If you’re writing for print, you might think that all the rules have changed. After all, we live in an era when anyone with a laptop can publish online. The Internet is a meritocracy, right? So why shouldn’t anyone who wants to write be able to do so? Well, let me tell you: Those people are wrong!
I’ve spent my whole career working on magazines, and it turns out that some things don’t change no matter what medium you choose. Certain principles of good writing apply whether or not you write for print or online or digital anything else for that matter!
These days I work as a freelancer, which means I spend most of my time writing for different publications instead of having one “home base.” Working this way has taught me a lot about how writers can improve their style (and yes, even if they never publish anything in print). Here are five tips from one old editor to new ones on how best to approach their craft today:
|Embrace the digital landscape: Magazine writers can learn from people who publish online by embracing the digital landscape and exploring opportunities to reach a broader audience through various online platforms.|
|Utilize SEO and keyword strategies: Learning from online publishers, magazine writers can improve their visibility and readership by incorporating effective SEO and keyword strategies into their articles.|
|Engage with the online community: Online publishers excel in community engagement, and magazine writers can benefit from fostering connections with their readers through comments, social media, and interactive content.|
|Adapt to changing content formats: Magazine writers should take cues from online publishers and adapt to changing content formats, including multimedia elements like videos, infographics, and interactive storytelling.|
|Analyze data and reader preferences: By studying online publishing metrics and analyzing reader preferences, magazine writers can tailor their content to better resonate with their audience and deliver more compelling articles.|
You Have To Become A Multimedia Person
The internet is a multimedia experience, and it’s only become more so over the past few years. If you want to continue to reach an audience on the internet, you need to learn how to use video, audio, and images in addition to text. The good news? You already know how!
You’ve probably already been telling stories through images and text online for years: posting photos of your favorite recipes; sharing videos of vacations or parties; writing long-form articles that include embedded links that point readers back to your site (where they can read more about the topic).
But if you’re looking for ways to improve these kinds of articles or if you’re just starting and have never tried making multimedia content before then here are some tips for making the most of what’s available in today’s technology:
As a budding magazine writer, I embarked on an incredible journey, and my first month as a magazine writer taught me invaluable lessons about storytelling and connecting with readers.
Make Sure All Media Is Working Properly Before Publishing Anything Live
Create unique captions for each image/video/audio file so people don’t have trouble finding them later on when linking back into your site from social media platforms like Facebook or Pinterest.
And finally, don’t forget about SEO! Just because we’re talking about multimedia doesn’t mean we can ignore SEO entirely; after all, search engines will still be able to index images just fine even if they’re not linked back into our sites right away via text descriptions like those found within alt tags (which should always include keywords).
Who Is Your Audience For Each Project?
Who is your audience for each project?
What do they want to read?
How do you know what they want to read?
Why does it matter? I mean, does this matter at all? Well, yes it does! It matters because knowing your audience helps you tailor each article or story directly to them.
For example, if you’re writing a story about how much people love their dogs and cats in the middle of an article about someone’s best friend dying from cancer, it won’t flow well and probably won’t make sense if that’s not what people like reading about.
This also helps keep things more interesting because everyone has different tastes when it comes down to what kind of stories they enjoy reading most often (it’s important).
Be An Editor Of Yourself
So, you’re writing a piece in your favorite word processing program. You’re thinking, “This is my best work!”
But then you look at it with fresh eyes, and you realize that there’s some fluff in here. Some dialogue doesn’t come across as natural. Maybe the voice isn’t quite right or the story goes on for too long (or not long enough). Now, what do you do?
Do You Have A Signature Style Or Voice?
Just because you write in a certain style doesn’t mean you should stick to it, even if that style is what has gotten you published so far. You might want to experiment.
If you’re stuck, think of how different writers approach their work differently: Some people like the idea of an outline; others just run with it.
Some feel the need to write every day; others have written entire books on trains or during their lunch breaks (or while they were supposed to be working).
What’s your process? How do these differences affect the way they approach their subject matter? And what can we learn from them?
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Turn Your Skepticism Into Curiosity
The next time you’re feeling skeptical of something, give curiosity a try instead. Ask yourself “why?” and “how?” rather than dismissing the idea outright. Curiosity can be such a powerful motivator that it can help overcome barriers or inspire us to take action in ways we never thought possible.
To avoid clichés, you have to first know what they are. A cliché is an overused phrase that’s trite and dull, so it’s no surprise they’re also annoying. Clichés are used to make something seem more exciting or interesting than it is, but the truth of the matter is that it’s usually not and you should be careful when using them in your writing.
It can be tempting to throw around a clichéd phrase because you think people will find it funny or hip, but what you’re doing is just adding another layer of mediocrity on top of another layer of mediocrity.
When someone uses a clichéd phrase in conversation with me (which happens often), I immediately hang up and re-evaluate my life choices because who wants to spend time with such an unoriginal person?
Always Ask, “Why Is This The Story You Want To Tell?” Trust Your Instincts And Choose Well
We’re all attracted to the idea of telling an important story, but it can be hard to know if your story is important. The way I think about it is this: “why you want to tell the story” and “what your story is about” are two different things.
Your why might be that you have an opinion on something or have been through something, and those experiences make you feel qualified to write about them.
But if those are your only reasons for writing about a topic, then I would suggest taking a step back and looking at other perspectives or angles on the topic before going forward with writing your piece.
I find myself struggling with this when choosing which articles I want for my blog every month (I publish one new post per week).
For example, when deciding what article topic I should write about next month (there are already six topics in mind), my instinct tells me not to go with something like “How To Make Friends In College” because everyone knows how important making friends in college can be – so why bother?
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Find Ways To Express Yourself Physically On The Page
Use a pen, pencil, or marker. There are many ways to do this. You can even use a brush with a paintbrush tip on your pen instead of the actual ink!
Use a paint roller and brush (or sprayer). A paint roller is also an option if you want more precise lines and shapes it’s just less freeform than other methods.
Paint markers are great for collages because they have different colors in one marker that blend when applied to paper just make sure it’s not glossy paper that doesn’t absorb water-based paints well before using this technique!
You Don’t Have To Be A Great Writer To Be A Good Writer
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from one of my former bosses, who said “You don’t have to be a great writer to be a good writer. You just have to be willing to write every day.”
It seems like such basic advice but it was exactly what I needed at that time in my career: permission to keep writing even without being successful at it yet.
Writing is hard work and takes time and effort. But if you want people to read your work whether it’s on paper or online you need the first to know that you exist as an author, then get excited about what you have written, and finally read some of your stuff!
Two years into my magazine writing journey, I’ve gathered invaluable insights. Join me in exploring Magazine Writing 101 for the essential tips I wish I had known when starting out.
Try Not To Write Like Anybody Else; Find Your Own Natural Rhythm And Try To Stick With It, Even If People Tell You They Prefer Another Style
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of writing like someone else, especially when you’re just starting. We’ve all done it: we read a great article and immediately try to imitate that author’s style. But at some point, you have to learn how to write in your voice.
The best advice I ever got from a mentor was simply this: “Write how you talk.” If you speak like a 13-year-old girl (as an adult) or if your speech is punctuated with “ya know”s, then write with those quirks.
The biggest mistake people make when they get started is trying too hard not to be themselves and trying too hard not to make mistakes while they’re still learning their craft both are big no-nos if writing is going to feel natural for them later on down the road!
If no one ever tells you that what you wrote was good or meaningful, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or meaningful.
You’re probably thinking, “If no one ever tells me that what I wrote was good or meaningful, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or meaningful.”
And you would be right. You might write something so brilliant and insightful that readers will be stunned into silence by its brilliance and insightfulness. But that doesn’t happen very often, which means you should expect to get some feedback from people who read what you’ve written whether positive or negative.
And if they don’t offer feedback, then ask for it! Don’t hesitate to ask someone to critique your work because it’s a good idea for several reasons:
You might learn something about your writing process by having someone else look at it with fresh eyes;
It may give them a chance to show off their skills by offering suggestions;
It can make both parties feel valued if the critic takes time out of his/her busy day (or night) just for this purpose; and
Receiving feedback helps build confidence in our abilities as writers so we’ll keep doing what we love doing most writing!
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Writing is hard, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. You can write something that people will read and understand and learn from. That’s not something many people get to do in their life, so if writing feels like a struggle sometimes, remember that every writer has been there before even the most successful ones!
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What are the benefits of writing for online magazines?
Writing for online magazines provides exposure, a wider readership, potential income, and opportunities to build your writing portfolio.
How can I craft a compelling personal essay?
To create a compelling personal essay, focus on an engaging topic, be honest and vulnerable in your writing, and ensure your story has a clear narrative arc.
What types of publications pay freelancers for their work?
Many online magazines and reputable publications pay freelancers for their high-quality writing, including personal essays, opinion pieces, and informative articles.
What steps can I take to become a successful freelance magazine writer?
To succeed as a freelance magazine writer, focus on honing your writing skills, researching potential markets, networking with editors, and consistently pitching your ideas.
How can I find online magazines that are a good fit for my writing style?
Look for online magazines that align with your interests and expertise, read their guidelines, analyze their content, and tailor your pitches to suit their target audience.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.