Whether you’re a full time mum or a publisher looking to create a local presence with a community magazine, the processes are all the same regardless of scale. The general business model is to sell advertising space within the pages of your publication to subsidise the cost of the magazine and ultimately make a profit from producing and distributing the magazine to your target audience.
The promise of earning a reasonable income from a part time home-based job is very enticing. But what do you actually have to do? And what does buying a franchise model give you over starting up a magazine yourself?
Firstly, I would say that the established franchise models out on the market today provide you with a structure of content, look and feel, business support and means to get you up and running without too much hassle. The flip side is that no one will help you do the real work that is getting the advertisers to purchase space in your community magazine, but as an art form this is only hard if you are lacking the confidence to ‘ask people to advertise’. Sounds simple? When it comes down to the figures and the payment side, most community magazines will fall down due to the lack of debt chasing which leads to cash flow issues.
When running your magazine what will be required of you and your time? It will depend on the nature of the content you want to speak to your community about. It may be an out-of-school parents publication giving tips about parenting, activities and general daily information for running a home or it may be a general local guide which advertises local news and information, giving a local voice to the initiatives in certain areas. There are other options but these seem to be the general trend that prove successful.
Four things that we have noticed that do engage readers which should be a staple in all community magazines are;
1. Events around the community are a must to get people engaged in locality or subject matter
2. Puzzles and competitions to get people to think about what they are reading in the magazine
3. Content written by community knowledge or authorities on your community subjects
4. Use social media to get your presence known and get engaged with your target audience personally
Whatever your community, you are trying to appeal to, you should be looking to get you and your magazine known as the source of knowledge for its subject matter to get in front of the target audience, local businesses, networking groups, social functions, mother and baby groups, nurseries and get your online presence looking sharp and concise.
This may sound like a lot of work but hopefully you do have an interest in the subject you are trying to make money from, so the conversations you will have around the subject matter should drive you on to produce the best information source out there!
As you get established you will get a feel for how many magazines your community requires to get your message out there. It may just be the number of houses in an area, but think about the local shops that may help you distribute a few more to help the readership, which in turn will help expose your advertiser’s content.
The key business processes are very simple here. Firstly, you are looking to supply a way to communicate to a target audience and give the latest information that would appeal to the community. Secondly, you are providing a great way to directly target that audience for the interested advertisers, them the supply and demand together and the recipe for success is great! Just make sure your brand is strong and you get out there regularly and consistently to build up a strong readership that will engage with your content and advertisers.
The final word of advice is keep up to date with debt chasing as this can quickly get out of control. Set processes and be very mindful of slow or late payers as they ARE holding you back. Your magazine will not grow by having advertisers that do not pay. Your printer is your business partner regardless of how you look at your working relationship. So work together on the finances and make sure you get the scheduling right as their success to complete your magazine printing is down to you and your work.
If we can help in any other way we would love to hear from you. Either pick up the phone and talk to us or fill in one of our enquiry forms.
Till next time…