue or online at their site.

Ask For Feedback If You Want It! Some publications will provide feedback on stories they pass along but others won’t do so unless specifically requested by the writer/author.* Ask For A Revision If You Need One! 

Most editors are looking for reasons why they should accept your story before they move on to another one so most likely any problems found with your submission could easily be fixed in advance if only given some extra time from both sides.

Try A Different Approach: Maybe try submitting under a different category or theme. Maybe try submitting again after changing something about how you wrote something? Maybe look elsewhere for what seems like too broad of publication and see if there isn’t one more suited more closely towards what type of topics interests

Make Sure Your Article Fits With The Publication’s Style And Frequency Of Articles

Look at the publication’s website. You can often find this information right on their homepage, or in an About Us section.

Check with the editor. They are there to answer your questions; don’t be afraid to ask them! If they do not have any information available online, shoot them a message and ask what style they prefer and how often they publish articles like yours. Most editors will be happy to help you out!

Take Critiques Constructively And Learn From Them

Most writers are familiar with the phrase “take criticism constructively,” but it’s not always easy to do. It can sometimes be difficult to separate your ego from your writing, and that’s why it’s important to remember that criticism is supposed to help you improve.

To take critiques well:

Don’t take them personally. You may have poured your heart into an essay or article, but hearing someone didn’t like it can hurt – especially if they’re someone you respect or admire. Try not to take this as a reflection of your worth as a person. 

instead, consider whether or not their criticisms are valid ones that you should look into addressing in future writings. 

Also, remember that just because one reader didn’t enjoy something doesn’t mean no one will! Just because someone doesn’t like what you’ve written doesn’t mean they’re wrong – only that it isn’t for them (and there’s nothing wrong with not being for everyone).

Don’t get defensive about feedback on your work: If someone says something negative about your piece (even if they don’t say outright “this sucks”), resist the urge to snap back at him/her/them immediately even if he/she/they were pretty brutal about pointing out flaws in what was otherwise meant as constructive criticism! 

Instead of getting angry immediately and storming off angrily muttering under his breath about how wrong this person was (or feeling hurt by their words), try asking questions first before reacting emotionally; maybe they hadn’t understood something correctly. Or maybe he/she has never written before so doesn’t know how hard it can be? 

Communication goes both ways here – so give others space instead of jumping down their throat right away when things don’t go according to exactly how planned out ahead of time…which brings us right up to next point number two:

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Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

It’s amazing how many people submit articles to magazines without editing them at all. Don’t be that person! If you want to make it in this business, you need to start with the basics: proofreading your work before submitting it.

There are all kinds of tools out there that can help with this process spell checkers and grammar checkers are some of the more popular ones but they’re not perfect. They’ll catch some errors while missing others entirely (like when they suggest “farther” instead of “further”). 

So take extra care after using these tools and don’t rely solely on their suggestions for what needs fixing in your writing; if something strikes you as odd or amiss about the way something reads when using them (or even just plain looks wrong), check it again yourself just be sure there aren’t any other errors lurking around somewhere else inside the text itself.

Even after reading through what you’ve written multiple times over and making sure everything looks right, there’s still one more step: get another person who knows nothing about what you’re working on besides its general topic area not even who wrote it or why and have them read through everything once more for typos and grammatical mistakes! 

You’d be surprised how many things slip past our eyes when we try too hard not only to see but understand all at once; someone else will spot things that would otherwise have escaped both your and their notice altogether!

Provide Sources For All Photographs And Images

The most important thing to do when you’re writing for magazines is to give credit where credit is due. If you use any images or photographs in your piece, make sure to let the reader know where they came from. 

It’s also considered a best practice to mention where the original photographer and owner are located so that readers can find them if they’re interested in seeing more of their work.

Here’s an example of how I would include credits for photos in a piece:

  • Photographer: Andrew Burton / Getty Images
  • Owner: Getty Images”

Send In Complete Article Packages With All Materials Needed For Your Piece

Make sure you send in complete article packages with all materials needed for your piece. This could include:

  • An outline of what you plan to write and where it’s going (the so-called ‘query letter’)
  • A bio and headshot, if applicable
  • A source list/references page (make sure you can back up every quote or statistic you use!)

Don’t Forget To Include Your Own Bio And Headshot With Your Article Package

Your bio should include your name, the name of any publications you’ve written for previously, the names of any awards you’ve received or conferences you’ve attended as a writer, and any other relevant information (the fact that you can juggle three oranges while riding a unicycle backward while singing on key is not necessary).

The same goes for your headshot. It doesn’t have to be professional just make sure it looks like an actual human being and not like one of those stock photos that come with word processing programs. If possible, have someone take it for you in natural light so that it doesn’t look too flat or washed out.

Be Clear On What Rights A Magazine Is Asking You To Sign Over To Them When They Publish Your Article

You should always know exactly what rights a magazine is asking you to sign over to them when they publish your article. There are three types of rights:

First serial rights: The right for a publisher or agent to publish an article in a periodical before any other publications have the opportunity to do so. This applies only if the publisher publishes in print, online, or both.

All other publishing rights: The right for a publisher or agent to republish your material at any time after it has appeared in its first publication (and there’s often no limit on how many times). This also applies only if the publisher publishes in print, online, or both.

Electronic rights: The right for publishers and agents to use your work digitally for example, as part of an ebook collection or on their website for non-profit purposes like education.”

Ask Questions If You Aren’t Familiar With Rights Or Laws Surrounding Publishing An Article

If you’re unsure about anything in the process, ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking the right questions will help you avoid problems later on in your career as a writer. 

If you can’t find out what’s going on by asking your editor, go ahead and call up the magazine’s legal department or public relations department and get some clarification on what is expected of you before moving forward with an article or story idea.

Treat Each Editor’s Request As An Individual Assignment

When you’re working with an editor, the key is to treat each assignment as an individual assignment. That means listening to what they want and being flexible in how you approach your topic. 

It also means being professional, open to new ideas, open to feedback and suggestions from other editors (and even your writing), and open to changes in direction if something isn’t working out as planned.

For example: if one editor requests a feature story on how SEO has changed over the last 10 years a common request for magazines but then another editor asks for a feature on SEO best practices for small businesses, 

You must keep all of this information straight so that no one feels like they’ve wasted their time on an article idea that ultimately goes nowhere or doesn’t fit into the publication’s current editorial approach/tone/etc.

Further Reading

Indeed Career Advice – How to Write Articles for Magazines: Learn valuable insights and tips on how to craft compelling magazine articles and make a mark in the publishing world.

The Complete Article Writer: How To Write And Sell Magazine Articles: This practical guide offers valuable advice on writing and selling magazine articles, providing useful strategies for aspiring writers.

Publuu Knowledge Base – How to Write a Magazine Article: Gain valuable insights into the process of crafting engaging and well-structured magazine articles through this informative resource.


How do I start writing articles for magazines?

Starting to write articles for magazines involves identifying your niche, researching target publications, and crafting compelling story ideas that align with their readership.

What are the essential elements of a magazine article?

A well-crafted magazine article typically includes a catchy headline, engaging introduction, well-researched content, and a strong conclusion that leaves a lasting impact on the readers.

How can I improve my magazine article writing skills?

Improving your magazine article writing skills involves consistent practice, seeking feedback from editors or peers, and reading articles from established writers to understand different styles and approaches.

How do I approach magazine editors with my article ideas?

When approaching magazine editors, make sure to personalize your pitch, demonstrate familiarity with their publication, and clearly outline the unique angle and value your article will bring to their readers.

How can I increase the chances of getting my article published?

To increase the likelihood of getting your article published, focus on tailoring your submissions to fit the specific guidelines of each magazine, meeting deadlines, and continuously honing your writing skills.