Alumni magazines, a great opportunity for writers

Printed newspapers around the world might be floundering, but glossy magazines have retained their popularity and continue to attract a new audience.

The trouble with writing for a lifestyle magazine is you only reach a limited audience with every article: decorating divas one month, swashbuckling sailors the next. Rarely both.

As writers, we always want to expand our audience. The more people who read our work, the more opportunities will present themselves.

Alumni magazines for universities, colleges, and even high schools are the ideal fodder for writers looking to reach a broad audience of decorators, sailors, nurses, accountants, CEOs, and electricians.

When you write a profile for an alumni magazine, you aren't limited by subject matter when pitching stories; all you need is to find a story-worthy person. Their background can - and should - be unique, interesting. Once you've found a subject, find out which university she attended, and voila! There may even be a few magazine options open to you; if the person went to a high school with a magazine or attended several universities, pitch to each school.

The first person whose story I pitched to an alumni magazine was Melissa Schaak, a violinist I knew growing up. Melissa's career had steered her in a fascinating direction: she is a "show violinist" with the Exclusive Strings Quartet, based in Belgium. Now that's a story I want to read (and write) about!

What's a show violinist? How did she get to Belgium? Read the article in Wilfrid Laurier's Campus Magazine to find out!

If you're wondering if alumni magazines pay their writers, the answer is YES (or the ones I have written for, anyway). Like with any writing job, make sure you negotiate a contract in advance so there are no surprises.

Alumni magazines offer you a great opportunity to get your writing out to a broad audience. Who knows, your article might be read by another magazine editor or a CEO of a company looking for your skill set.

Another advantage is that alumni magazine editors are not bombarded with story pitches like editors of glossy magazines. You are more likely to get a response with feedback on your pitch and what you can improve for next time.

Find your story subject, and then start pitching university/college magazines. You'll be glad you did.

Caribou Creative