How to Get an Article Published in a Magazine or Newspaper
The publishing landscape can be a confusing place, and you might be wondering how to get an article published. While getting published is challenging, it isn’t impossible (and you shouldn’t let the challenge put you off!). This blog post outlines the reasons why you should get your article published and how to submit it for publication.
Why Should You Get Your Work Published?
As a new freelance writer, there are many benefits to getting your writing published in a magazine or newspaper. These include:
Improving Your Writing
Submitting and publishing articles in professional publications will help you become a better writer. It’s unlikely that your writing will be accepted the first time you submit, so you’ll have to learn how to incorporate editor feedback into your next draft. But each time you submit a piece of writing, you’ll gain insight into the process and discover what constitutes good writing. Moreover, you’ll learn how to accept criticism and handle rejection, which will ultimately make you a better writer.
Building Your Portfolio
Many larger publications require their writers to have demonstrable publication experience in the form of a writing portfolio. Publishing an article in a magazine or newspaper will help you build your portfolio and demonstrate your skills and experience. The more impressive your portfolio, the more likely you are to be accepted by respectable publications.
Establishing Yourself as an Expert
If you regularly write and publish articles in a certain niche or industry, your reputation as an expert on that topic will grow. Many articles include a byline (a line telling readers who wrote the piece of content) – so it’s a great way to get your name out there, build credibility, and develop a readership that trusts your opinions. Potential clients will be more likely to reach out to you with writing opportunities when you’ve established yourself as an expert.
Boosting Your Confidence
Getting anything published today is a challenge, so succeeding is a great confidence booster. Receiving rejections is a normal part of a writing career. Though it can be disheartening to receive rejections on writing you’ve worked hard on, publishing feels very validating and can spur you on to create more content.
How to Submit an Article for Publication
Now that you know the benefits of publishing your writing, here are five steps to submit an article for publication:
1. Choose a Niche
You probably already have a good idea of what you want to write about. But if not, it’s wise to choose a niche before you start. Consider topics you’re passionate about or have firsthand experience in. If you enjoy your niche, the work will be much easier to focus on!
By honing in on a niche, you can direct your attention to learning as much as possible in that area. Examples of what you can research for your chosen niche include typical language, jargon, tone of voice, preferred formats, and credible sources of information. This will help you market yourself as an expert in your niche to build a loyal audience interested in that topic.
Your niche doesn’t have to be extremely specialized, but it also shouldn’t be so broad that you won’t be recognized as an expert in your topic. For example, your niche might be travel writing, but it doesn’t have to be limited to a specific location or type of travel.
2. Research Publications
Once you have chosen your niche, you can begin to research the publications you want to approach (this is a lot easier once you know what you’ll be writing about). While it may be tempting to target the big names in that niche, don’t forget about the smaller ones, especially if you are just starting out. Starting small is a great way to build your confidence and portfolio so you are more attractive to bigger publications when it comes time to pitch to them.
3. Draft a Pitch
Most publications have a submission process, and it’s vital that you follow their instructions to stand a chance of having them publish your article. Most will have a submission page on their website, which will include submission instructions and details on the kind of content they are looking for. For instance, Business Insider provides specific contact details depending on the type of content you’re looking to contribute. If a publication states that it is not open to submissions, don’t ignore that and submit anyway! You could harm your chances of getting to work with them in the future.
Some publications may ask you to provide an elevator pitch or query letter alongside your submission. This sounds more complicated than it actually is. Essentially, it consists of a short bio about you as a writer and some details on the content you’re submitting. It’s worth taking your time with this to make sure you accurately and professionally represent yourself and your writing.
4. Polish Your Article
While waiting to hear back from the publication, make sure your article is the best it can be. If nothing else, proofread your work for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, as these can look careless and may deter the publisher from working with you. You want to put your best foot forward every time you approach a publisher; you want to be known for your quality and professionalism.
Now comes the most nerve-wracking part of the process: hitting submit. There’s nothing more you can do, so take a break, work on a new project, or do something else you love. Don’t sit by your computer waiting for an email! As tempting as it might be, the submission process takes time.
If you don’t hear back after a week or two, it’s a good idea to send a polite follow-up email. Most publications receive a large number of submissions, so there is no harm in sending a reminder.
Becoming A Freelance Writer
If you’d like more information about how to write and submit an article for publication, why not check out our course, Becoming A Freelance Writer? It takes you through the process of writing an article from start to finish and building your business as a freelance writer. If you’re unsure this course is for you, you can try it for free.