Ed knows that nabbing a magazine job can be tough, but the good news is that there’s a whole crop of magazines you might not be considering: trade magazines. Ed picked the brains of a few editors to hear what it’s like to work at a B2B, and what whippersnappers can expect if they land a job not in their wheelhouse.
You don’t have to be a whiz right off the bat
Trade publications are typically known for expert-level coverage on one specific industry, which can be intimidating for someone without a background in the topic. Luckily this isn’t a make-it-or-break-it factor for staffers.
“Because trade publications are so niche, most editors aren’t looking for someone with in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. They just want to see you have the writing and reporting skills. A little background in business or news journalism doesn’t hurt,” says Liz Webber, Associate Editor at Supermarket News magazine. Since trade magazines hone in on one specific topic, staffers will learn the ins and outs of an industry quickly.
However, this doesn’t mean whippersnappers shouldn’t be prepared to hit the ground running. “It’s not so much about particular skills as it is about absorbing particular knowledge as fast as you can once you start,” Webber adds.
You’ll beef up your portfolio and develop new skills
Trade magazines tend to have smaller staffs, meaning that entry-level editors could be doing everything from designing pages to transcribing interviews. The wide arrange of day-to-day responsibilities means you’ll be able to rack up a lot of clips quickly.
With smaller staffs, editors might experience a blurred line between editorial and advertising. “B2B journalists can be asked — even assigned — to develop and write advertorial copy,” said Edward M. Lee, Editor Emeritus at Modern Baking magazine.
Your list of experts and contacts will grow
Because content is so targeted, staffers get to know industry experts and build up a Rolodex of close contacts and sources. “A lot of trade publishing is built around relationships with both your audience and your sources,” says Pamela Riemenschneider, editor or Produce Retailer magazine. “The more familiar you are with your subject matter, the more involved you are in the trade. I’m not saying you should be in your source’s pocket, however. Integrity is just as important, despite the closer relationship.”
Your critical thinking skills and creativity will be challenged — in a good way
To keep a subject from becoming stale, trade magazine editors are constantly thinking about new angles to take on a specific topic. Similar to consumer-facing magazine publishing, it is important for staff members to bring a variety of ideas to the table. “You should be able to come up with a lot of ideas, and always think of creative ways to cover your beat,” says Lindsay Powers, senior lifestyle editor for the homepage of Yahoo!, who previously was the deputy editor for The Hollywood Reporter’s website, which is spun for professionals in the entertainment industry.
Now that you have the scoop, go out there and grab some trade
publications to prep for those interviews and edit tests!