What Makes Magazine Writers Successful?

Have you ever noticed that some of the same freelance writers are published in your favorite magazine issue after issue? Have you ever asked yourself why these writers get repeat gigs? Do you ever wonder what it would take for you to be one of these writers?

Writers who are hired to write more articles for the same publication do three things that most freelance writers don’t. They study the market, develop relationships, and over deliver.

1  They study the market

Successful freelance writers carefully study each magazine they want to write for, so they can pitch articles relevant to the magazine’s readership. They understand that by getting to know the magazine’s readers and the types of articles the magazine publishes, they have a better chance of being hired to write for that magazine. They also know that after the editor purchases an article from them, they will have a chance at repeat business from that editor.

Study the last six issues or more of a monthly magazine and the last 12 issues of a quarterly magazine. This will give you a strong knowledge of reader demographics and the types of articles the magazine has recently published. From this, you will know what to pitch and what not to pitch.

2  They develop relationships

The successful freelance writers I know each make it a point to develop an ongoing relationship with each editor they write for. It’s a lot easier to nurture an ongoing relationship than it is to recruit new clients every month. These relationships will serve you well by helping you get multiple writing gigs from the same publications. As a result, you will build a strong client base, so you aren’t in a constant panic to find more work each time you complete an assignment.

Also, in spite of the proliferation of both online and hard copy publishers, the publishing community is still small and editors talk with one another. You never know when an editor may recommend you to another editor. Or an editor may quit one magazine and go to work for another. If you’re one of her favorite writers, she may ask you to come along with her.

3  They over deliver

If you’re writing an article and you can easily add value with a sidebar, graph, or list, go ahead and do it. The key is if you can “easily” create the sidebar, graph, or list. This is a freebie that you’re providing, so it should only take you a few minutes, not hours, to put together. Your editor may not have the space to use it, however, she will remember that you took the time to provide more information.

On several assignments when I’ve tossed in a sidebar or list, my editors have told me that it made their job easier because they needed to fill an empty space on the page and the item I provided fit.

When you do these three things, editors you work with may even seek you out when they’re in a bind and ask you to write a specific article for their readers, which will increase your income.


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