Between print magazines and online publications, editors are jonesing for digital stacks of new material to fill their content quotas.
I’ve got you covered with a media lingo cheat sheet. This one’s specifically on magazines.
Keep this cheat sheet handy, A Listers! It will do two important things for you:
1. Knowing what these industry terms mean will help you save time because you’ll know right away which publications to spend time on.
2. You’ll increase your chances of success by approaching the publications that are the best fit for the magic you have to share.
(Yes, I know there is loads of magazine lingo that I haven’t covered here. What I’ve highlighted are the terms that you need to know to research and contact publications. That other stuff is for people who want to work in the magazine/media industry, not us regular folk.)
And now that you’ve got this handy cheat sheet, you can approach editors with article ideas, in just a few easy steps.
Pitch is a term you’ve probably heard often, even if you weren’t quite sure what it meant. A pitch is a communication (email/phone cal/letter/fax) created to deliver a story idea to a member of the media. “The pitch” is sometimes used for the story idea itself, too.
An editor controls the content that goes into the magazine. At some publications, it’s also the person who reviews and edits the copy (the written material) for publication.
An editorial calendar is the listing of planned themes, features and topics for upcoming issues of a magazine or online publication. These calendars are often made available for advertisers (so that ads can be targeted), and may also be made with writers in mind.
Look for an editorial calendar on your targeted publication’s website, either on the writer’s submissions page, or perhaps even on pages targeted toward advertisers. That way, you’ll know what stories or articles to pitch.
A media kit is a multi-page document that magazines use to promote themselves and to sell spots to advertisers. The media kit often includes the editorial calendar, information about the magazine’s readership and circulation. If you can’t find the editorial calendar on the publication’s website, look for the media kit – chances are, the editorial calendar’s included.
A byline is the credit line for the author of a story. It can appear before the story, as typically does in newspapers, or at the end of the story. Important note: when you’re researching publications to pitch or to publish an article, find out if the outlet accepts by-lined articles.
Some publications have a staff of writers and don’t accept contributions. That’s why you should never write your article before you’ve gotten the go-ahead from an editor!
A contributing editor or writer who is not magazine’s staff. It can be a writer who’s work is regularly published in that magazine or an expert in the industry who occasionally shares insights.
A sidebar is portion of a story that is relevant but not necessary to the body of the story, such as data, a glossary, or a deeper explanation of a concept mentioned in the story. Usually it is set apart from the body of the article by a box or screen to make it stand out.
Editors dig these extras, so if you can offer sidebar material with your article, do it!
The masthead is the box that gives contact details of editors, publishers, and senior reporters in each publication’s issue.
Different publishers put this information in different places: often it’s on the first few pages of the magazine, sometime on the contents page and less often, on one of the pages near the back of a magazine.
A magazine’s circulation is the number of copies circulating on an average day, including subscriptions and news stand sales. Circulation is different from readership, which includes the publication’s circulation, multiplied by the average number of people who read each copy. For example, a magazine delivered to an office is often passed around among several people.
Frequency is the the number of times a publication comes out in a period of time, such as daily, weekly, quarterly, etc.
A magazine’s reach is the geographic area of the audience and the number of readers who can access the publication. This is an especially important term to know if you are doing any advertising. Understand that the reach is the potential number of readers, not the actual number of readers.
The word advertorial is a combination of advertisement and editorial (articles.) Advertorials are print advertisements designed to look like articles. As with an ad, the advertiser pays to place the content in the publication. Advertorials aren’t necessarily bad things, but if the publication asks you to place your article as an advertorial, you should know that it won’t be free.
Double down and get that article published! We’re turning your signature into an autograph.