When wanting to start an online writing career it is very important to get the right amount of experience. A lot of magazines and newspapers would want you to be able to show a portfolio, if not of analog writings, a portfolio of digital ones. One way of starting to build your portfolio is by writing for free for online magazines. But how do you apply? Will you be good enough and what should you write about?
How to become an online journalist
First of all you have to look up some online magazines or blogs you want to be a part of. It is not as hard as you think it might be. In this case, google really is your friend! Try to type in some keywords that are connected to the genre of magazine or the subculture you want to write for and see what the search engine comes up with.
When you have found an online magazine you want to write for, try to have a look if they accept submissions. Most online magazines that will accept submissions will put this in the upper menu, in the footer or at their contact page. If they are not having any submissions at the moment or if you can’t find any submission page, try to mail them on the website or look for an email address.
Most online magazines do not require you to send in a CV. They appreciate a good cover letter and one or two pieces of well written content.
Writing articles as an online journalist
Most online magazines will have built up relationships with publishers, press agencies, labels, companies etc. This means that they will have events, review copies and news for you to write about. Most online magazines will distribute lists of all events, review materials and news topics that people can write about. Articles almost always have to be delivered within a two week time span while news topics are required to be online within 24 hours or less.
The perks of being an online journalist
There are many perks of being an online journalist. Although you might not be paid at first and it might take a while to build an impressive portfolio, you get to meet interesting people, go to awesome events and get an enormous amount of freebies. When I used to be a music journalist every week I would be able to choose the CD’s I wanted to review and a week later i had the digital files or the CD’s in my mail box. Whenever there was a festival or a concert I wanted to go to I was able to apply and in my top days I went to three or four concerts a week. I have met my heroes, I went to the pub with people I have been a fan of since my teenage years and had the time of my life backstage of my favorite festivals.
But not only music journalists get to have these awesome perks, people who write for movie magazines can go to movies, get free movie copies and are able to interview actors and as for instance a journalist for a beauty magazine you get asked to attend a whole bunch of awesome press events and even get to review beauty products.
Starting your own magazine
Starting your own online magazine is not as hard as it sounds. The only three things you need are a website, people to write and a lot of time.
The first thing you want to do is to make a website. Do not settle for a wordpress site ( with this I mean something like www.thenameofyourmagazine.wordpress.com ) but try to get your own .com url and a site to match it. WordPress is overall the easiest one, especially when it comes to SEO and linkbuilding.
Second of all you will want people to write articles. You can’t do it all on your own. Try to place some ads on websites, put up a page on your magazine or even try to recruit some friends. One very important thing is to keep yourself to high standards. Not everybody will be good enough to write articles and that’s okay. You don’t have to accept everyone that wants to write. It’s better to have three very good writers than 30 mediocre.
You also need a lot of time to coordinate everything. You need to publish articles, you need to make sure all emails have been answered, you need to make sure problems within the working of your magazine are resolved and you need to network with PR companies, labels, event managers and other stakeholders.
Setting up a magazine is not as easy as it looks but it is a thousand times more fun than it sounds!