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Advanced Article Marketing: Getting Into Magazines

A high-profile distribution outlet for your articles

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Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce
September 13, 2007

Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce
Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce are graduates of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Journalism with a background in Internet marketing and writing for the Web. They currently provide PR services at Xeal Precision Marketing. Sign up to get crucial Internet marketing tips at Xeal's free Thursday webinar.
Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce has written 9 articles for WebKnowHow.
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With article marketing, you may be focused on getting your articles into directories and databases on the Internet. However, you may be overlooking an excellent potential market for you articles: magazines.

Now, getting an article that's been previously published online into a magazine might not be possible. However, if you think you can expand an article you've written to make it substantially different, then chances are good that you'll be able to pitch it to a magazine. But first, you have to get it to the editor and you have to convince them that their readers will revolt unless your article goes in the first available issue.

These tips work equally well for both print and online magazines. Both are excellent places to seek publication, and you'll also have the ability to put "Published in (Insert Name Here) Magazine" on your site.

First...read the magazine

Hopefully, you've targeted your piece to a specific audience, and you're looking for a magazine that targets the same audience. The first thing you need to do is read the magazine. Not only will this give you a better idea of the magazine's tone and audience than just looking at the title and description, but you'll also find out if any similar articles have appeared recently.

Writer's guidelines are your friend

Most, if not all, magazines will have their writer's guidelines posted on their website. That is where you need to look first. Look for information on the kind of articles they accept, article lengths, issue themes and deadlines.

If you're planning on sending out multiple queries, make notes of magazines that accept simultaneous submissions. Few things irritate editors more than when somebody sends them a query letter or email without having even looked at magazine or the writer's guidelines.

Tread lightly in uncharted territory

If there are no writer’s guidelines available, you should first email to ask if they accept guest articles for the publication. This initial email also provides a good way to establishing first contact with a real human editor. Be extremely courteous in all your dealings with magazine staff. These contacts can prove invaluable when you later send your actual query.  

Choose your contact carefully

While you may feel the urge to send your article to the top dog of the publication, this is often not the best course of action. The chief editor is rarely the best person to contact regarding your article. They are by far the busiest person on staff, and the most likely to lose your precious query letter.

Instead, look for an assistant editor, associate editor, or a designated editorial contact. This information can usually be found on the About Us or Contact pages, or in the masthead of the magazine.

Convince them your article is perfect for them

Editors are in the business of publishing useful, interesting content for their readers. Pitch your article on these terms. Think in terms of what their audience wants, and explain why they would be interested in your article. This will put you ahead of 90% of the spam articles they receive on a daily basis.

If possible, you should also convince them of your skills and credentials as an author or expert in this subject. If you have won awards, or have a long track record in the industry, mention it. It would also be a good idea to mention previous publications that have featured your work. A list of previous publications goes a long way towards establishing credibility in the eyes of publishers.

Don’t go overboard

Most query letters should be short and to the point. Editors are busy people, and you will do well to get your point across without wasting their time. Explain your topic and how you’re covering it in one paragraph; add another paragraph for your author credentials (if you have credentials); and exit gracefully.

Re-using your article

You’ve gone to all the trouble of researching a topic and writing your article. Why not get the best return possible on your hard work? Once you’ve sent your initial queries and gained a few publications, take another look at your article. Is there another audience who would be interested in the information? For example, if you write a piece discussing training tips for the industrial industry, the same basic information might be useful in crafting a healthcare training tips article.

You'd be surprised at what expert author status can do for your credibility in the business world. For example, would you rather work with Generic Company Inc. or an industry expert with a stack of publications to back up their claims of success? Taking the time to demonstrate your knowledge helps convince customers to choose you over the competition.

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