As a teacher/coach, I define my success by the success of my clients, students and readers.
That said, on daily basis I get messages from motivated fitness professionals asking me “How can I write for fitness magazines?”
So to kick start the new year – Today’s post is going to cover my thoughts and strategies on how YOU can become a freelance fitness writer for the major, national and international magazines.
2 Prerequisites to becoming a Writer for the Fitness Magazines
As someone who in the last few years has written over 50 articles for over 20 major fitness magazines, I’ve had a great deal of experience as a freelance fitness writer.
In doing so, I’ve found there are two Prerequisites the magazine editors are looking for, regardless of which magazine it is.
The Prerequisite are:
1. You must have good ideas that are unique (have a hook), easy to understand and immediately applicable for the general population.
2. You must be a credible fitness writer who’s already proven that you can provide high-qulity training articles, write them in a concise manner and deliver them in a timely fashion.
Magazine editors are overly busy, under lots of pressure and have deadlines to keep. They won’t commission an article out to someone who hasn’t already proven themselves as a credible fitness professional who’s capable of writing their ideas in a solutions based manner with mass appeal.
In order to build credibility as a fitness writer, as a fitness professional, and to hone your craft as a writer – I recommend you follow this 3-step process:
3-Steps to Becoming a Writer for the Fitness Magazines
Step 1 – START A FITNESS BLOG!
Blogging will help you become a better writer through constant practice. It will also help you become better at writing about your ideas in a concise, solutions based manner.
Additionally, Blogging can help you find your “niche.”
Here’s a great (free) resource with a detailed online guide for blogging beginners.
After blogging for while you’ll find there are certain subjects that you write about most often, which are the subjects you’re most passionate about. Learning how to focus on these subjects will start to “brand your style” and help you separate yourself form other fitness bloggers by creating a unique value to your work.
So Blog, and Blog often!
Step #2 – GET YOUR ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON THE FITNESS WEBSITES
If you can get your written work published on a fitness training website like T-Nation.com, WannaBeBig.com, EliteFTS.com, BodyBuilding.com, MuscleandStrength.com, etc. You’ll know that you’re ideas are worthwhile to readers because these websites won’t publish stuff unless they think it’ll get attention and benefit their readers.
Getting your articles published on these training websites will also help to build your credibility (as a writer & as a fitness professional) and bring lots of attention to your Blog.
Plus, many of the magazine editors I’ve worked with often read these websites (especially T-nation) and often pull talent from them when they think a certain writer’s subject matter can easily be tailored to their magazine audience.
How to get in-touch with Fitness Websites?
In order to get in-touch with editors of these fitness websites, I recommend contacting someone who has already written for the site you desire to work with. And, when you do – Give them a finished article to review.
Now, I write for these websites and I’m far too busy with my own stuff to reply to every damn email I get from folks who want to write, which is almost every trainer and their brother. But, I’m more willing to take time out of my day to help other fitness professionals of whom I’ve already met in-person, talked shop with and found to have great ideas. I’ll also be more inclined to help those who have Blogs, which are full of great content.
Basically, as I’ve told you – You need to have some CREDIBILITY!
Every trainer says their ideas are good. But, what do you have to show for it that’s unique and different from everyone else?
My Personal Story
After meeting Eric Cressey and talking shop a few years ago, I sent him a very rough video of an upcoming DVD I planned on filming. He liked it. So not long after – I sent him an article I had written, which he also liked.
Only then did he put me in touch with the great folks at T-nation. That article became my first ever published work for T-nation entitled “A New Angle on Cable Training“.
Eric helped my early in my writing career because I built credibility with him. And, since then I’ve helped a select few writers in the same way because these individuals separated themselves from the herd and built credibility with me!
Step #3 – GET YOUR ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE FITNESS MAGAZINES!
To get your work published in a major fitness magazine, I again recommend you contact someone who’s already written from the magazine publication your desire to write for.
But, I suggest before you do this, you have at least 3-5 articles already published on a major fitness training website(s).
You see, there’s an old saying that “If you tell a good joke, people will say “That’s funny”. But, if you’re ALWAYS telling good jokes, people will say “YOU’RE Funny.”
Magazine editors are excited to work with writers who have shown a history of producing great content on a consistent basis. There are lots of people who have one good idea that gets published somewhere, then you never hear from them again.But, there are fare less of those who posses the ability to always crank out great work. These are the people of whom we all will take the time to read thier work simply because we know if it has thier name on it, it’s probably good! And, these are the people the magazines are looking for!
Having several articles published on a major website will give you the credibility as someone who’s SMART, not just some one who had one smart idea.
My Personal Story
After I had written about 4 or 5 popular articles for T-nation like “How Not to Warm Up“, “Everything Push Ups” & “Making Gains with Pain” – I again contacted Eric Cressey about putting me in touch with Men’s Fitness magazine. Eric was happy to help me because he’s a good guy who understood that he wouldn’t be where he is if someone wasn’t humble enough to recognize his talent and nice enough to help him.
So he put me in contact with Men’s Fitness. And, when he did, I was excited to discover that the editors there already knew of my work and were very excited to work with me because I had already built credibility with them!
Now that I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with a multitude of magazines – I’ve referred many of them to Eric C . Along with a select group of other fitness writers/trainers of whom have already established themselves as credible to me from the body of work the’ve previously put together through Blogs, articles published on various training websites and through personal interactions.
There is no exact science to writing for the magazines. Nor does what I’ve said above guarantee you’ll get an opportunity to work with a major fitness magazine. But, I can promise you from personal experience and from the experiences I’ve seen from others who have worked with the magazines – Following the advice I’ve provided above certainly will drastically elevate your chances of writing for the magazines because you’ll gradually separate yourself from the herd and establish yourself as a smart trainer and as a good writer!
If you have the discipline to go through the process I’ve provided above, and understand that it takes TIME & CONSISTENCY to establish yourself as a credible resource – You’ll eventually find that the magazines will seek YOU out!
Getting your work into the magazines isn’t just about “who you know.” It’s also about “who wants to know you.”
So if you want to write for the magazines in 2012 and beyond – Get to work on establishing yourself as a professional the major fitness magazine editors will “want to know!”