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Part of our get published series
Published in Magazines and Trade Journals
by Jennifer Tribe, Juiced Consulting
Infopreneurs typically charge for their information, but
sometimes it pays to give it away for free. Writing articles
for print magazines and trade journals is an effective way
to gain exposure to new audiences, establish your expertise,
and give prospective clients a way to sample your knowledge.
Instead of a check from the magazine’s editor, your
"payment" comes in the form of an extended byline or
resource box –- the little blurb at the end of an article
that provides more information about the author.
When you’re giving your articles away for free, getting
published is fairly easy. The five steps below show you how.
Just make sure you’re targeting smaller, niche publications.
This usually means magazines with a circulation under 70,000
in the US or under 20,000 in Canada. You might think you’d
prefer a hit in Fast Company or Business Week but consider
that 5,000 highly targeted readers will likely bring better
results than 1 million marginally qualified prospects.
Step 1: Define your audience
Start by determining your objectives for the article and the
audience you want to reach. The more specific you can be in
defining your target audience, the easier Step Two will be.
Step 2: Select your magazines
Based on your defined target audience, determine which
magazines and trade journals you want your article to be
In order to find the right publications, you’ll probably
need to consult a media directory such as Bacon’s. Such
directories, found at any major reference library, provide a
comprehensive list of trade magazines along with details
such as each magazine’s editorial focus, circulation, and
Once you’ve created your target list, make sure you
familiarize yourself with the magazines. Read a few back
issues to get a feel for the accepted writing style, article
format and usual topics. It also helps to check out a
magazine’s editorial calendar, which tells you what topics
will be featured in upcoming issues. Most magazines print
their editorial calendar a year in advance and post it to
their web site.
Step 3: Prepare your queries
Now decide what areas of your expertise you want to present
– in other words, what you’re going to write about. It’s
critical to remember that articles are not advertisements.
An article that is nothing but a thinly veiled plug for you
or your services will be severely frowned upon by editors
and will not be published.
You are now ready to pitch your idea to editors in a
document called a query letter. This is a one-page letter
that describes your proposed topic and why the magazine’s
readers will be interested in it. Finish off with a brief
description of your qualifications as a writer or topic
The query letter is where the homework you did in Step 2
pays off. If your article is particularly appropriate for a
certain issue (which you found out researching editorial
calendars) or for a recurring column (which you found out by
reading past issues), let the editor know. Editors like
working with writers who have taken the time to learn what
they need for their magazine.
Keep in mind that magazines usually work months in advance
of each issue so it’s best to get your queries in early.
Send your query letter by e-mail or fax, and then follow up
with a phone call a week later. Editors are busy people so
it might take a few phone calls to reach them.
Step 4: Write the article
Once an editor accepts your article for publication, you
begin to write. Notice how writing is virtually last in the
process. Many beginners make the mistake of writing first
and then trying to find a home for their finished piece. You
will save yourself much time and frustration if you pitch
first, then write upon acceptance.
As you write, be sure to follow any guidelines or advice the
editor may have provided. Pay strict attention to the length
and keep your article within the word count the editor
specified. Prepare a short biographical blurb for the end of
the article, and have a photograph of yourself ready in case
the magazine asks for one. Perhaps most importantly, don’t
miss your deadline – if you let an editor down once, they
are not likely to work with you again.
After the article is published, follow up with the editor to
make sure you get a few free copies of the magazine.
Step 5: Recycle the content
If you developed your magazine article by extracting and
adapting content from one of your information products,
you’ve already been a diligent recycler. If your article was
written from scratch, think about ways you can now re-use
it, either as marketing material or as an information
product. You might pitch other magazines with the same
article, get reprints of your article to mail to prospective
clients, collect a number of articles into a special report,
or use snippets in your newsletter. By recycling, you can
continue to reap the benefits of being published long after
the original article is gone from newsstands.
© 2004 Juiced Consulting
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