Does this article fit my magazine?
Your magazine is a friend to your readers. They like its personality, they know its moods and what to expect. Would you like a friend who looked and acted differently every time you saw her? While readers appreciate freshness, the content inside needs to be consistent with the message and fit your ministry’s purpose. Articles should be evaluated on more than just how appropriate or well written they are. They need to have the right fit and feel to your readers.
So how do you decide if an article fits?
Well, first you schedule a fitting.
Imagine a tailor holding a measuring tape across your shoulders. Now hold a “measuring tape” to the article and consider:
- “Does the article help fulfill your mission?”
- What is the purpose of the article? What is the writer trying to accomplish?
- Is the writer’s purpose compatible with your mission statement?
- “Is this topic important to your readers?”
- Is it appropriate for their age and lifestyle?
- Does it speak to something they deal with in their daily lives?
- Does it answer a question they are asking?
- “Does the approach fit your magazine?”
- Is it the type of article you publish? (Is it first person, interview, new story, essay. etc.)
- Does the writing style and tone fit you? Is it personal enough? Too personal? Does it quote too many Bible verses, or not enough?
- “Is it fresh?”
- Have you seen lots of other articles similar to this? Have your readers? If so, why publish it?
- “Do you agree with what the article is saying?”
- Author’s main conclusions?
- “Is there a clear benefit for the reader?”
- Does the writer seem focused on serving the reader, or their own agenda?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” then the article doesn’t fit. The article might be well written and perfect for another publication, but if the measurement is not right, this is an article you should not publish.
If you can answer with a confident “yes,” then publish the article and relish your latest wardrobe addition. You need to fulfill the mission God gave you for your magazine, and not every article will fulfill that mission. So discard the articles that don’t, and treasure the ones that do.
How do you evaluate articles? Which of the six questions above is most important? We’d love to hear what you think.