How to Analyze a Magazine

analyze a magazineSave yourself time and heartache over rejection. Analyze a magazine first, then submit to those that will be interested in your idea.

Here’s what to look for.

Front Page: design and headlines will help you determine the target audience.

The ads: Who are their advertisers? Read enough of the ads to get a feel for the target audience.

General topics: are the articles about raising children, politics, history, food, religion, etc.?

Articles: you’ll want to look at

  • Length: what is the word count? You can often find that info in writer’s guidelines, but in general are the articles less than one page or longer?
  • Author: who are the authors? Staff, freelancers, professionals (doctors, leaders, etc.)
  • Type: are the articles personal experience, investigation, informative, etc.
  • Lead (also called Lede): what type of lead do most of the articles use? Do they start with narrative, a quote, a question, etc.

Slant: conservative, liberal, etc. What way of life does it promote? What seems to be the magazine’s purpose?

Tone: are the articles intellectual, personable, humorous, uplifting, etc.? (overlaps with slant)

Style of writing: is the language of the articles formal, plain, sophisticated, flashy, etc.? Sentences simple or complex? To help you get a grip on style ask “Would the language of a magazine for scientists sound the same as one for young mothers?” (overlaps with slant and tone)

Target audience: after reviewing the ads and articles you should have a pretty good idea of the sex, age, occupation, income, education, and lifestyle of the reader.

Yes, this all takes time, but it also increases your chances of being accepted when you do submit. Why? Because you are submitting to magazines that accept your topics and you will write that article in their style, tone and slant.

If you have any questions about all this, leave your question in the comments. What magazines do you want to write for?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2013

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