How to Write for a Business Journal
Writing for a serious publication requires both strong writing skills and a keen understanding of your subject matter. This is doubly true for business writing, because in the business world, time is money and neither can be wasted, so you’re not going to get published if you don’t meet this fundamental prerequisite. There are plenty of business journals out there that you can write for, but it will require time and effort in order to find success.
Understand the difference between magazines and journals. According to the 2007 edition of “Writer’s Market,” consumer magazines have a greater circulation and are intended for a general audience. But trade journals, on the other hand, focus on a particular industry or occupation. Because journals are strongly focused, they require a greater understanding of the issues they report on.
Consider your interests. The number of trade journals out there is staggering. Various editions of "Writer's Market" list business industries like health care, beauty salons, automobiles, engineering, finance, fishing, real estate, pets, and even lumber as having a trade journal. There are a lot of business angles in the world, so think outside the box and look for a journal that focuses on something you would like to write about.
Choose a journal once you settle on an industry and a related topic. Then be sure to read through past issues of the journal and its online contents so you understand the style and structure of the material it publishes.
Study your topic. Remember that business journals are read by insiders and specialists in their respective industries. This means that you’ll need to know what you’re talking about thoroughly if you’re going to get published and reach your intended audience. You don’t necessarily need to be an insider yourself to achieve this, but you’ll need to be able to conduct proper research and perform interviews and then communicate your findings.
Pitch your article topic. This will require more research than you might think, as your pitch will have to demonstrate your knowledge and skill. If the journal you’re pitching to is interested, they will let you know. If not, then you’ve saved yourself a lot of time and trouble writing your article first and then trying to sell it. If a rejection occurs, either find another publication or change your topic.
Conduct proper primary and secondary research once your article is given the green light. Remember that you’ll need to impress insiders who already know about the subject matter you’re dealing with. Successful businesspeople read these publications to further their own knowledge, so you’ll need to provide new information and angles that they haven’t before considered.
Begin writing. Have your information close by and organized, and adhere to your business journal’s in-house styles and rules. Your readers might be looking to further their own business sense, but you’ll still need to hold their attention and even entertain them.
Proofread and edit your work. This goes for all kinds of writing, but it’s worth mentioning. Also consider showing your finished product to outsiders for fresh eyes before sending off your work.
- "2007 Writer's Market"; Robert Lee Brewer; 2006
Steven Surman has been a freelance writer and journalist since 2007. His work has appeared in several magazines, including “The Humanist” and “A&U.” He is also a staff writer for the Broken Frontier website. Surman holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Bloomsburg University.