Magazine Writing: Types of Articles

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

Today’s tips are a two-part series. When I read blogs I often need shorter chunks of information to process. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I want to be respectful of your time, and I also want you to gain something from this blog post.

Types of Articles:

Some of the most popular are:

  1. service pieces – today’s post
  2. profiles – today’s post
  3. participatory pieces – next week
  4. investigative pieces – next week
  5. personal essays/op-ed pieces – next week


These are the easiest to write because they’re straightforward and focused by nature. They basically fall into three categories

  1. how to do something (cooking, gardening, and home improvement)
  2. where to find something (shopping or travel)
  3. how to deal with something (health and fitness)

These articles are easy to structure. Start with the introduction, in which you explain the service you’re writing about and how you obtained your information. Then, establish voice and tone, the best service pieces are also entertaining, but not so entertaining that they lose sight of the main purpose of the article: to impart useful information.


These are not résumé. You want to know what makes someone tick, which doesn’t mean everything this person has done in their life. After reading a successful profile, you should feel like you could pick the subject out of a crowd without ever having seen her before, simply by watching and listening to her for a short time.

Tips for a good profile:

  • Pick a theme. What’s special about the subject? What is the most likely to interest your readers? Provide the conflict or tension that keeps the reader interested. If you don’t have a theme, your profile will flop.
  • Through research and interviews, try to get as much insight as you can into what makes your subject tick.
  • Don’t forget physical descriptions, which includes the subject’s wardrobe.
  • Be sure to get input from other voices—-people who know the subject and are willing to share insights with you.

Next week: Next week, we will finish up the with Types of Articles and the Magazine Writing section in this book. I’ll give you a hint as to what I’ll be featuring for Tuesday’s Tips in the future.

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.


 robin and snow haiku

Today’s Haiku

orange tuft of feathers
blocking out the cold, covets
the warmth of spring


Have you ever written a service piece or profile piece?

Happy Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!


10 thoughts on “Magazine Writing: Types of Articles

  1. Love the photo and haiku. I just had a quick peek at Amazon, at the book you mention. Reckon I’ll get it soon! This will be an excellent addition to other books have about writing. Thanks for a great post. 🙂

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