Now I predict you’re reading this because you are looking to either start a new magazine and are looking for all the help you can get, or you have an existing magazine that needs some smoothing of processes to make the end result arrive on time and within budget.
There are many aspects to your magazine that need initial attention. But the one word we would like to emphasise is ‘engagement’. The one thing that will make or break your magazine is also the one thing that in fact will encourage advertisers to advertise and get your readers to react to their marketing attempts. So, how do you get your readers engaged in your magazine and what methods are there out there to expose your publication for all to benefit?
We’re sure you are aware that the people you distribute your publication to will be interested in your subject matter, but there is a reason the newspapers of the world have such big emphasis on their headlines and why they get so much attention. Controversy sells. Thinking about your titles and their attractiveness to your readers, does your main story or picture grab suitable attention?
Once you have their attention always make sure your content is relatable and knowledgeable on the topic in hand. It doesn’t matter if you are talking to a local audience or a national specialist group, we all need to engage your reader with either new information or a prospective they may have not thought about on a topic they will be familiar with. Compliment and reinforce your content with images, but try to avoid stock images as they normally cheapen the magazines article and can devalue the content to your readers.
Remember to think about other ways to engage your readers I.e. industry hints and tips maybe related puzzles? What about reader photos or experiences around your magazine subject matter. Competitions always are well received and can be used to gain reader data or get them to engage in a related sponsor or section of your magazine you want the reader to pay specific attention to.
Content done. Good. Artwork next. Remember that people will respond to brighter colours and make sure your content is presented in a clear concise manner. Artwork and design of your magazine can be very personal, but just be aware that you cannot please all of your audience all the time, so go with your instincts and you should know what buttons to push with your potential audience. However, if you do need help make sure you talk to a graphic designer to get the initial look and feel right for your branding. If you are not confident at designing or publishing a magazine make sure you get opinions from third parties.
Once you have your artwork signed off you can send your magazine to print. You will know the specification of your magazines size and page count, but make sure you take into consideration the paper stock you are printing on and the printing methods used to produce your magazine.
For example, a smaller run of magazines may be printed using a digital printing press, make sure you get to grips with the basics of the printing processes as it can give different end results and quality, which may affect your reader engagement as it can be a reason for them to not read or pick up your magazine. Your printer will be able to help you select paper finishes and should help steer you towards production success. Make sure you understand the timelines of production and plan backwards from the time of hitting shelves or doorsteps. We normally plan five working days from proof sign off to delivery for example.
Have you thought about how you are going to distribute your publication? If you are a local publication serving a local community, your magazine can be either door dropped by professionals, a volunteer workforce or you may rope family into helping you get your magazines out to the masses. If your circulation is a little larger you may utilise multiple routes I.e. a subscriber base and a retail channel or a distributor that will, once they have taken delivery of your magazines will send them all over the country in the right quantity per site. Again, remember to take into account the distribution timelines as these can hugely vary on weather conditions for the door to door distribution and roll out methods for the distributors may vary massively on volumes.
The only thing we haven’t touched on is magazine quantities to produce. This is a flexible figure but just make sure you produce the quantity your budget allows not the volume you feel should be out there. Producing a magazine is a business and if your overheads are larger than your incomings then you are running at a loss and you are not doing anyone any favours. Be sure to chase your debt efficiently and make sure you pay your suppliers or you will not have a magazine at all.
Each one of these facets can be broken down into a lot more detail. If you need any further help sourcing suppliers for graphic design or distribution then please contact us.