Uncover Your Readers Personality

By: Pamela White

When researching magazines, writers naturally look to the types of articles published and their length, and the number of them that are freelance written. It might serve the writer better to devise a profile of the magazine's readers in order to write for them.

One way to do this is to look at the advertisements in the magazine. Pick up a copy of Family Circle and you'll see ads for cleaning supplies, children's needs, and drugstore make-up.

Just using the above simple clues create a profile of the Family Circle reader:

The ideal reader is female, ages 25 to 45, keeps house without much, if any, help, has children, and cooks time-saving meals.

How will this profile help the writer to win over editors? Magazines spend thousands of dollars researching their readers' profiles in order to sell those very ads at premium prices. The advertising sales staff can point to age and gender demographics, as well as to the income of readers. Someone who earns over $300,000 per year is less likely to spend time reading ads for concentrated, discount toilet bowl cleaners, and a gourmet diner won't be reading articles that offer advice on freezing meals to save time, the best chocolate chip cookie recipes and quick tips for cleaning.

A writer looking to break into Family Circle, or any women's general interest magazine, could assume that an in-depth article on the Cordon Bleu's best stocks and sauces will not grab the reader. This very reader may well pick a magazine from the grocery check out racks whose headlines offer the best foods to boost energy, or a list of sneaky ways to get children to eat more vegetables.

Pick up a copy of Vegetarian Times and skim the ads inside. You are likely to find ads for herbal health products, gourmet vegetarian frozen foods, health equipment, natural clothing, and books to help their readers live the healthiest, happiest lives.

What kind of reader subscribes to this magazine? Based on the ads, it appears that those interested in extremely good health, natural healing, and holistic living are the readers of the magazine's articles.

Write to these readers and the editor will love you for it. Write not about big traditional holiday cookouts but instead about new ways to offer a vegetarian holiday meal with a myriad of flavors and textures. Write about using barley syrup or stevia to make desserts healthier. Share ways for meat eaters to feed their vegetarian children or guests.

Researching magazines can be a monumental task. Writers work hard to match their ideas with a magazine's audience. Make your research work easier by using this trick of creating a profile of the magazine's ideal reader by dissecting the advertisements that are selling their products to the readers you want to entertain and enlighten.

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