Article by Author / Editor Kristen Pope, on The Write Life site:
Everyone says to read a publication before you pitch it, but what exactly are you supposed to be looking for?
Below are a few things to examine in order to help you figure out what your dream magazine is looking for and tailor your pitch for that title.
First, grab a few issues of the publication you’d like to pitch.
These might be hard copies, web flip books, or stories on its website. Ideally, you’ll have a handful of issues to look through, including back issues and the most current issue available.
I often go to my local library and grab a variety of issues of a magazine to study. I try to make sure I have as many regular issues as possible, though special issues (such as “best discoveries of the year” or “holiday shopping guide”) can also be useful to examine.
Once you have these copies in hand (or up on your computer), take a look at each issue, page by page, to gain some valuable insights.
Keep an eye out for these areas in particular: