Peter's Guide To Market Research

Last Updated June 18, 2015

The most important words in market research are: STUDY THE MARKET! STUDY THE MARKET! STUDY THE MARKET! This can't be emphasized enough. Why waste your time and a potential client's time by not studying the market?

Read articles, news items, columns, editorials, letters to the editor, ads both big and small. Read advertising for magazines.

Ask yourself who is reading this publication? Are they: well educated or high school, novices or experts, women or men, children or adults, professionals or blue collar, liberal or conservative (in both senses of these words), how old are they, where do they live, etc.?

Check the both physical and electronic newsstands for publications new to you or new to the market.

Do periodic searchs for new physical and electronic publications.

Read such publications as Masthead, Marketing, Canadian Advertising Rates & Data (often called CARD), newspapers (especially the business and culture sections), Folio, Advertising Age and Media Week.

Subscribe to online newsletters, such as Inklings, join electronic lists, like WorkForWriters.

Look at markets that are publishing things that interest you and are similar to your style.

Businesses often use freelancers. Keep files on potential business clients.

Seek advertisers packages from publications as they will provide you will additional information on potential markets.

Network, join writer's groups, attend conferences and public meetings. Keep your eyes & ears open at all times.

Look at how pieces are constructed in publications. Do they use quotes or not? If so do they quote extensively or briefly? Are the features long or short? How many new writers do they use per issue? (The more they use the more opportunity or a sign of potential trouble.) Is it written in popular or academic style?

Get writer's guidelines. They will provide you with information on what they take, what they pay, what rights they take, what sections are open to new writers, how they like to receive submissions and other such information.

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Last Updated November 8, 2005

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Comments and suggestions welcomed.

Updated by Peter D.A. Warwick

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Copyright 2002, Peter D.A. Warwick

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