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.
If 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.
11 Types of Magazine 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
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.
- 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…