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Writing Opportunity: Company magazines

Carol Tice

Earn More from Writing for Company MagazinesEarlier this week, I talked about the opportunities out there now that the economy is finally starting to recover. Today I want to talk about one really cool niche I think few writers even consider that could bump up your earnings: Company magazines.

Many big companies put out magazines. Some are for their own employees. Some are for various segments of their customers.

In some professions, there are magazines they can get customized for their business — you’re looking at an example in healthcare in the photo above. That’s a customized healthcare magazine hospitals are buying a template of, and then inserting a bit of information about their facility and bingo, they’ve got a magazine to send to everyone who lives near the hospital. Somewhere, there’s a company creating that magazine and hiring writers to write those articles.

My experience is company magazines are decent- to very-good-paying markets. In part because the knowledge is a bit specialized, and in part because company magazines are just not considered a sexy, glamour place to write like a national newsstand magazine. They have to pay a bit more usually to get quality talent. They also pay well because often their circulations or viewership is HUGE!

You might be asked to write about a company product or service in your article, but many times I’ve found the requirements are no different from articles I might write for a consumer magazine in the same niche. The company just wants to build customer loyalty by providing useful information for their type of customer.

Note that some of these magazines are online. Corporations including Dell and American Express have huge online magazines, for instance. Many have multiple online magazines for various audiences — for instance, here’s Microsoft’s magazine just for professionals who’re certified in Microsoft software programs, MCP Magazine.

My advice: Any time you’re in a store of any kind, look around at the reading material and see if they put out a magazine. You might just turn up a great new possible market to pitch. If you can’t find a masthead, just contact the company’s corporate communications head and ask who to pitch. If you see a company with an online magazine, do some sleuthing and try to find out who’s in charge. These don’t tend to turn up even in the Writer’s Market and other guides, and they don’t tend to post writer’s guidelines, so you’ll have to be a little enterprising to connect with their editors.

Pitching the magazine of a company you patronize gives you an immediate inside edge — you already know their stores or products and like them!

Here’s some information on just a few company magazines below:

Costco: This is probably one of the best-known company magazines around — Costco Connection has a circulation of 8 million, making it one of the most-read American magazines! You can scan their issues online to get an idea of the content.

American Express OPEN Forum: Their online small-business magazine is one of the most highly regarded business Web sites on the Internet. Highly retweeted. And I don’t just say that because I’ve written a few things for them.

Tractor Supply Co: Out Here. If you live in a rural area, check out the lumber and farm-supply chain Tractor Supply’s high-quality magazine for its customers, which is all about rural life.

Best Buy: @Gamer is a new magazine they’re just launching for their game-buying audience. Word is it launches this month, so be on the lookout.

Have you noticed any interesting company magazines? If so, leave a comment and let us know about them.

Photo via Flickr user pr1001