Aug 052008
 

Here are 11 examples of different types of articles to write for magazines – including round ups, profiles, and “how to” articles. Perfect for freelance writers who need to spark their creativity and get more article assignments.

11 Types of Magazine Articles to Write for MagazinesIf you’re serious about writing for magazines, get a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine. The more you soak up writing – including the business of writing – the easier it’ll be to get familiar with the types of magazine articles you can write for magazines.

Here’s a tip from Natalie Goldberg about writing discipline – because having the discipline to write is the key to a successful writing career. “I hear people say they’re going to write. I ask, when? They give me vague statements,” writes Goldberg in Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft. “Indefinite plans get dubious results.”

Have you made a specific plan for your writing goals? If not, now’s the time.

Help for Writers and Bloggers

In 75 Tips for Making Money Blogging, I share how I've been making money blogging since 2008.

Do you want to be a writer - but you can't quite seem to "get there"?
73 Tips for Firing Up (or Just Firing!) the Muse.

11 Types of Magazine Articles

How-to Articles:

  • Make a rousing promise of success
  • Describe what you need in easy to follow instructions
  • Give step-by-step directions (sometimes with subtitles)
  • Include shortcomings or warnings
  • Tell how to locate supplies
  • Give proofs and promises
  • Make referrals to other sources

The How-to Article. Examples of the how to article are: “How to Write Articles for Magazines” or “How Freelance Writers Earn a $100,000 Every Year” or “How to Think Like an Editor – 8 Tips for Writers.” How to articles are my favorite type of feature articles — they simply tell readers how to do something.

Profile and Interview Articles:

  • Have different definitions. In a profile, you use additional sources, such as friends, family, kids, neighbors, colleagues. In a profile, you interview the source him or herself.
  • Can have a theme or focus.
  • Can be presented as a “Q & A” or a written article.
  • Require strong interviewing skills for the “best” information

The Profile or the Interview. Examples of profiles or interview articles are: “The Real Natalie Goldberg and Her Real Writing Career” or “Anne Lamott Shares Her Secrets for Writing Different Types of Magazine Articles.” Profiles and interview are two different types of magazine articles to write.

Informative or Service Articles:

  • Focus on one unique aspect, or the “handle”
  • Describe what-to, how-to, when-to, why-to, etc.
  • Answer the journalist’s who, what, when, where, why, and how questions
  • Can end with a “how-to” piece as a sidebar

The Informative or Service Article. Examples of this type of magazine article include: “How to Write Query Letters for Magazines” or “When to Find an Agent for Your Book” or “11 Types of Magazine Articles to Write for Magazines.”

The Exposé:

  • Shocks or surprises readers
  • Includes statistics, quotes, anecdotes
  • Can range from how extension cords can kill to new info on Watergate

The Exposé. Examples of an expose magazine article are: “Stephen King’s Ghostwriter Reveals Secret Writing Career” or “95% of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing is From a Ghostwriter!” Those aren’t actual feature articles — an expose is simply a type of magazine article.

Human Interest Magazine Articles:

  • Usually start with an anecdote
  • Are often chronologically organized

The Human Interest article. Examples of human interest magazine articles are: “Anne Lamott Share Her Experience as a Single Working Writer” or “Mark Twain’s Great-Grandaughter Finds Her Writing Niche.” This type of feature article interests the majority of readers of a particular magazine.

Essay or Opinion Articles:

  • Usually revolve around an important or timely subject (if they’re to be published in a newspaper or “serious” magazine)
  • Are harder to sell if you’re an unknown or unpublished writer
  • Can be found on blogs all over the internet!

The Essay or Opinion Piece. Examples of this type of magazine article are: “What I Think of Natalie Goldberg’s Decision to Retire From Her Writing Career” or “Anne Lamott’s Writing Mistakes.”

If you have no ideas so you’re freaking out about these types of magazine articles, read How to Write When You Have No Ideas.

Humor or Satire Articles:

  • Usually have a specific audience, such as the readers of The Onion
  • Are usually written on spec (that is, you submit the whole article before the editors or publishers will accept it)

Humor or Satire (the most difficult types of magazines articles to write). Examples of humor or satire include:  “Ode to Stephen King’s Typewriter” or “What Margaret Laurence Ate the Day She Started Writing Articles for Magazines.”

Inspirational Magazine Articles:

  • Describe how to feel good or how to do good things
  • Can describe how to feel good about yourself – this type of article can work for anyone from writers to plumbers to pilots
  • Offer a moral message
  • Focus on the inspirational point

The Inspirational Article. Examples of inspirational articles are: “How You Can Change the World With Your Writing Career” or “13 Tips to Improve Your Writing Confidence.” This is probably my second most favorite type of feature article to write.

Historical Articles:

  • Reveal events of interest to millions (which means at least one of my examples wouldn’t work as this type of article)
  • Focus on a single aspect of the subject
  • Are organized chronologically
  • Tell readers something new
  • Go beyond history to make a current connection

The Historical Article. Examples of this type of magazine article include: “The Typewriter Mark Twain First Used” or “How Freelance Writers Submitted Articles Before Typewriters Were Invented.”

types of articles

11 Types of Magazine Articles to Write for Magazines” image by Laurie

Round-Up Magazine Articles:

  • Gather a collection from many sources
  • Focus on one theme
  • Offer quotations, opinions, statistics, research studies, anecdotes, recipes, etc.

The Round-Up (one of my favorite types of magazine articles to write). Examples of round up articles are: “12 Fiction Writing Tips From Authors and Editors” or “1,001 Types of Articles to Write for Magazines.” This is my favorite article to write because I can squeeze in lots of information in 1,000 words.

Research Shorts:

  • Describe current scientific information
  • Are usually less than 250 words long
  • Are often written on spec (at least by me)
  • Are fast, effective ways to earn money as a freelance writer – if you can find the right markets

Research Shorts for the “Front of the Book.” Examples of front of the book articles for magazines include: “How Alliteration Affects Your Memory” or “What Anne Lamott’s Writing Does to Your Brain Waves.” Shorts aren’t really a type of magazine article, but they’re a great way to get your foot in the door and learn what articles editors will pay to publish.

If you’re wondering whether you can earn money as a freelance writer, read 6 Tips for Living Off the Feast and Famine of Freelance Writing.

And if you have any thoughts or questions about writing these types of feature articles, please comment below…

  16 Responses to “11 Types of Articles to Write for Magazines”

  1. Thank you for your comments! I hope this list of the different types of articles to write for magazines was helpful. I always tend to write feature articles, and forget about the value of shorts and other types of articles.

  2. I finally found inspiration, thanks to your invaluable work. I must admit i was stuck in my second assignment of my creative writing distance learning course from Writers bureau UK. I reside in Nairobi, Kenya

  3. Thank for you for this extensive list. I have a couple of magazines that I’d like to pitch. These will come in handy.

  4. Thanks for your good work.I have really benefited in my research.Iam an up-coming journalist student at Mt Kenya university in Thika.Keep it up!

  5. Thanks for your comments, Phoebe! I’ve been to Thika, in Kenya :-) I lived in Nairobi for three years, teaching at Rosslyn Academy. My close friend went to church in Thika, and I went with her a couple times. Thika sorta scared me a little, but my friend was totally at home there.

    Good like with your writing and journalism career!

  6. Writing feature articles is one of my favourite unit so far in journalism and mass media.Reading your work has helped me move a step ahead

  7. its great work that you are doing.I have learnt alot from you

  8. Thanks for your comment; I appreciate it! I taught feature and magazine writing to high school students, and wish I had this information back then. :-)

  9. I’v bn teaching feature & magazine article writing for some time now, but I find your post quite insightful.
    Kudos.

  10. Chicago Blogger, I’m glad this article is helpful, and appreciate your feedback! :-)
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..Starting a Magazine Writing Career – How to Make Money as a Freelancer =-.

  11. This post is a good resource for brainstorming ideas for new articles… quite helpful. thanks!
    .-= Chicago Blogger´s last blog post ..Training for Feature Writing =-.

  12. My dream is to write a feature magazine article that is on the front cover of Oprah Magazine. Thanks for this writing information, because it helped me figure out what type of article to write!

    Ellie C.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sarah — and I love the title of your last blog post.
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Quips and Tips From J.K. Rowling =-.

  14. Thanks for the great article! It’s sooo helpful and informative.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog post ..Write Often = Write Well =-.

  15. Thanks for your comment, Lisa — I appreciate the specific, positive feedback!
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..8 Different Tips for Promoting Your Blog =-.

  16. Great post! Thanks for the information, very helpful. Btw, I discovered your site and blog last week and I’m quite impressed. Love the clarity and forthrightness in everything you write. It is appreciated!
    .-= Lisa (lablady)´s last blog post ..The Importance Of Laughter =-.

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