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How to Become a Commerce Writer by Nicole Pyles





re you drawn to articles discussing perfect gifts to buy for your special someone? Or do you love recommending products to family and friends that you are confident will improve their lives somehow? If that sounds familiar, consider becoming a commerce writer. These writers produce articles about shopping guides, deals to consider, and must-have products for a unique need.

It's easier than you might think to become that type of writer. I'm now a freelance commerce writer for Better Homes and Gardens, Mental Floss, Bob Vila, and other outlets. However, if you had told me a year or two ago where I'd be today, I'd be completely surprised. I wanted to share with you the steps you can take to become a commerce writer, and maybe one day, very soon, you'll be sharing your journey with others.

How I Got Started

My true start in commerce writing began as a product review blogger. This was during the time when partnering with review bloggers was one of the most popular marketing and promotional methods. I still maintain my review blog today and love featuring companies.

Because of that experience, being a commerce writer wasn’t too far off base for me. When I truly made it my goal, I knew I needed to make samples showcasing my ability to do that type of writing. That’s where you’ll want to begin, too.

Create Your Commerce Writing Samples

Create Your Writing Samples

The first step to becoming a commerce writer is preparing samples. You can write and publish an article on your own blog or website. Choose a topic you’d ideally write for another outlet. Generic gift-related posts (i.e., 10 Perfect Gifts for Mother’s Day) are acceptable. My early samples did just that and looked something like this and this.

However, the more niche you can go, the greater your advantage when pursuing opportunities. For example, you may love tech gear, gardening, or pet-related topics. So, instead of being broad in your sample article, focus on those categories. If you are narrowing down to a specific topic, make sure you don't mind writing about it regularly or in extensive detail.

If you want to write about specific niches, write two or three per niche you are interested in. You can’t send an editor your pet product articles if they want a tech writer. So, if you write in multiple categories, you need proof to show to an editor.

Study already published commerce articles to understand the style, format, and approach. You may consider one that’s for a specific time of year. One of my assignments was to write about advent calendars for Better Homes and Gardens and I highlighted some of the best options available in time for the holiday season. I wrote another for Mental Floss about products for people into “van life” and that was seasonal for the summer. Others may be more evergreen with some updates that happen each year as new products are released, such as my article on the best quilts for 2024.

Example of product round up

There are also buyer’s guides that compare articles and often include expert insights, like my article on ironing boards. Other commerce articles can be more trendy. I wrote one for Mental Floss inspired by the Stanley Cup craze (before we all learned about the whole lead thing). I listed some popular options as an alternative for shoppers to consider.

Whether pursuing the generic sample route or more specific topics, prepare at least three samples you can send to an editor. My best tip, though, is to avoid getting too bogged down by this process. I didn’t, and it’s only now that I’m beginning to discover my own niche in commerce writing.

Choosing Products to Include

Once you land your first opportunity, your editor will give you guidelines and expectations of which products to include in your article. However, I wanted to share some advice for you to remember when preparing your sample articles.

While your article topic will guide your selections, you also want to consider your specific reader when recommending products. When writing articles, ask yourself, “What would that specific type of reader want?” If it’s a tech gear audience, they likely know their stuff about tech stuff, too. So include specs and any details that will spark their interest in products you are reviewing or listing.

Unless you are reviewing the product yourself, you typically need to select products based on the reviews of others. However, there are other considerations. Keep top brands in mind that are well-known, especially if listing products of a similar type. For example, if you are talking about water bottles, you’ll probably want to list familiar brands like S'well, Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen, and more. Of course, you don’t need to limit it to that, but that’s something else you want to keep in mind.

Landing Your First Opportunity

Landing your first gig is an easier-said-than-done part of the process. Finding an opportunity takes a blend of patience and tenacity. I found my first commerce writing gig through a Facebook group that shares writing jobs. I’ll share it with you now. It’s called Binders Full of Writing Jobs.

Of course, finding commerce writing opportunities can be few and far between in Facebook jobs group. So, you need other avenues to find opportunities. There are several newsletters I follow to apply for opportunities:

You can also find countless jobs on Indeed or LinkedIn. You’ll want to look for search terms such as “Commerce Writer” or “Shopping Writer.”

However, the opportunities in these newsletters and job boards are shared far and wide. You and hundreds of other freelancers are applying for them.

So, how do you get your foot in the door?

Pitching Editors

Pitching Editors

I’ve landed more opportunities cold pitching editors than applying to a job board or responding to a pitch found shared on one of those above newsletters. It’s all about knowing who to pitch.

Let’s start with finding the right online web magazine for you. Start by hunting down articles similar to the ones you write. If you are going for niche-specific commerce topics, search those topics and see which website is publishing those articles. If you want to start broad, you want to find articles that focus on more generic lifestyle subjects. If you aren’t even sure where to begin, look in the news section of Google and look for “gift guides.” That’s a good start.

You’ll want to find the right editor once you have found an outlet. Here’s my search tip on Google:

Type: Commerce Editor OUTLET NAME

Voila! You have your editor list. Not all editors that assign commerce articles go by that title. Sometimes, you need to pitch a commissioning editor. You’ll want to read their bio closely, though. They usually say they work with freelancers and assign articles. That’s who you want to pitch.

So you have your list of editors and outlets. How do you contact them?

I will share my approach. You may consider attempting a connection request on LinkedIn, but that hasn't been my technique. Here’s what I do:

Once I know their name, I get their email via This is the trick I learned in my past career in public relations. It’s free; you only type in the person’s name. Just make sure you have the right person. Most of the time, the site will give you an email to write, and most of the time, the email ends up being right.

Here’s my pitch:

Subject: Can I be added to your list of freelance writers?


Hello [Name],

I am an experienced freelance writer looking for possible writing opportunities. I have a background in various niches, including writing commerce articles about [list any specific categories]. I would love to be considered for any work you may have for freelancers.

Here are a few samples of my commerce writing:

[Insert Links to Three Samples]

I'd appreciate it if you would consider me for any assignments. Thank you for reading my email!


I follow up one more time about a couple of weeks later, usually on Tuesdays or Thursdays. One crucial bit of advice: never email an editor on a Monday or too soon after or before a holiday.

You also don’t follow up more than that. If it’s an outlet I want, I see if there’s someone else I can email. Sometimes, editors are kind enough to forward my message. That’s rare, though.

The only other thing to do is keep writing, pitching, and applying. Before you know it, you will land the opportunity of your dreams!

However, I do want to mention rates. My first article rate in this type of writing was a little low. For about 1,200 words, I received $150. As I progressed and gained more experience, I was able to pursue higher-paying opportunities. Some opportunities can now bring in somewhere between $250 and $600 per article, depending on the extent of the research. Rates can vary according to media outlets.

Those first, low-paying articles were important. I wanted the experience. If you know you are taking something well below what you’d expect or want, don’t hesitate to take it. Having a few published articles under your belt, even if the rate is lower than you’d like, can open doors. That’s what happened to me. Once you get those articles published, keep pitching for new opportunities. Now that you have samples from an outlet that isn’t your blog, you can aim higher.



Nicole Pyles

Nicole Pyles is a commerce writer living in Portland, Oregon. She started her journey reviewing products on her personal blog, Now she is excited to contribute her insights to major publications. Her shopping-focused articles have been published in Better Homes and Gardens, Bob Vila, and Mental Floss. You can read her other publications on her personal writing portfolio.


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