Quick Guide to Starting a Digital Magazine
Looking to start publishing on your own? Starting with digital magazine publishing is a great way to go. Print costs can add up quickly, and if your business isn’t prepared, it may be difficult. When it comes to digital publishing, there is a lot more flexibility for magazine makers who are just starting out. This is a quick guide to starting a digital magazine.
Come up with a concept
If you’re wanting to start a digital magazine, the first step is to think of a concept. If you’re looking into how to make a digital magazine, it’s likely you’ve already thought this through. But make sure you go deep with your concept for your digital magazine. Instead of thinking of just a “fashion magazine”, try to come up with what makes your digital magazine stand out from the others. Is it a high fashion art magazine? Is it an accessible fashion magazine? Think deeper into your digital magazine concept when you’re ready to make a digital magazine.
Lay out your goals
What are the goals of your digital magazine? Think long term with your publication. Where would you like your project to be in a year, or in five years? Are you planning to take on a magazine as a full-time business, a side project or a portfolio piece? What is it you’re looking to accomplish by creating a digital magazine?
Figure out your audience
Who is your magazine catering to? Think through who your audience for the magazine is. What is your ideal magazine reader? What do they do? What’s going on in their lives? Who is your magazine’s ideal customer? Tailoring your content to a specific audience will allow you to properly target and cater to a specific group of people. If you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.
Create a business plan
If you plan to make your magazine a business immediately, this step is absolutely crucial. Use the information you’ve been gathering to create a business plan and strategy for your magazine. Even if you don’t plan to make it a business, now or later, making a business plan for your magazine is a good step.
Figure out your team
Will you be working on your magazine solo, or with a team? If you haven’t established a team already, figure out what your needs are and how your team will operate. Do you have budget for a team? Are you in need of volunteers? Are you going at it solo? These are all good questions to ask when you’re learning how to make a digital magazine. Maybe you just need freelancers or contributors to help with specific parts of your magazine if you’re starting it up solo. It totally depends on the scope and scale of your digital magazine.
Find a digital magazine publishing platform
Many digital magazine publishers choose to host their magazines on a digital publishing platform. This allows for a seamless and beautiful experience for your readers. Many, like Issuu, include the option to sell your digital magazine. Compare your preferred platforms and figure out which one is right for you. My preferred digital publishing platform for creating a magazine is Issuu. Their reader experience is incomparable to other digital magazine publishing platforms.
Define your brand and design
Figuring out the design of the magazine will help to define the brand of the magazine. What will your cover look like? How about spreads? Do you have a chosen set of fonts? What about a logo? The brand of the magazine is what your ideal audience will resonate with. Will you use an editorial designer? How about a magazine template? Define your magazine’s brand with design. The details matter–– shapes, colors, fonts.
Compile your content
Decide how you’re going to fill your digital magazine with content. Are you going to be taking submissions? Will you be writing or producing content yourself? What is going to be in the digital magazine? Are you going to hire freelancers? Figure out the stories you’re going to be telling, both written and visually.
Make a media kit for your digital magazine
Create a media kit for your publication once you start to gather data on your audience. On whatever digital magazine publishing platform for making a digital magazine you’re using, it’s likely they have some statistics on your readers. These numbers are crucial for any advertising or sponsorship opportunities you might be pursuing for your digital magazine.
Market your digital magazine
When it comes to building your readership, your digital magazine marketing is important. Start building your social media following and email list to grow your audience. Engage with potential readers and build a community around your magazine. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter are all useful channels to start working with. Think outside the box with it, too! Do you have a potential audience in Facebook Groups? How about on Tumblr? The bigger networks aren’t the only places you can foster community.
Schedule your magazine launch
Start creating hype around your magazine launch. The marketing doesn’t start at launch, and it doesn’t stop at launch, either. It’s important to start creating the hype early around your magazine launch. That way, people will know what’s coming and what to expect. Social media, community events, email newsletters are all great way to get some hype around your digital magazine launch.