Join Tom Geller for an in-depth discussion in this video Dissecting the publication, part of Writing Articles.
- View Offline
When you write for a publication its previous issues can give you a guidance on tone, style, and all the other matters that will help you create your article. Your job is a little harder if you're writing for a one-off publication, or for one that's just about to publish its first issue. I'll talk about that later in the video. But first, here are some things to look at when a previous issue does exist. First, there are the publication's demographics. Who's reading it? Why are they reading it? As they read, what kinds of ads do they see? You can actually tell a lot about a publication just from its ads.
Next, look for articles like the one that you're going to write, with an eye toward their style and form. Are they broken into sections? How many paragraphs are in each section? How many words are in a typical sentence? How often are sentences interrupted with such things as commas or colons or dashes? These questions are tangential to those of voice and style. Are sentences given from the I point of view--that is the first person--or do they appeal to you and they. Look at how formal the writing is as well as.
Does it use a lot of long or unusual words? Is their industry jargon? Once again, your goal is to match the publication's style. Now, if there's no previous issue, you'll have to answer the same questions of demographics, form, and voice, only the source of your answers will be different. In that case, talk to whoever is managing the publication: the editor, the department manager, a webmaster, or whoever it is that order the peace. In those situations it's a good idea to stay in touch with that person while you're working on the article, just to make sure that you stay on the right track.
But regardless of whether it's a new or an existing publication, you'll have to find just one more thing to make your article really relevant to its readers: an underlying theme. For an example, let's take our article about music education. We might notice that the magazine often covers issues of funding, perhaps because arts teachers have to justify their place in the budget. That is our hook. Studying a publication's demographics, style, and tone will tell us how to write, but finding their underlying theme tells us what to write.
Together they give us the keys to writing an article that both fits the publication and compels people to read it.
In this course, author Tom Geller explores the process of writing articles and publications for businesses large and small. The course begins with a look at the preparation you'll need to do, best ways to find assignments, and smart strategies for determining your article approach. Next, the course dives into techniques you can use to brainstorm angles, research, interview experts, finish a piece, and build your portfolio.
- Adopting technical tools
- Gathering reference materials
- Defining an article
- Finding assignments
- Determining your approach
- Conducting interviews
- Managing revisions
- Following up