Have you ever desired to start your own magazine and include articles and advertisements that you desperately search in other magazines? Maybe you want to start a magazine about your favorite hobby, probably hiking or maybe you want to spread your knowledge about a subject, like homeopathy? If you really want to start a magazine, we will walk you through the steps of launching one.
Starting a magazine might be a lengthy process but it can be a sure hit if you follow the steps correctly.
Running your own magazine could be easy, thanks to the digital world and the internet. Nevertheless, at the same time, it could be tricky and competitive, thanks to the same internet and digital world. The internet is full of information, totally free. Everything today is at your fingertips. You just need to scroll your smartphone screen up and down. And so, you cannot print a magazine and expect it to be a hit instantly.
The internet has changed the way magazines are published today. People are inclining towards online magazines as they give an opportunity to develop high-quality content and a freedom to voice. That is why we recommend you to start a magazine online instead of a print version. But here’s a bonus point – if your magazine eventually becomes a hit and you earn a lot, you could start a special edition in print for people who aren’t mobile friendly.
Steps to Start Magazine Online/Print
Start with a Business Plan
Develop your business plan, even before you start writing your first article. Your plan will act as the measuring stick or benchmark throughout your business development process. You will have to create both long and short-term plans. A business plan should include the basics, such as mission, purpose, goal, and strategies.
Strategies can be further divided into financial strategy, development strategy, and marketing strategy. Some of the questions you will have to ask yourself while writing down your business plan include:
- What should your Magazine focus on? What will its concept be? Make it brief but all-inclusive. It could be anything, from progressive ideas on science & technology, and provocative travel destinations, to unexplored and low profile health issues.
- Who will be the audience? Your magazine should communicate with readers and so you will have to include ‘need’ in your content so people subscribe more. Think about the current lifestyle, most searched topics, and competition.
- What are the topics you would like to include? For instance, science and technology are vast. It can be physics, chemistry, IT, or medicine. Whatever it is, you will have to be consistent in your voices and tones.
- How will you gather the fund? Who or what will fund your magazine. Will it be from advertising or fund the magazines from personal savings. If you choose to sell advertisements, then you will have to attract advertisers first. Now that is another hard process. We suggest you stick by the first option since you are a start-up
Move on to Carry a Market Research
You have to evaluate your competition and eliminate them, one by one. You can effectively do that by spending some quality time researching the market, both digital and print. This will give you a head start. You will learn the current market trend and the prices, things that are already being covered, that are on print, and that is on the internet. The research and evaluation will open ways for opportunities and gaps, which you should definitely use to your advantage.
Market research and analysis will help you develop your marketing concept. Okay, here’s a thing – just cause you love a topic and favor it, doesn’t mean it will be embraced by the audience. You have to think pragmatically. You have to choose a topic around your niche, which is on demand, which is needed, and which will be appreciated by the readers.
Form Your Dream Team
Running a magazine is not a solo job. None at all! Right from the content and images to editing and publishing, you need a team to support you. For better and faster results, you need to build a strong team with staffs working in each section of the development process. Magazines are driven by three things – content, images & graphics, and advertisements (in the same order). However, here is a complete list of ‘must hires’ for your magazine team:
- Brilliant content writers (both in-house and freelancers).
- Editor, to ensure the quality and consistency of the magazine is reinforced. A strong editor can actually bring the best out of a magazine.
- Marketing manager: to explore many online channels to a launch your e-magazine. If your magazine is launched in print, you will have to search for distributors in bookstores, newsstands etc.
- Sales manager, if you are planning to add advertisements to your magazine.
You may also need a publication manager for handling the publication and print part, branding and sponsoring partners to bring more exposure and steer you in the right direction, and an assistant to keep you sane.
Creating Content for Your Magazine
You have to collaborate with your team to create the content of your magazine. A magazine’s content has 5 major elements, including the write-up, the photographs, the graphic design, the editing and proofreading, and the sample.
Writing and Editing Content
Depending upon your concept, you will have to draft your articles. An online magazine content concept could be anything, such as fiction, non-fiction, expert advice, story sharing, how-to-guidelines, DIYs, reviews, facts and information, viral news or all of the above. Research from your writer’s end is very very crucial here. You may want to appoint different writers to create different concepts. For example, you can hire a freelancer for viral news and two full-timers for reviews and how-to guidelines.
Proofreading and editing are equally important for checking facts and ensuring content quality and accuracy. This entails checking grammatical errors, article tone, language, consistency in style and effectiveness.
Design and Images
Graphic designs make the magazine visually elegant and appealing. So does the photographs. Your images and graphics should match the content you produce. The graphic design will be responsible for producing the tone and hues of your content. Magazines are lifestyle written in words; so it should look like and feel like a modern lifestyle.
Although you can buy stock photographs, you could enhance the magazine’s quality by clicking and posting photographs instead. You can work with a photographer to capture your visions. A picture says a thousand words and your magazine should contain the best words. You can also hire two or more freelance photographers and buy exclusive photographs on demand. Make sure you trademark your photographs to avoid being copied.
Even if they are saved, make sure the images have an embedded link that you can ask the sharers to use and promote your magazine.
If you are trying out ravioli or dum mutton biryani for the first time, you will make a smaller batch as a trial. Similarly, before you launch a definitive, finalized version of your magazine, you will have to create your sample magazine and savor it. Read it from a reader’s point of view and see if there are any changes needed to be made before it is finalized for publishing.
Digitize Your Online Magazine
Just because you have created your online magazine using highly powerful computer design software, it does not mean it is ready to hit the market and is distributable. You have to ensure that your magazine is accepted by the publishers and reading app companies.
Different publishers and reading apps have their own set standards and parameters, in terms of layout, file size, font size, quality, image dimension, number of pages and so on. You have to conform to their standards and personalize your magazine accordingly before you submit. This will help you eliminate resubmissions and delays.
Market and Distribute Your Magazine
The final leg of the process is distribution and establishing an online presence. Distribution is typically reserved for hardcopies and print magazines. So, you will have to get hold of a trustable and reliable printer that produces satisfactory results if you intend to sell hard copies.
Moving on, establishing an online presence is more important than any other step when launching an online magazine. Online presence means building a brand value around your magazine. It could be done in different ways like you can launch a website, use influencer marketing, promote in social media, and use video and audio ad campaigns.
Build a Unique Brand Value
The internet has given us immense marketing and promotional opportunities. All we need to do is use the tool that best fits our business and pursue it. You can also market through more than one channel of your choice.
While marketing, your main aim should be building an active community around your magazine. The community should be hungry for your news, should appreciate it, and should share your brand value with others.
To build a sustaining brand value, you need to bring about a unique selling point. Your selling point could be anything, from the special editorial section, free samples of newly launched products to discounts and offers.
The more powerful the brand value is the better will be the sense of belonging. Involve your readers and delight your audience. You can do that by inviting your readers for discussion, by requesting feedbacks, and by asking to share short stories (where the best ones will stand a chance to be featured in the magazine).
This will probably take months. But, once your magazines hit the screen online and hit the stand physically, you will know you have done justice to your passion. When this is a knockout, get started on issuing the next one. Wishing you success! Please share details about your online or offline magazine in comments below. Let us be your readers too.