While reviewing pitches from freelance contributors can be an efficient way of discovering new talent, a magazine editor may also benefit from reviewing completed content for their magazine. Considering fully-written content allows editors to accept a greater range of content and file formats and can be particularly helpful for magazines with a specialized focus. Finding a solid group of recurring freelancers can yield completed stories with fresh ideas that you don’t need to spend as much time tinkering with.
Range of Content
Accepting completed content from freelancers opens up the options for the types of content editors can receive. It’s not easy to pitch an illustrated article, a graphic, a photo, or a video, for example—or any combination of these. By accepting completed content from contributors, editors will have a full range of different types of content and file formats to consider. Having a steady source of videos, graphics, and short articles can enhance a magazine’s offerings—either in print, in a newsletter, or as web-exclusive content for a magazine’s online presence.
Sometimes strong pitches from writers with lots of big-name bylines can result in a poorly-written content. Reviewing completed pieces can save editors the headache of working on multiple rounds of edits to get a piece up to standard. While it can be more time consuming to review full-length content, accepting on-spec writing can be a great way to assess a writer’s skill and knowledge of your magazine. Even reading the first page or two can give you a more accurate impression of writing strength, voice, and story.
Time and Scheduling
Once you have established a working relationship with a number of freelance writers, taking on-spec work from them will free up some of your time. When you know the quality of a writer’s research, reporting, and writing, you can be confident that most of their pieces will be good ones. Not to mention that having full content (and knowing what edits need to be made) can help you plan an editorial calendar more securely than waiting on pitched pieces to arrive, in whatever state they might. Many accepted pitches, even the best ideas, never become completed content for whatever reason. Accepting finished articles can help protect your publication’s release schedule.
Images will always capture a reader’s attention first so it’s important for editors to ensure that they have a large selection of photos, illustrations, and graphics that dovetail with an issue’s theme or with a specific article. Accepting completed content from freelance photographers, artists, videographers, and graphic designers will help you curate a robust collection of images to enhance your magazine, website, and social media. You might also consider running a contest for images—this can be a great way to find new artists and generate more buzz for your publication.
Soliciting advertisements from companies whose products and services align with your magazine’s can be a great reason for accepting completed content. Since advertisements often include a mix of images, text, and graphics, editors will need to see the whole message to be able to assess an ad’s fit with the magazine.
Letters to the Editor
Magazine staff members often utilize social media to find comments, insights, and critiques relevant to a magazine’s previous issue. While this can be a good way to fill your Letters to the Editor page, soliciting full letters off social media, or through other networks, will help you retain depth in this section. When readers are engaged with the writing and images in an issue, inviting them to write a thoughtful response can be a good way to maintain a dialogue with the people who support your work.
When staff writers are covering the stories in the print version of a magazine, accepting completed content from freelancers for your website can ensure that you are offering different writing to keep your readers engaged on all platforms. Since online content such as blog posts or interviews are often short, reviewing a full piece can be the easiest way to assess voice and style.
Narrowing the Pool
It is an unavoidable fact that full pieces take more time to read. For magazines with a broad, general readership, reading through thousands of long articles is impossible. But for magazine’s with a narrow focus or specialized readership, accepting completed content can be the best way to find new writers and to fill your pages with unique content that speaks directly to the readers who are a part of your community.
To learn about how Submittable can serve your call for magazine content, please reach out anytime.