Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Writing for B2B magazines

Ben's writing an article for Startup Mag, and he asked me what I wished I'd known about writing for business-to-business print magazines when I started, 8 years ago.


(a magazine I haven't written for)

Here's what I told him:

Biggest thing I've learnt in writing both for print and screen is to
outline first. Think in outlines, in skeletal structures. Make sure
you have a solid backbone to the story then flesh it out.

Secondly make every word count. It's very tempting when you're paid by
the word to pad out, but resist the urge, and you'll create stuff that
people actually want to keep reading.

With quotes ... use direct quotes sparingly. Before I did print
journalism, I did radio copywriting, so my early articles are filled
with speech marks everywhere. Synthesise, rather than quoting.

And - I always forget this - always ask for a high-res photo of the
person you're interviewing at the time you're interviewing them.
300dpi resolution, JPG or TIFF format should work for most publishers. Not that you'll be taking these photos; these are often provided by interviewees or their PR companies.

5 comments:

James Stewart said...

Looking forward to it - I enjoyed his article in Unlimited about the IRD.

Yours about the potential death of the newspaper was really interesting too Si.

Learning lots - lots to learn!

Simon said...

Awesome, thanks for the feedback! I thought it was quite funny, writing a magazine article about the death of print media :) Of course the answer is never black and white but shades of all sorts of colours ...

Ben Young said...

@James that wasn't me in Unlimited! Maybe another Ben who floats around twitter....

Thanks Simon, I'm very much of the belief of accelerated learning through utilising those around you. It was appreciated.

Bryan said...

Thanks for a nice concise bit of advise. It should seem obvious to me while im doing it but never does until time to proof.
If I would just write fewer, stronger words, I would have less to edit.

you should think about developing this topic more with deep links to resources.
thanks and take care
bryan

Simon said...

Thanks Bryan, good feedback. I've found that it takes a while to get to those concise words.

Sure, it gets easier through practice, but it seems to be pretty unavoidable to go the long way around something before discovering the shortest and best way. Otherwise you risk leaving too much information out.