Web Writing That Works!

           A Project of
           The Communication Circle

Guidelines Rants Patterns Poems Services Classes Press Blog Resources About Us Site Map

HomeResources > So you wannabe a web writer or editor > Finding a market for your articles            


 

 

To create a rough list of targets

To focus on the best targets

Bookmark the guidelines

Exploring the writing at a potential market

Toward a query

Making your pitch

Finding a market for your articles

When looking for new markets, consider specific editors or departments at magazines, webzines, newsletters, or sites that concentrate on subjects you are interested in, or address audiences that you know well.

To create a rough list of targets

1. What topics do I want to write about?

  • Subjects I have written about before

  • Subjects I am interested in, and would like to know more about

  • Subjects that I think would be hot over the next few years, and I can stand writing about

  • Subjects that appeal to an audience I know well, or want to address

2. What magazines, webzines, newsletters, or sites concentrate on subjects I am interested in?

3. What magazines, webzines, newsletters, or sites address audiences that I know well?

  • I have written for them before.

  • I am, more or less, a member of one of these audiences.

  • I have studied this audience.

  • I want to reach this audience.

Resources

Advice on web writing and editing

Finding a job as a web writer or editor

Become a pro (PDF, 998K, or about 18 minutes at 56K)

 

To focus on the best targets

Which pay best?

  • Get a general impression of the amount of cash by checking the number of pages, and the number and variety of ads.

  • Consult Writer's Market, discussion lists for writers in that area.

  • The better the pay, the stiffer the competition. In fact, at some of the premier locations, the door is closed to freelancers, unless you know an editor who likes your work.

Which are open to freelancers?

  • Compare bylines with the masthead (list of staffers).

  • Look at the range of departments, and the sheer number of contributors. The more volume, the more likely that there are some niches into which you can creep.

Which carry articles that I like?

  • If you think you could do better, ask yourself: am I too arrogant, or out of it, to write for these folks? Or is this just an easy target, worth exploiting?

  • If you think you do almost as well, and would like to compete at this level, go for it. You have found a worthy target.

  • Which would I be proud to publish in?

Bookmark the guidelines

Editorial guidelines (if any) to discover:

  • Who their audience is

  • What tone they look for

  • What departments are open to freelancers

  • How much they pay (their absolute minimum, if mentioned at all).

  • How to submit a query

  • Masthead (the list of editors, with names, departments, and email addresses, if you are lucky)

  • Articles that seem typical for a department or section

Exploring the writing at a potential market

Name of market:

What are the major sections or departments that you would like to write for, or could write for?

For each department

  • What's the average length of each piece?

  • Are they signed?

  • If so, are the writers freelancers?

  • Or are the writers members of the staff? (Check bio and masthead).

What's an article that I wish I had written?

What's the tone?

  • What does this suggest about the persona of the writer, ie, what is the writer's assumed relationship with the audience?
     

What's the topic?

  1. How does this topic fit into a series of issues?
    Is the editor following a theme?

  2. What could I add to this set of articles?

  3. How does the topic serve the audience? What does this suggest about the persona of the writer, ie, what is the writer's assumed relationship with the audience?
     

What's the level of detail?

  • Beginning, intermediate, or expert?
  • Are there a lot of anecdotes?

  • Are there a lot of quotes?

  • Are the details predominantly factoids?

How personal is the writing?

  1. Is this highly charged, or lowkey?

  2. Does the writer tell personal stories?
    Is the tone neutral, objective, or corporate-or is there a personal voice?

What else do I have to provide, beside text?

  1. Are there photos by the author?

  2. Are there links embedded in the text?

  3. Is there a sidebar with a list of links?

  4. Is there an audio soundbyte?

  5. Is there a video?

  6. Is there an interactive experience?

  7. To what extent does the site want authors to provoke discussion?

  8. Do authors sometimes participate in moderated chats?

Toward a query

  • What are topics that this editor, in this department, would find interesting?

  • Create titles that sound just like those in the target.

  • Create an elevator pitch for each one (a sentence or two, equivalent of the hook at the beginning of the article, showing why this audience would be interested).

  • What's the tone I should demonstrate when I write my query?

  • What earlier articles should I mention as "like" what I propose?

  • How long will each piece be?

Making your pitch

  • Write to the right editor (the one who handles this department, or this type of piece).

  • Make your lead like the leads in their best articles.
    In the first paragraph, say you are proposing an article:

  • Give the word count.

  • Put the title in early.

  • Mention the department you are targeting, if any.

  • Show how this piece continues a theme of theirs, while moving it forward to some area they have not yet explored.

  • Give with the details: drop statistics, quotes, names, numbers. (2-3 paragraphs, max).

  • Pitch yourself: why are you the perfect writer for this piece? (1 paragraph).

  • Sign off with all your contact info. (Phone, email, website, street address).

Wait two weeks. If you have not heard anything, adapt the query for the next best target.

 

Home | Guidelines | Rants | Patterns | Poems | Services | Classes | Press | Blog |
Resources | About Us | Site Map

Web Writing that Works!
http://www.WebWritingThatWorks.com
  2004 Jonathan and Lisa Price
The Communication Circle
Discuss at HotText@yahoogroups.com
Email us directly at ThePrices@ThePrices.com
Order Hot Text (the book) from Amazon