On this page:
“Why [does] your article matter, who will want to read it, and why [do] you feel compelled to write it.”
An article is a piece of writing which can give either a balanced view or a specific standpoint on a particular topic.
You have probably read many magazine articles before now. You may be a music fan who likes to read about your favourite musicians, or you might have an interest in business and economics, so you read weekly articles about the financial world. Magazine articles are written for specific publications, therefore written for specific readers. How you write will depend on your article's topic and purpose.
Why are you writing your article, is it to inform, persuade, or effect change?
Depending on its purpose and target audience, the language used in an article may either be very direct and informative, or poetic to create a sense of its topic.
For example, an article about a recent film release would include details about actors, the script, and performances. It may also include the writer’s opinions if it’s more like a review/critique. However, these will be informed opinions using references from the current release, but also further reading and research.
A magazine article can be conversational, how formal or informal your work is will depend on your audience. A conversational tone will make the article livelier and the reader more engaged.
Before you start writing you want to familiarise yourself with the structure of magazine articles. Look at those on similar topics of your own, or in the same field i.e. business, film, health, environment etc.
Have in mind how you want your article to look by planning it out beforehand, be that visually or as a list in a word document/your notebook. It's design may change as you begin your writing process, but having a visual representation of the article will help you structure your work.
Here is the basic anatomy of a magazine article:
Headline - A snappy heading to grab people’s attention and entice them into reading further.
By-line - Your name(s).
Body - The basic text of the article, but break this up with subheadings and pull quotes (short sections of your article pulled out and repeated in bigger text to grab attention).
It should also include related images, diagrams, charts etc, which will illustrate and strengthen your points, especially if the images are shocking/surprising.
You have a lot of flexibility in design.
- Text is usually in columns which shortens the line length making is more readable and accessible.
- There will always be images. Make sure they are not too big or too small, they are just right. Images should be captioned and have alt-text.
- Pull quotes should stand out and be cited.
- You may wish to start sections with 'kicker paragraphs' which are often emboldened or in a different text colour. This makes them stand and anyone scanning the article will be drawn to them. Make sure they contain the important information you want to emphasise.
Do have a snappy headline that grabs the reader’s attention.
Do be timely. Write about recent events that are relevant.
Do be sensitive with your language. You can still shock/surprise people whilst using sensitive language.
Do be critical depending on your topic.
Do use visual elements.
Do format and structure your article correctly.
Don't have a confusing headline.
Don't write about irrelevant and outdated topics.
Don't use profanities and insulting/discriminatory language.
Don't be disrespectful if critiquing something/one.
Don't use too many visuals as it may leave you with less space for text.