Studying and Finding Your Ideal Market-Freelance Writing Blueprint Class 3 | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

Studying and Finding Your Ideal Market-Freelance Writing Blueprint Class 3

Susan Palmquist, Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru

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5 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Studying Your Market-Welcome

    • 2. Lesson 2-Do Your Homework

    • 3. Lesson 3-The Ideal Market

    • 4. Lesson 4-More Things To Research

    • 5. Lesson 5-Back Copies


About This Class

This class focuses on finding and studying your ideal market in order to maximize your success rate.

We'll look at keying on on the right publication and how to study it to figure out its readership and how to key in on


what an editor will be looking for when it comes time to pitch your idea to him or her.


1. Studying Your Market-Welcome: hello and welcome to the third installment off my yearlong classes here at skill share that will show you how to be a freelance writer or how to launch a freelance career. So far, we've studied the pros and cons of being a generalised versus a specialist, how to build your portfolio. So even if you don't have any experience on while, you don't need to take those previous classes to, you know, enjoy and get the most out of this one. I really hot, highly recommend that you do follow along on in this installment. I'm going to be focusing on studying your market. Onda. We look at your potential market. Why it's important to do that. What you need to look for a narrowing and refining your topic, ready to pitch to your editor. So let's dive right in and I'll see you in less than one 2. Lesson 2-Do Your Homework: Hello and welcome to Lesson one, and I'm calling this one. Do your homework, because this is where you can lay a lot of the ground work, and it's going to cut down on the time of the learning curve you have for freelance writing on. Also, you'll have a much, much higher rate of success when you do decide to pitch to a publication and send in a query letter to an editor. And most people make this mistake. And it's also true off when you write short stories. In fact, any time you're dealing with a magazine, if you take this approach to studying the market first and then writing after you've studied the publication, it's true Off said freelance writing and short story. So if you do happen to be a short story writer to, then this is good advice to. So what you need to do is research first on right later. And if you don't take anything else away from this particular class, remember that because that's that's going to be the key to our success with freelance writing. So, first of all, pick a magazine. You can maybe get a physical copy down at the newsstand or even go online. I suggest you do both because most publications now to have an online presence, too, and sometimes the content is a little bit different. But you can get an idea of the same thing from both of the the media. So either by the physical copy, put it on your desk, and we're going to go through and see everything there is to know about that publication on . First of all, what I'd like you to do is if they have gotten online presence, which I'm assuming they do is to check if they have writers guidelines. This is often separate category on their website, or it might be how to submit to us or how to contact us on. The first thing to do is to check. Do they even accept submissions? Because some publications are completely closed. Teoh outside freelances. They have their own in line house of writers or a stable of writers that maybe even come through agents. So that's the first thing. Don't waste your time trying to write for a publication that doesn't even accept freelance , you know, work from freelance writers. Andi. Let's check the next section And that's where everything. You've probably seen it, where the editor's name is contributors, owners everything. It's that first page as you you get in. Maybe past the first. Ah, commercials, adverts. If it's on, you know, a website on you want to see if each section has a different editor? Because depending on what kind of story idea you want to pitch well, determine which editor that you need to contact. So that's very important to So while you're going through all these sections, just make a few notes, and then the next thing I want you to do is to actually read the publication several times , but not at a contributor, just purely as a reader. Say, like you've you know, you've been wandering through maybe the supermarket. You've seen this publication thing? Oh, that that looks like something that would interest may sit down and read it as if you're the reader. Don't put out of your mind completely. I'm thinking of contributing to this. Just approach it as you would any other magazine. So once you've done that, I want you to ask yourself, Did you enjoy reading it on? The main thing is, if you know, be honest with yourself of its it was boring or didn't catch your attention. It covers topics that you would find, I don't know, boring to research your you had have no interest in it. My advice would be to move on on, uh, you know, find another one, because you really do have, though I know it's not 100% essential because I've written for publications that I probably wouldn't read. But in the beginning, it's nice to have something that you're going to research and kind of, you know, 100% interest in that. And I think it's gonna be a lot more fun for you, especially, you know, if if it's gonna be a lot of work, I think you have to enjoy. So that's my boy. To go through the magazine as a reader on then, be honest with yourself. If it's something that maybe you'd pick up again, even take a subscription out of If none of those things really resonate with you, then go on and pick another one on. That's it for this lesson. And in the next one, I'm going to tell you how we once you found your ideal magazine. How we're gonna break it down and see everything there is to know about it and be armed with a little The the information that you need. Teoh, pitch the perfect article idea to your editor. So I'll see you then. 3. Lesson 3-The Ideal Market: Hello and welcome back. And hopefully now you've found your ideal magazine, the dream magazine that you'd love to be. See your byline on on DSI your article within its pages. Now, I mentioned in the first lesson that it's very important to research before you write, and how we're going to do that is we're gonna break down everything there is within the cover of that magazine. You'll know it backwards and forwards and everything there is to know before you decide to write for it and decide what to write for it. And you'll get to know their audience like they were your best friend. And you really have to do that because our magazine survives on its readership and its advertising revenue, and you'll see in a minute that those two things are very closely related. So if you can kind of, you know, if I called out a magazine, you should be able to tell me who their readership is. Once you've done this exercise, Onda, we'll go through on. I'll teach you how to do that. So first of all, when you've looked through the magazine and now you're approaching it as a contributor or Ah, you know, potential contributors rather than the Rada. I want you to look through it and, uh, tell me who you think there are. Readership it it Could it be young mothers, seniors, investors? Maybe it's more of a business type publication. Or is it key towards maybe photographers, amateur photographers? It could be a gardening book on. While you're doing all this, I want you to make notes on and you know this will build upon itself on. Then the next thing I want you, Teoh look at is what do you think? The education and income level off the audiences. Oh, are they married? Are they single? And one thing that you can do You might think all this is really Hello. How am I going to find this out? Well, one key of the advertisement on I think this would be true for an online publication to because most of themselves at space Now look at the advertisements. And the thing is, an ad agency has brought and paid for that ad space, and they've done a lot of the work for you, so make sure you know you use their hard work and that the money that they put into this because on ad agency will not place an ad in a publication that isn't key to their clients market. You know, they're not gonna waste the clients market on doing something like that. They want to make sure that there ID hits, although right keys. And you know they've spent maybe thousands of dollars doing that, and you can use that information. So look at the advert. What all day advertising is that? Maybe baby products that tells you it could be, You know, a magazine geared towards mothers, seniors. Maybe it's retirement information. Retirement homes. How to save for retirement. Is it more money related? It could be like I said, Investors move. It's Ah, economics. Ah, photographers. Maybe there's ads for new photography gear software for photographers really kin and see what the ads like in the magazine. And if they're all within the same like, you know, young mothers, maybe it's mill service diapers, that kind of stuff. And you'll also get a nice idea to for their their income level, because, you know, if it isn't an expensive product, maybe it's ah you know, $10,000 watch their advertising that will give you a key to their income level. So while you you know you're looking through this, keep making your notes what they're selling, who they're selling to on, then the next thing to do is to turn back and look at the front cover. Is it a person, or is it a product that gives you kind of an indication on whether they're more? I've always found that if they have people on the front, they're more likely to take. Maybe people profile articles on human interest articles where if it's a product, it's more kind of instructional how to product. And, um, you know what's written on the front? That is it adverts for the the articles that contained within it most of the time it is. And make a note of those What's that telling you? Is it all hell to you know how to retire early hell to, you know, live a long life. All these air key indicators that you know you can match up to what you're trying to sell them on. Then turn the pages. I look at the first few there again, the contributor pay use work, says who the editors are lots of times. Magazines have only in house contributors, so you get a key if you could. You know, you see the same names popping up all the time. It's usually not one where they take a lot of freelances or you might see in brackets, you know, freelance in this addition, the's Airil Keys. And then the next thing I always used to Dio is look at letters to the editors. This could be a huge key to what's going on, you know, even like previously in the magazine. What did they like? Are they telling the editor I love that particular article? If that's the case, then he or she is more likely to one another article on a similar topic or taking a similar approach because he or she knows that their audience loves her. And the editor's job is to please the audience. What didn't they like? You know, editors, sometimes of honest people, and put in letters from people that aren't happy about something they've seen on. That could give you an indication of what not to pitch to him. So these are all things that you make you make notes about and uh, in the next lesson, we're gonna go over a few more things that will give you even more clues off your perfect pitch. So I'll see you then. 4. Lesson 4-More Things To Research: Hello. Welcome back. We're going to move on to more things to study within your ideal magazine. And now we're going to get to the actual what I call the meat and potatoes of the magazine on Another thing to look for is, does it publish fiction and nonfiction and even if it's, ah, you know heavily fiction orientated magazine, Don't ever let that put you off pitching nonfiction ideas because some of my best markets were actually fiction publications and they had some really good nonfiction sections, you know, maybe gardening or cooking. And they turned in to be quite lucrative publications to target. But just be aware off. You know, the mix of fiction and nonfiction and the next thing to look at the actual articles on what's the length of the articles? Are they all near enough the same. Or are there once with just a few paragraphs or ones with? Maybe they go on for four pages, and some of the bigger publications and big markets usually have that Ah, combination at the front of the magazine that shoulder and then abject, it continues on. I get to be the longer four page ones, and I won't get into too much about this now because this is going to be, ah, focus in a upcoming class later in the year. But sometimes you could have a really, um, you know, high circulation, well known magazine. And you can think bullets. That's out of my kind of target at the moment until I get some work experience. But actually, um, I broke into Cem high circulation magazines with pitching The few paragraph kind of articles on got my foot in the door that way. But like I said, we won't get too much into that right now. But I want you to be aware of the length of the articles, and that gives you an indication of maybe you know what you'd like Teoh, what kind of article you'd like to suggest to them? The next thing I want you to do is to look through the articles and kind of get an idea for sentence like length. Um, are they all really long sentences that kind of sound academic, or are they very short sentences? And also get a feel for what type of words they use on? I'm not being, you know, condescending. Hear anything but it's really a good indication off the reading level of your off their readership. And, you know, someone might not be even like they might not be a book reader, but they enjoy magazines and they don't have really a good ah, you know, reading level. They're not happy with reading they, you know, again not being condescending. They don't enjoy reading things with big, complicated words, but they love this, this particular magazine, and that'll give you an indication of what, first of all, what kind of article you need to pitch. And also, if you do get the, uh, you know, the go ahead to write this article from the editor, you'll want to stay within that style. You won't want to hand in something that, you know, sounds like a master's thesis for this magazine. So you really have to, ah, be aware off the actual reading skill level off the potential reader. And if you can do that, you've kind of, you know, the editor knows that you know he's or her market very well and that get put you in good standing straight away on the next thing, I want you to look at when you look through these articles is, does it include outside sources? Experts quote, you know, like Dr So and so from you. So and so University says this is a good idea or, um, you know, they use a lot of outside experts because that will mean that you're probably going to need to do more research if you write for this magazine, because that's what they expect. And you might have toe interview outside sources, which is usually a case. But you can. I've written quite a few where I didn't need to kind of contact experts or get quotes from , like everyday people. But there again, this is something that will be getting more into as we dive into the topic on actually writing your article for upcoming classes. But these are all the things I just want you to be aware of now on and, you know, make the notes, and that's that's about it for studying the actual magazine and all round things up, and I'll see you in the final lesson. See you then 5. Lesson 5-Back Copies: Hello. I'm welcome back. And here we are at the final lesson off this month's installment off the freelance writing blueprint Class Onda. Now that you have your ideal magazine in hand and you made all the notes and keep them handy, what I want you to do is to read as many of the back copies you confined. Maybe you might find them at the library. Someone might have for your neighbor Might have first and back copies that you can use or even online Online is a great resource for back copies now, so you know, you're probably wondering why you have to do that. But the thing is, the more you know about the articles and everything you're going to be almost like you work for the magazine. You're going to know it so well on, uh, one thing I want you to do and this is the final kind of piece of research that you'll need is to make a list of everything but kind of topics have covered in the last six months or a year on the reason I want you to do that, it's because very seldom will on editor a sign a you know, freelance or even in house stuff on a topic that they've covered within that amount of time . Because obviously, readers don't want to see the same topic rehashed over and over again. So you'd be wasting your time if, say, like, they've just written an article on how to plant a herb garden. And that's something that you're about to pitch on. It looks like to that you haven't done your research. And really, editors do like freelances who know their magazine well, So that would be, you know, indication that you don't And you haven't read copies of the microgreens, so read as many back copies as you possibly can and and some of them even have. I think I've seen this online. They have, ah, topic index where you can go through and and see the kind of things that they're covered. And it's also there again, a good, uh, good thing to have in your research are spinoffs up. Well, that's about it for this month, and I thank you very much for joining man. If you've been with May from the January class, thank you very much. I hope you're enjoying it and finding everything helpful on as always. If you have any questions, I'm here for you and just, you know, send me a message. Leave Ah ah, a comment on I'll get back to serve as I can. And I'm always here to help in any way I can. On next month, April's class is going to be on brainstorming ideas that you can pitch to the editor to almost make them. You know, definitely want to, uh, have you as a contributor cell. I'm looking forward to that. And I hope you are too on. In the meantime, take care and happy writing. See you then. Bye.