A few weeks ago I invited you lovely lot to ask me any questions you might have that I don’t usually cover in my regular posts… you’s certainly didn’t disappoint in your range of colourful questions! However one of my blog buddies, the lovely Stephie of Stephie Estie, asked if I had any hints or tips on how to get an article published in a Magazine. Now although I could literally ‘vlog or blog’ a complete mini series on the subject I thought it was much more simple to keep things short, sweet and oh so compact by sharing a few of my top tips on the subject.
Having been self-employed as a bridal wear retailer; working alongside some of the Wedding Industries top glossy magazines was always an exciting part of my daily routine. Designing advertisements, editing copy & working to tight deadlines was often the bulk of many a looooong day perched behind the computer screen. Working with editing teams as a client or freelance writer is very much the same – there are very high standards to maintain. Not even the tiniest detail can go unnoticed. The better equipped you are in perfecting your craft, the better chance you have of your work standing out from the crowd… and as a writer, catching the attention of a pin sharp editorial team!
So what steps can you take to get your article featured in your favourite mag? To tackle Stephie’s question I’ve pulled together a few little tips that just may come in useful if you’re aiming to get your article published…
Writing for an audience can be incredibly challenging. Like anything you commit too you’ll most likely want to pour your heart and soul into it in order to keep readers captivated, as well as find it useful or informative. Being able to work to deadlines is incredibly important, so before you jump right in at the deep end it may be best to simply test the water in other ways. Believe it or not, guest-blogging can be an incredibly useful place to start. Research the internet for potential blogs relative to what you intend writing about, send them an email introducing yourself and any potential ideas for a great post. This is also really helpful for building a mini portfolio of featured articles to present to potential magazine editors… not to mention a great way to share your work on global scale through social media!
Reading publications you’re eager to feature in is absolutely essential to ascertaining what type of articles are most likely to be published. Are they short-snappy pieces? Double spread page fillers? Fun & conversational style articles or serious & well researched pieces? What’s the general word count? Are their readers definitely the target audience you want to engage with?
For example: although I’m already happily married with no intention of making any future trips down the aisle ever again (well I could be persuaded to renew the vows on a far flung tropical island) I still occasionally buy wedding magazines… why? To keep up with the latest trends & ensure any content I consider submitting hasn’t already been recently featured – aka – flogged to death!
Know your target magazine, know the readers & you’re already beginning to build the foundations to a well thought out writing plan that’s *hopefully* going to engage and captivate the perfect audience 😉
It’s time to really think this through… remember, anyone can bang out a couple of hundred words blathering on about almost anything these days *aah hmm* but when you’re writing to satisfy the appetites of a much bigger audience (and a critical editing team) you need to be confident, on the ball & clear as to WHY the readers are going to benefit from your feature. Ask yourself the following:
What’s the aim of the article?
Have I effectively highlighted the issue or point?
Have I researched any facts or figures? If so, can I back them up with evidence?
What’s a resolution to the dilemma I may have highlighted?
For example, in an article I wrote for Wedding Ideas *click here to view* my initial brainstorming session was to break down exactly what I wanted to write about & why it would be helpful. In short, I thought of a common problem and offered my opinion of a solution based on experience. I kept the tone of the article relatively light hearted & in-keeping with other features, but at the same time I tried to ensure it was as informative as it could be.
Just keep in mind there has to be an incentive for the reader to keep their eyes on the page, however at the same time feel like they connect with the writer. It’s not easy & you can’t please everyone, but with careful planning (& too much editing to mention *sigh*) you’ll soon find a voice that captivates the crowd!
I’m all for aiming high but you’ve got to be realistic about your expectations and the level of experience you have to offer. As eager as you may be, hold back on initially aiming for the industry big guns – at least until you’ve built up a nice little portfolio 😉 It’s exceptionally difficult for even the most experienced of writers and journalists to get printed let alone when you’re just starting off. Initially it may be best to concentrate your time aiming for local publications as opposed to national ones… you’ll have a much better chance of having your article revised or considered. Don’t forget to keep an eye out in the local press as they often release special one-off features focusing on Weddings, Beauty, Food, Travel etc. It could be your perfect opportunity to submit an article that will blow the socks clean off the editor!
Okay, so you’ve been bursting with idea’s and captivating articles. Although it’s inevitable you’ll be dreaming of seeing your work in print, it’s important you do one final thing… leave it. Yes, you read right – leave it. Just one week, no more, no less. Of course you’ll spend the entire seven days obsessing over your work, coming up with catchy phrases to include or better ways to close that all important final paragraph – however – resist the temptation to go back and tweak before your 7 day quarantine is up! Instead write any extra ideas, quotes or potential changes in a notebook – when you go back to re-read & edit your original piece you’ll be bursting with enthusiasm & ready to make it the best it can be.
Now for the bravest move of all… sending your article into the big wide world.
You’ve tweaked, checked & edited until you almost know it word for word – a sure sign it’s time to say farewell. First thing you’ll need to do is ensure you’re submitting your work to the correct person! People change jobs, go on holiday, take sick leave.. yada yada yada. ALWAYS ensure you double check who to send your article too and what their preferred method of receiving it is… email or snail mail? Is there specific submission guidelines? Personally I much prefer picking up the phone and having a quick chat with the team just to confirm any details. I find it much more personable & often it calms my nerves coming off the phone & realising what a friendly bunch they actually are. Honestly, it does wonders for your confidence!
Whatever you do don’t be tempted to include a huge mushy paragraph highlighting the ‘101 reasons why you’ve adored the magazine since you were knee high to a grass-hopper’. It’s not hard to pick up on a bit of buttering up so best sticking to the 3 P’s = Polite, Positive & Professional.
Whether you’ve managed to successfully secure your article for publication (or not) it’s still time to pop those champagne corks… after all you’ve created something to be proud off AND had the Henry-Halls to write, tweak & submit it with
fear hope coursing through your heart. If it hasn’t been accepted this time then that’s okay – really it is! There are many other publications out there who may find it a perfect fit for their readers, so never give up trying just because of one knock-back. Be persistent, perfect your craft, acknowledge constructive criticism, remember your 3 P’s at ALL times & you will get there in the end! Just don’t forget to invite me to your virtual celebration when you do 😉
As always thanks for reading & good luck to all you budding writers out there who are aiming to see your words come to life in your favourite magazines!