11 Kinds of Magazine Articles You Can Write

little girl looking through paper towel roll

Are you looking for ideas?

Writing magazine articles is a good way to bring in steady extra income while you work on your book. But do you struggle to find ideas?

Let the following list of 11 types of articles you can write serve as a springboard. Each type has it own requirements and purposes.

If you are a regular subscriber of one or two specific periodicals, consider how their articles fit into the following categories. Then think about whether you can write an article that will fit and begin to develop your ideas.

  • The Devotional Article helps readers understand a biblical principle by applying a passage of Scripture to a life example. Devotionals are often short pieces of 300 words or less, but there are markets that accept longer readings.
  • The How-To Article is self-explanatory. There are niche magazines for every subject imaginable.
  • Inspirational articles are often based on personal experience (someone’s, if not yours), and inspire the reader. Think Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guidepost.
  • The True Adventure article is a true story about someone’s adventure. My story “Run the Rapids with Joy,” which appeared in The Vision several years ago, is about my personal experience whitewater rafting and the lesson I learned from it.
  • Seasonal articles. Timing is critical with seasonal articles because print magazines work 3-6 months ahead of the season. If a magazine takes this type of article be sure to note the lead time they require. Online articles won’t require the same amount of lead time, but may still require more than the usual.
  • The Humorous Article, think Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, and Patsy Clairmont.
  • The Personality Profile. Celebrities exist from the local to international level. Think about leaders in business, sports, non-profit organizations, and the academic world as well as those celebrities in music and movies. Local, regional, and trade periodicals are a good market.
  • The Expository Article expounds on its topic.
  • The Feature Article is the bread and butter of most magazines and can be expository, descriptive, or narrative. These articles often read more like stories and are the longest articles in the magazine. They are most often written on assignment only, so query the magazine with your idea before you spend time writing it.
  • The Investigative Article exposes the truth.
  • The Argumentative Article argues a position.

Consider each category and brainstorm several ideas for each. I sometimes flip through the pages of the Writer’s Market Guide to help me brainstorm. Write down your ideas in a notebook or on your computer.

Pick several and develop them enough to be able to query potential markets. Once your idea is accepted, then you write it. Be sure to know how long it will take to write because you’ll need to provide the periodical editor with that information.

Once you’ve sold and written the first idea, go back to your list and pick another idea to develop. That way, you’ve always got ideas in the works and sales coming in on a regular basis.

I keep an idea book so when ideas strike me in the middle of another task, I can write it down and then go back to what I was doing. That way I’ve captured the idea without completely interrupting whatever I was working on.

This post is a rework of one that originally appeared in 2013.

Related articles:
How to Analyze a Magazine

Want to get published but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you have a finished manuscript or just an idea stuck in your head. Email me today at Deb [at] DebraLButterfield [dot] com, and let's discuss how I can help you reach your dream of publication.


  1. I write life event poetry and I’ve yet to find a place to submit my poetry writings. Do you have suggestions?

%d bloggers like this: