How to write a trade magazine article

Certain publications cater to specific industries, such as medicine, computer networking or commercial construction. They publish analyses, trend reports, case studies, profiles and other material of interest to people in those industries. Since magazines are viewed as more objective than newsletters and people keep them longer, their content can reach more people.

Trade magazine articles enable you to position your company or its offerings, educate a target audience, raise awareness of an issue, and generally claim a position as a “thought leader” along with the credibility that goes with such leadership.

To view sample trade magazine articles, click here or type the topic of your choice in the search field at the top right of this page.

Before you write

What makes trade magazine articles different from other types of promotional writing is that you don’t retain full control of the article – the editor of the publication does. That’s why you must address several aspects of the publication you’re targeting:

  • Who is the audience? Read the ads as well as the editorial to understand who the magazine targets and what the readers’ needs are.
  • What does the editor require of writers? What’s the deadline? How long should the piece be? Does the editor expect complete articles or query/pitch letters? What visuals would help you sell the article?
  • What is the best format for your proposed article? Case study? Product buying guide? Industry analysis? Interview?
  • When in doubt, call the editor to discuss your story idea. Think of the editor as a gatekeeper – be straightforward, listen attentively to the editor and tailor your proposed article accordingly to maximize your chances of getting published.
  • You will find the editor’s contact information in the masthead, usually near the front of the magazine or on the publication’s Web site.

Sample structure

Here is a basic structure you can use to organize a trade magazine article:

Body

Create a “logical” order for the topics you want to discuss. Make sure you order your topics to help lead readers to the conclusion you want.

Lead

Make the first paragraph an overview of the article and include something that will draw readers into the rest of the article. If you write the lead after the body, you will have a better idea of what the lead should contain.

Closer

Create a conclusion that follows logically from the opener and body of the article.

Head (optional)

Although many editors write headlines, you may need to provide a five- to ten-word headline for your article. You’ll have a better idea of what the headline should contain if you write it after you write the lead.

Deck (optional)

This blurb sits between the head and the lead. You can write a short paragraph (no more than 25 words) to draw the reader to the article.

Tips

  • Before you begin your article, read other articles about your topic to learn what works and what doesn’t for you as a reader.
  • Explore only one idea per paragraph.
  • Consider inventive structures for your article, such as a how-to service piece, a top-ten list and other ways to make your article stand out.
  • Since you will likely cover several facets of the same topic, lead readers from facet to facet by “linking” each paragraph to the next. For instance, mention a key word, turn of phrase or idea at the beginning of one paragraph that you used at the end of the preceding paragraph.
  • Many publications divide editorial and advertising like certain democracies separate church from state. Even though some publications don’t mind, it is not recommended that you make an advertising purchase conditional on the acceptance of an article.
  • What you submit may differ from what the magazine publishes – articles go through both substantive edits and copy edits.
  • Want to get your article published in consumer magazines? Consider hiring a public relations professional to pitch your idea – editors at consumer publications rarely use “prepared” text from outside writers.

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