How to Start a Magazine With No Money


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Introducing the new way to start a magazine. Start with an audience, find your niche, publish right away. Creating, publishing and distributing can be free. Once you have the audience, go get the advertisers.

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How to Start a Magazine With No Money

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  2. 2. Strategies for Bootstrapping a <br />New Publication<br />Monica Maldonado Williams<br />Torquil Dewar<br />GivingCity Austin<br />October Custom Publishing<br />
  3. 3. CONTENT<br />Audience, sourcing, look and feel<br />Start here if you can offer something no one else does.<br />PRODUCTION<br />Scheduling, deadlines, printing<br />Start here if you need a plan first.<br />READERSHIP<br />Demographics, circulation, distribution<br />Start here if you want to ensure mag’s success.<br />ADVERTISING<br />Media kits, rate cards, selling<br />Start here if you want to make money.<br />“Okay, I have an idea for a magazine. Now what?”<br />
  4. 4. START WITH CONTENT<br />Identify your audience<br />Brides to be? <br />MODERN BRIDE<br />MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS<br /><br />Car lovers?<br />CAR & DRIVER<br />ROBB REPORT<br />MUSTANG MONTHLY<br />EDMUND’S INSIDE LINE<br />NEW STRATEGY: See who’s communicating to them already, in a mag, weekly email, website, DM. Find your niche in that. <br />When you have a topic in mind, try to have a short story about why you’ve chosen that topic.<br />
  5. 5. START WITH CONTENT<br />Find writers!<br />Scan similar publications<br />Freelance writing sites<br /><br />Post to craigslist or job site<br />,<br />You get what you pay for<br />NEW STRATEGY: Hire a rabbit. Or at least a ringer. Invest in at least one solid piece. <br />Even if you’re an expert on the subject, you shouldn’t be the only writer.<br />
  6. 6. START WITH CONTENT<br />DO NOT DESIGN IT YOURSELF<br />Browse the newsstand<br />Mags that always look good<br /> VANITY FAIR, MARTHA STEWART, GQ, WALLPAPER, NEW YORK, W, WIRED, GARDEN & GUN<br />Judge art director only by their work<br />NEW STRATEGY: Hire talented, experienced, professional with magazine design background. <br />Do what he says. <br />Looks matter…maybe even more than copy in the beginning. <br />
  7. 7. START WITH PRODUCTION<br />The editorial calendar<br />How long does each phase take<br />Distribution dates vs. cover dates<br />Do a trial version<br />NEW STRATEGY: Latch on to a known event your audience would care about – for coverage, distribution, ad sales, etc. – to time the launch. <br />“I can’t function without a timeline. ”<br />
  8. 8. START WITH PRODUCTION<br />Printing…?<br />Judging a printer<br />Calculating the cost<br />Distribution without printing<br />NEW STRATEGY: Digital publishing. And only digital publishing. <br />When choosing a printer, see which one “teaches” you the most. They will probably offer the best service.<br />
  9. 9. START WITH PRODUCTION<br />Digital production<br />Still takes time<br />Find a place to host it that will drive more downloads<br />Difference between digital mag and Web<br />NEW STRATEGY: Create it for on-screen reading.<br />(See, GivingCity, Playback) <br />It needs to retain it’s “magazine-ness.”<br />
  10. 10. START WITH THE READERS<br />Use bull’s-eye approach to identify your target. <br /> Industry pros with profit-driven reason<br /> Industry onlookers, influentials<br /> Pro consumers, boss demands they know<br /> Avid consumers<br /> Casual consumers<br /> Outsiders<br />NEW STRATEGY: Social media marketing to help you build list. <br />(Thanks to “Starting and Running a Successful Newsletter or Magazine” by Cheryl Woodard)<br />Make it for readers who need it now…but make sure those readers will always exist. <br />
  11. 11. START WITH THE READERS<br />Somewhere between whom it’s for and whether you can contact them<br />Email addresses or mailing addresses<br /> Purchase lists, DM<br /> Be part of existing email blast<br /> Grow organically<br />Consider advertiser’s perspective<br />Big number or niche-niche?<br />NEW STRATEGY: Start with influentials. Their buy-in can help growth. <br />Organic growth is painfully slow, but readers can turn into advocates. <br />
  12. 12. START WITH THE READERS<br />Subscription or ad model?<br />All mags cost same, profit on efficiencies<br />Mix of revenue sources<br />Change how often, how much<br />Develop new revenue sources<br />NEW STRATEGY: Again, digital. Almost free using social media, online trials, etc.<br />No magazine can survive on just subscriptions. <br />
  13. 13. START WITH THE ADVERTISERS<br />So you want to make money?<br />Readers wants vs. advertisers wants<br />Advertorials, free ads, etc.<br />Multiple entry points to magazine<br />Ads that look like dirt<br />NEW STRATEGY: With digital, ads can link to site. Seek advertisers who want Web traffic. <br />Here’s an idea for a revenue source – advertisements! <br />
  14. 14. START WITH THE ADVERTISERS<br />Ask them what they want<br />High maintenance relationships – have lunch with these people<br />Study media kits of mags with lots of ads<br />Don’t be fooled by mags with lots of ads<br />Sales vs. branding driven<br />NEW STRATEGY: Digital mag ads can be branding but with a call to action… that’s not so ugly. <br />For credibility, ads should align with your mission. <br />
  15. 15. START WITH THE ADVERTISERS<br />Interview them<br />Who are their customers?<br />How do they reach customers?<br />When do they make media buying decisions?<br />Do they have upcoming launch, event?<br />And FOLLOW-UP.<br />NEW STRATEGY: For digital mags, make sure they have a website – particularly one in which they’ve invested heavily. <br />Consider their timing needs when approaching advertisers. <br />
  16. 16. LIST OF SOURCES: HOW PROS DO IT<br />American Society of Magazine Editors<br />FOLIO: Magazine<br />Mr. Magazine<br />Magazine Death Pool<br />Mediabistro<br />Magazine Design<br />TIPS: <br />Read the industry<br />Study good magazines<br />Let yourself get emotional<br />
  17. 17. LIST OF SOURCES: DIGITAL MAGAZINES<br />FOLIO: Magazine<br />Texterity<br />Zinio<br />Nxtbook<br />Digital Magazine News (yuck)<br />Adobe Reader<br />TIPS: <br />The flip gets annoying<br />Web-based offers more functionality<br />Mind file size<br />
  18. 18. LIST OF SOURCES: DISTRIBUTION & GROWTH<br />Wordpress or other blogging tool<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />Your LinkedIn page<br />YouTube<br />Flickr<br />ConstantContact<br />TIPS: <br />This is a full-time job<br />Use the word “magazine”<br />Create common look & feel<br />
  19. 19. We’re still excited about magazines!<br />TIPS: <br />You’d better love it<br />Mind your image online<br />Make sure others know your story<br />Hire pros as much as possible<br />Magazines are emotional<br />