Trade magazines, sometimes called trade journals or professional journals, often pay writers as well as consumer magazines do. But because trade titles don't have the massive public presence that consumer titles command, they are often easier to break into with story queries. In other words, they're a terrific place for new magazine writers to try to land their first assignments.
The point of trade magazines is to reach people working in a given field. The articles may be oriented around the lifestyles, business trends, or professional demands that those people face, but they are all centered on the field or industry itself.
A single issue of a banking trade magazine, for instance, may include a profile of a prominent banker, a story about trends in high-interest loans, and a feature about security issues that tellers face regarding robberies. All of these stories are slanted from different angles, but they have the common theme of banking running through them.
If you want to write for a trade magazine, you need to be either an expert in the field the magazine covers or a good reporter who can delve deeply into the subject matter through interviews with industry experts. Trade magazine readers know their stuff, and they want down-and-dirty details more than cursory overviews in their stories.
Just as consumer magazines offer readers a wide range of topics in myriad ways, trade journals produce stories about a wide range of professions in all different styles. Here's a look at a handful of the topics that trade magazines cover, along with a sampling of titles from each topic area:
As with the consumer magazine segment of the marketplace, you can see that the trade magazine segment is incredibly varied by topic, and even more widely varied when you drill down to specific magazine titles. Unless you are a doctor, for instance, you probably imagined that there were medical magazines out there, but not necessarily on the precision level that
The point, again, is that as a magazine writer, you need to expand your understanding of the magazine marketplace so that you will make good on every opportunity you have to sell your work. These opportunities extend even beyond the consumer and trade titles to the world of academic magazines.