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,