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6 Tips For Reading A Magazine’s Websites To Sell Your Writing

If you want to break into magazine writing, there are three sources of information you must know about – the magazine’s market listing, the magazine itself and the magazine’s website.

Editors create market listings expressly to help writers know what they want. Many of them are found in Writer’s Market.

The printed magazine is really what it’s all about.

The magazine’s website also provides valuable clues to what the editors of that publication are willing to pay for.

The easiest way to find the magazine’s website is to simply google the publication’s title. If that doesn’t work add the word magazine to the search. Once you find it here are six items to look for:

Assuming you have a current copy of the printed version of the magazine, you’ll quickly be able to tell if the articles on the website duplicate that. If they don’t there may be an opportunity to write for the site as well. You can mention your willingness in your query.

Read the articles there – at least those that seem similar in tone and type of topic you’re proposing. Ask yourself how long the articles tend to be, if they’re grouped under a particular secition of the magazine, what the tone is, etc. You want a good feel for what is actually being published on the magazine’s website, paying special attention to how it differs, if it does, from the print version.

Study the ads. The ads on a magazine’s website can help you understand the audience. Know too, that more and more we’re getting personalized advertising – advertising that’s based on what you tend to look at. Yes, ads get pushed at you without you even knowing it. Although ads are often tied to the keywords in the articles, which give you some idea of the reader, many are now reflecting you as well. That’s why media kits and the actual magazine will give you a better picture of the advertising for that publication.

Online Media Kits are pure gold. They are often listed in tiny print at the bottom of the website. Assuming you find such a thing, look for readership numbers. For example, the media kit at Family Circle details the age, income, homeowner status and more on their readers. The kit at Harper’s Magazine gives similar information and adds an editorial calendar. All excellent grist for the freelance writer’s mill.

Writer’s guidelines sometimes appear on a magazine’s website. For example, Yes!, although vague on pay amounts spells out exactly what they want and how to submit it.

Look closely at the fine print. It’s worth peering at the fine print at the bottom of a magazine’s website (or, in many cases boost the type size with CTRL + if you’re on a pc). You may find the Masthead there, which will tell you which editor does what, a phone number you might want to use, and other information that will make your life as a freelancer easier and more profitable.

In other words, studying a magazine’s website can be just as important as studying the magazine itself when it comes to figuring out how to sell your idea and your writing.

How do you use magazine websites?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman Writing Coach



How might coaching help you with your writing?

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Another bookmark to add to my collection. 🙂 Thanks for the information, Anne. I didn’t know about media kits–that’s really helpful.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..The Buttersmiths’ Gold and An Unfortunate AnnouncementMy Profile

  • Sue Chehrenegar

    The website for some children’s magazines have information on the monthly theme. I got two articles accepted by writing for that theme.

  • I never knew about the media kit. That makes it a bit easier to know who the audience is. I’m assuming these tips will work for any magazine. I’d like to break into PC World. Great tips, Anne!

  • I never thought about studying the ads on a magazine’s website. Thanks for this out-of-the-box tip! The ads will provide insight into the target audience. Speaking of the target audience…I’m finding more and more small business owners don’t know ‘who’ their target audience is or expect you, the freelance writer, to figure it out for them. Has anyone else run into this?

    • Yes, defining the target audience or the just-right-client, etc. is often the key to real success.

  • Anne, excellent advise as usual. I too love your website, and will also bookmark this page as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kim Reyes

    That is indeed an awesome post. I just checked the media kit, it is pretty cool with awesome stuff. I am actually aspiring to be writing for a magazine, I have bookmarked this page to refer to the tips later.
    Kim Reyes recently posted..Kim Kardashian Ripped DressMy Profile

  • Great info as usual, Anne! I do research wirter’s/submission guidelines before a query. Media Kits, not so much. Now, I will:)
    Clara Freeman recently posted..Change, Challenge and Possibilities…My Profile

    • When you think about what goes into a media kit, how much research, they are golden.

  • I was really not aware of the media kit, just now checked it and yes, they are pretty good!

    Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it!
    Jeremiah Ozment recently posted..Search Engine Optimization Basics – 6 Key Components for Law FirmsMy Profile

    • Hmmm, wonder how I first found out about media kits… oh well, glad to help.

  • Great info here Anne. It’s been a long time since I’ve written for magazines, but I do have a few ideas rolling around in my head that I might finally pitch.
    John Soares recently posted..Why I Am Changing the Productive Writers Posting Schedule for SummerMy Profile

  • Hi Anne,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your website and all the great posts you create to help writers like me learn our craft! You are a blessing and I wanted to make sure you know I am grateful. Have a wonderful day! 🙂
    Shannon Cutts recently posted..Advice for an Aspiring Freelance WriterMy Profile

    • Thanks Shannon… tell everyone you know! And consider the 5 Buck Forum at AboutWritingSquared.com – great group of people.

  • Thanks for the idea about the Media Kit Anne,

    I indeed did find such a – Media Kit – at the bottom of the website of a publication and it indeed does offers a wealth of info about the publication.
    (Btw. on my blog you can find a slightly different ‘Kit’, a special page with
    a– Writer’s Kit – with all kinds of products that I think can be helpfull for writer’s.) I do think that such Magazine Research can be a great starting point for writing Articles, Letters to the Editor or for writing Fillers for Magazines.
    HP van Duuren recently posted..What Do You Think About My Book Review?My Profile

  • As always, a really helpful post, Anne. I always look first for the golden demographic information and also check out their “contact” page, which is usually a clue as to whether or not they accept free-lance submissions. If there’s not an extensive one, you can bet they are mostly staff written. Try to find an editor to submit to at O, for instance. Not gonna happen.
    Charlotte Rains Dixon recently posted..Answering Your Writing Questions: First PersonMy Profile

    • Excellent point, Charlotte – I thought O had some freelancers…

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