There’s more to writing for magazines than getting your name into Cosmopolitan. Thousands of new magazines are launched every year and it’s a big market for freelance writers. In fact, it’s even bigger now that so many magazines have an online presence. So, how do you go about writing a magazine article that will sell?
What Magazine Articles Do
I admit, I didn’t know this when I wrote my first magazine article, but most magazine articles do one of four things. They inform, adding to your knowledge about a subject. They help you to solve a problem. They persuade you about a particular viewpoint. They entertain you. Some articles do more than one of those things at the same time.
How To Structure A Magazine Article
When you’re ready to write then you need to think about structure. With magazine articles, you can move beyond the inverted pyramid of news. Instead, you can build to an important point or scatter important points throughout the article.
Tell A Story
The key thing to remember is that you’re telling a story to your readers. That means you need a beginning, a middle and an end. It also means you need to think about where you’re taking your reader and create a logical path to that end point.
Beginning Your Magazine Article
The first thing you need to do is get people to read your article, so you need to find a way to grab them. When I interview people, I often start the resulting article with a quote or an anecdote from their life. However, you can also set the scene or use anything that will get attention.
With most magazine articles, you talk to a person or people. People like reading about other people, so if your interviewee says something good, use a quote rather than reported speech. This makes your magazine article more interesting.
Ending Your Magazine Article
Finally, end with a bang. This could be an important point, a revelation, or another anecdote or quote. The idea is to satisfy your reader and to get that reader interested in your other writing.
When you research an article, you often have information left over that didn’t make it into the main piece. Don’t get rid of this. Use it to create a sidebar or table (editors will love this), or as the starting point for another article.