How to Start a Magazine
Everything you need to know about starting and running your own magazine business
Research & Refine your Business Idea
If you want to start a magazine but don’t know how – look no further! You are in the right place. Just continue reading this article, and you’ll get all of the information needed for launching a magazine. Starting your own magazine is just a few steps away!
You’ve decided to start a magazine, and that’s a wonderful idea! But, have you chosen your niche? This is the first thing you should do when you start refining your business idea.
You don’t want to start a magazine about everything and targeting all the people in the world. Instead, you should determine what you will write about and for whom? The topic you choose is going to be your niche, and it will identify your target readers. For example, your magazine may be about sports, cars, fashion, food, travel, or any other topic. Thus, you will target a specific audience that’s interested in that topic. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of success.
Then, you should do a market and competition research to understand the needs of your readers and how similar magazines are working. Check how they are being distributed, how much they charge, and what content they’re offering readers. This will help you understand what you should focus on and improve so that your magazine becomes better than the competition.
Also, you need to think about whether you want to launch a local or national magazine, when and how often will you issue your magazine, the number of pages, and of course, the printing company which will be highly professional.
Creating your Business Website
Nowadays, in the digital era we live in, people spend many hours on the internet and are very likely to wish their favorite magazine to have an online version so that they can read it in case they don’t have time or money to buy the printed version.
That’s why creating an online version of your magazine is vital if you want your readers to be satisfied. The truth is, online presence is an essential factor in the success of any business. So, it’s time you set up your own website.
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Once you’ve set up your website, it’s time to mention some of the things you should/ may include in it. First of all, having a landing page is very effective for presenting your latest news and articles. Plus, you can use your site to grow subscribers and add an additional revenue stream which is always financially beneficial.
Get Ideas for your magazine business name!
Marketing Your Business
You’ve realized your business idea, and the product is right in your hands. Now what? It’s time to spread the word and let people know about your fantastic magazine.
Luckily, there are several marketing strategies you can apply to grow readers. The first thing you should do is inform people about the publishing of a new magazine. You can do so by printing some flyers and share them out in popular cafes, restaurants, shops, malls, schools, university campuses, etc.
After publication, you may spread the word by distributing free samples of your magazine to the same places and ensure that you distribute your magazine to bookstores, newsstands, and any other public places so that it’s available everywhere if people want to purchase it.
Then, you can concentrate on marketing your online magazine. Just go on Upwork, or other freelancer websites, and find a Pay Per Click specialist or a graphic designer that can create website banners. By doing so, you will add an extra revenue stream to your business.
Email marketing is also a great idea for increasing the number of readers of your magazine. You can use MailChimp and send out marketing emails and grow subscribers. But first, you need to have an email list which you can quickly build by adding widgets to every page on your website asking people to sign up.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
Before starting any kind of business, you should definitely know your objectives and goals. Constant work will definitely help you achieve them; however, you may also face some obstacles. Also, a slow time in work can happen when people won’t buy your magazine as much as you anticipated.
In that case, key performance indicators (KPI’s) can come in handy and help you determine which areas of your business need improvement. Common KPI’s for a magazine are the following:
- Readers per copy
- Printing and production costs
- Production attainment
- Scrap rate
- Average Subscription Length (Digital and Print)
- Editing time
- Cost per article published
- Marketing expenses
- Audience reach
- Subscription renewal rate
- Total number of pages
Analyze these metrics and keep track on them regularly so that you can ensure your business it’s growing and going in the right direction.
Plan your Finances
Starting a magazine requires a large amount of capital and also means that there would be many expenses each month. Thus, good organization and planning of finances are essential if you want to keep your business stable. Plus, having separate private and business bank accounts is a must.
If you lack money for starting your business, you can always turn to banks and ask for a loan or an overdraft. The difference between these two is that in the first one you usually have a fixed interest and amount to pay each month, whereas, the second is more flexible but less secure.
Another option for getting finances, which is becoming more and more popular, is peer to peer lending, otherwise known as crowdfunding, which means that you can get money through a network of private lenders who can also become investors in your business.
And be mindful of your monthly expenses. Any magazine owner should know exactly how much money a month is needed for office rental fees, utility costs, maintenance, employees (writers, editors, proofreaders, designers, etc.), printing, marketing, supplies, and travel if needed.
You can use some of the accounting and finance apps created explicitly for helping businesses plan their finances. The greatest options are the following:
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
In today’s world, having a great business idea doesn’t guarantee you that you will succeed. By contrast, you should also work on yourself as an entrepreneur and aim towards achieving your goals every day.
Trends are constantly changing; thus you need to consider learning as a vital part of growing and improving. In other words, you should always look for more and more knowledge and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset which will help you climb the ladder towards success.
Luckily to you, there’s a countless list of books that can help you embrace an entrepreneurial mindset such as:
- Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build The Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
- The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David S. Kidder
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Alternatively, you may find inspiration in other fellow magazines designed for entrepreneurs. Some of these include:
Other things to consider when starting your magazine
Of course, some legal requirements are needed when starting a business, and this also counts for launching a magazine. So, if you are serious about it and planning on staying around and playing the game in the long run, you’d better build the appropriate foundation and start a legitimate business.
Registering a company name and copyright is at the utmost importance. Plus, you should also register all of the magazine’s relevant logos. You may want to speak to a professional who understands the work and law of a publishing house so that you get the most of it.
Once you’re done with registration, it’s time to hire some employees. And, the truth is that if you want to run a successful magazine, you need more than a couple of great and talented writers. In fact, you need people with different skills from writers to advertisers. In general, here are the employees that will play vital roles in your magazine:
- Writers – Content is crucial for attracting readers, and that’s why you need exceptional and talented writers. Find ones that already have experience in publishing or journalism. But, if you do have a tight budget, you can hire freelancers also.
- Editors – Not one, but you need several editors such as section editors, copy editors, and managing editors. All of them will have a specific task to complete starting from assigning articles and reading drafts to final editing and fact-checking.
- Photographers, Graphics and Layout Designers – Yes, content is probably the most critical part, but visuals also play a key role. Thus, eye-catching photographs, graphics, and layouts are essential, too.
- Advertisers – Since a great deal of a magazine’s revenue comes from selling ad space it’s crucial that you have a skilled salesperson among your magazine staff that will find and keep a relationship with advertisers.