My first job as a writer was with the amazing team at Best Version Media, a company who creates brilliant magazines all over the world for small communities, niche industries and small businesses. I adored my time at BVM because they created a culture there that was perfect for blossoming writers, and filled with amazing people. It was during my time here that I learned about how to write the perfect magazine article, a short, sharp burst of information which, when done correctly, can add great value to the reader. As someone who used to write very different types of pieces, this was a real learning curve for me and I wanted to share with you how you should go about writing a piece like this, either for your blog or for a magazine.
When writing these kinds of pieces you need to be able to tell a story in the shortest time possible. Generally speaking you will have around 500 words to play with, the same length as this article in fact, which as you can see is not a great deal. What that means is that you have no time to develop characters or sub-plots, you need to get to the point as quickly as possible and make sure that every single word counts.
Hooking Them In
A bait and switch technique is about promising one thing and then doing another and in some ways this is what you need to do with a piece like this. The reader think that they are reading some simple musings about a subject but then your responsibility is to hook them in with a call to action, which makes them think about something or forces them to form an opinion. A great magazine article needs to appear simple, yet be able to drag the reader in to what you are discussing.
Given the limitation of words you must ensure that the topic itself is worthwhile as you will not be able to use it to digress across a range of other topics. Before you even put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, you must ask yourself how pertinent the topic really is and ask yourself whether or not you would read it.
Finally you must learn the style that goes with a short piece such as this, it must be snappy and punchy, grabbing the reader in, delivering the info and then letting them go. In order to gain this you should use simple vocabulary and short sentences. Remember that magazines are considered to be light reading, which is why you shouldn’t weigh the reader down in hard to understand writing or anything which requires a deep amount of thought from the reader. When you achieve this writing style you can apply it to just about any kind of article that you wish to write going forward.
Get the topic right, keep the piece light and punchy and you will soon be pumping out some great content.