Building Your Construction Magazine Sales By John K. Borchardt

Some construction magazines are benefiting from the federal government economic stimulus package. This is resulting in more opportunities for freelance writers. Government funding includes large sums for repairing and expanding the nation’s infrastructure. Projects include repairing bridges and roads plus building new high-speed rail lines between cities and light rail commuter lines. Much of this activity is just starting.

However, not all sectors of the construction industry are doing well. For instance, home, apartment and office building construction currently is depressed, as is home renovation. So freelancers could have major challenges placing articles in magazines covering these sectors of the construction industry.

Some construction magazines cover a specific building material such as concrete. Some are national publications but many are regional. Publishers include commercial firms such McGraw-Hill. Its construction group publishes ten regional construction magazines, such as Midwest Construction and Texas Construction. Some McGraw-Hill articles appear in more than one of their regional magazines. Professional and trade associations such as the National Precast Concrete Association also publish construction magazines.

What kinds of articles do these magazines publish? Many are case histories of major building and highway projects. Others are on new and improved construction methods and equipment. Some are related to construction safety and the environment.

Some construction magazine articles are staff written or are written by representatives of construction firms seeking to promote their firm’s achievements and capabilities. These magazines can be challenging to break into but queries offering a broad scope or interviews with people representing different organizations help freelancers compete in the construction magazine market.

As a science writer, I have found opportunities to write science articles for construction magazines. For example, I wrote an article comparing the environmental properties of concrete and wood railroad ties for Precast Solutions, a magazine covering use of concrete in construction.

Business developments relating to construction are another area to write about. For example, while focusing on the environment, I included business information on new U.S. railroad projects using concrete railroad ties in my Precast Solutions article.

Construction industry magazines cover both different types of building materials and different types of construction. For example, Hard Hat News covers road and bridge construction. Concrete Construction focuses on using concrete in various types of construction. Underground Construction describes building pipelines, sewers and tunnels.

Many construction magazines publish their editorial calendars. Freelancers can improve their chances of publication by coordinating their queries to subject areas in the editorial calendar and noting this in their query letter.

Some construction articles can be reslanted for more consumer-oriented publications such as city and regional magazines as well as newspapers. Some business-focused magazines also publish articles related to large construction projects. For example, Area Development Magazine covers site selection and facilities planning for large buildings of various types.

Other trade magazines also publish articles related to construction. For example, I wrote an article for Lab Manager on factors to consider when choosing sites for laboratory construction. In its January issue, R&D Magazine published articles on taking advantage of depressed real estate values to purchase existing buildings and convert them to laboratories. The same issue also contained an article on methods to reduce laboratory construction costs and time. This magazine also sponsors a “Laboratory of the Year” contest that results in publication of articles on laboratory construction and renovation.

Other types of magazines often publish articles relating to buildings and construction. For instance, I wrote an article about using certain plastics to preserve crumbling concrete in historic buildings and old bridges for the magazine Reinforced Plastics.

The construction industry holds many conferences around the country. By attending you can keep up with developments and get article ideas. See my article “Add to Your Income by Covering Conferences and Tradeshows” for more information on covering conferences.

With work you can build a construction magazine article business!

Paying Construction and Construction-related Markets

Area Development Magazine
Contact: Geraldine Gambale, Editor
E-mail: gerri – at –
Pay Rate: $0.40 per word

Precast Solutions
Contact: Michael Cook, Editor
E-mail: mcook at – a
Pay Rate: Pays by the manuscript, not word count, equivalent to about $0.60 per word

Concrete Construction
Contact: Joe Nasvik, Senior Editor
E-mail: jnasvik – at –
Pay rate: $250 or more for assigned articles up to 2,000 words in length

The Concrete Producer
Contact: Tom Bagsarian, Managing Editor
E-mail: tbagsarian – at –
Pay rate: $200 to $1,000 for manuscripts 500 – 2,000 words in length

Midwest Construction
Contact: Sam Barnes, Editor
E-mail: sam_barnes – at a-
Pay rate: Negotiable

Texas Construction
E-mail: TexasConstruction – at –
Pay Rate: Negotiable

Contact: Managing Editor Leah Garris
E-mail: leah.garris – at –
Pay Rate: Negotiable

John Borchardt has written more than 1,200 articles published in magazines, newspapers and online. He is currently working on a new book, “Accelerating Innovation through Effect Laboratory Management” and has started a weekly blog running on the “Lab Management” magazine website.