Are You Ignoring These Lucrative Article Markets That Are Right in Front of Your Face?
A mentoring client of mine was having trouble figuring out what magazines to pitch on a particular topic.
I said, “I know the perfect magazine for you — it’s called USAA.”
His reply: “Oh, I get that every month in my mailbox! I had never considered it a market.”
Sometimes we writers have blind spots to potential paying markets. Believe it or not, we’re practically bombarded with great markets, but somehow we just don’t see them.
Until you learn — which you eventually will — to keep a sharp eye open for market opportunities everywhere you go, here’s a list of places to check out.
Your Friends’ Houses
Years ago I was at a friend’s house and I noticed a copy of Choices magazine on his coffee table. I took a look and discovered it was a magazine put out by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.
There was only a phone number for the editor, not an email address, so I called and left a voicemail. Five months later, I had an assignment worth $1 per word, and I wrote for them several times before they went under.
Your friends probably go to different stores, banks, doctors, etc. than you do, so they’ll be receiving publications that you don’t normally see.
Think of all the printed material that arrives in your mailbox every day — even the junk mail. Someone is writing those, and it’s often a freelancer!
For example: I was hired by Bay State Gas to write a bill insert — one of those mini brochures selling one of the company’s products that they sent out to customers with their bills.
And then there are the magazines, brochures, and so on that you get from the stores, banks, and insurance companies you use. Yep — these are all potential markets for you!
The Doctor’s Office and the Hospital
It was in my doctor’s waiting room that I discovered a copy of WebMD, which isn’t available on newsstands. I contacted the editor, and after a back-and-forth that actually lasted over a year, I became a regular writer for them and was hired to interview celebs like Vanessa Williams, Kathy Bates, and Denis Leary.
I also noticed a copy of American Baby in a pediatrician’s office — again, a publication that’s not sold on newsstands. I pitched, I succeeded, and I ended up writing several articles for them.
Many hospitals also have their own magazines, often published by custom content companies.
And it doesn’t stop at magazines. Check out how many informational brochures you’ll find from pharmaceutical companies and health organizations in the doctor’s or hospital’s waiting room. Someone is writing those. Why not you?
Not only might your bank have a magazine of its own (for example, Wells Fargo has one), but when you enter the bank you’ll likely find brochures and informational pamphlets about various financial services. Contact the CMO at the bank to pitch your writing services.
Hairdressers often get free subscriptions to all kinds of magazines, and soon their waiting spaces are overflowing with publications.
When I was starting out as a writer, I had a deal with my hairdresser to go there once a month and cart away all the outdated magazines. What a score! I would go there and pick up at least 20 magazines each time, which I would then read and study to see which ones I might like to pitch.
Your Neighbors’ Houses
When I lived in an apartment house in Berkeley, I stuck a note on all my neighbors’ doors asking them to put their unwanted magazines on my doorstep. And they did. I discovered magazines I’d never heard of, right at my front door!
The grocery store boasts an amazing array of publications, many of which are written by freelancers. For example, a friend of mine writes all those brochures you’ll find that have articles about how to put on a kick-butt barbecue or Thanksgiving spread (using the store’s products, of course). These are typically published by a custom content company, and you can often find their contact info right in the publication.
The supermarket’s pharmacy has those small magazine-like health publications. And your grocery store may have a custom publication of its own. For example, Hannaford has Fresh magazine, and Stop & Shop has Healthy Ideas.
Colleges and universities produce a metric buttload of printed materials, from alumni magazines and student brochures to fundraising letters and alumni profiles on their websites. Keep an eye out for these materials from your alma mater and contact the communications or marketing officer and the alumni department to offer your services.
How about you: Where have you found hidden markets? Do you have any tips for our readers? Let us know in the comments below!