Friday, September 21, 2007

How To Research a Magazine Article

(Part 2 of Writing For Magazines

The most obvious answer to how you research a magazine article is: read. But what to read exactly? For SEO articles your content can easily be a re-hash of somebody else's - as long as it isn't copied and pasted. For magazine articles you need to come up with something interesting to say.

Reviews and Interviews require straightforward investigation. If it's a product, buy it or see if you can get it free for reviwing it. If it's something expensive like a car, at least go and look at one. Jot down any notes you can.

If you are interviewing a person, you will have to go and speak to them. If you read another interview and think that gives you license to write an interview, it will be picked up by magazine editors. Remember: editors read magazines as part of their job, and they will catch anything that isn't original.

Opinion Pieces probably require the most research work of all magazine writing. If you don't know your facts, you don't have an opinion. If you are writing about current events - even celebrity gossip - you need to be totally on top of exactly what has happened. And don't just read the local papers and watch CNN!

Try to get information from as many sources as possible to try and get a few different perspectives. You are, in effect, writing very recent history. As such you need to make sure your information is accurate and quoteable.

That brings me to quotes - the meat and potatoes of a magazine writer. Whatever you are writing about, get a quote. Get as many quotes as you can, so that you can back up more points in your article. If you can't find the person or one of the people involved, ask an innocent bystander or a relative - just don't come back without a quote.

Unlike SEO articles, writing for magazines will require several pages of notes before you even start. Once you have gathered all of your material, you are ready to start.

Come back tomorrow for tomorrow's post, How to Write Selling Magazine Articles.

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