Thinking of starting a local magazine?
Posted on 22nd March 2021
Local magazines are still a very popular way to receive and consume content. However, running a successful independent title requires some important ingredients.
Preparing your plan
There’s a lot of preparation to be done before you can start to think about launching your first edition. You will need to know the size of your audience, who they are and what they’re interested in.
Here are some of the things you will need to know:
Audience size – there will be a trade-off between the costs of production and distribution and the income you can raise through subscriptions or advertisements.
Demographics – find out who will be in your audience and what their interests will be.
Distribution – finding a cost-effective way to deliver your magazine is essential.
Page numbers – this will be one of your important cost factors.
Frequency – magazines are often re-read and passed on, which makes them a great way to reach a large audience, but you will also want to provide regular fresh content.
Budget – it’s important to be realistic about how much it will cost to start and how long it will take to become profitable.
Funding – a business plan doesn’t have to be a huge document but writing one will help you to focus on important things like how you will obtain funding and pay yourself and your employees.
Revenue – the rate you charge to your advertisers will always be a difficult decision, so it will need to be carefully considered to meet the needs of different businesses.
Marketing – reaching and engaging your readers and your advertisers will underpin your success, so plan your marketing well in advance.
By working through each of these points you will gain a much deeper understanding of your publication and how you will gain loyal readers that will make your magazine an attractive option for your advertisers.
You must work out how much advertising you will need for each edition. You will also need to set a firm policy about the proportion of advertising to content and what types of advertisement you will accept.
Meeting the needs of your readers is the top priority, which means you will need to know your local community very well.
Your first edition will set the benchmark for future issues so every aspect must be carefully considered and executed. It is well worth testing your design concepts and content types with some of your potential readers before you finalise your plans. This part of the process can be part of your pre-launch marketing plan.
Your prototype will also be useful when you’re talking to advertisers, so they can see how their brand will benefit. You can also gain useful feedback from them before you make your decision to proceed.
A route to market
Your magazine will need to reach your audience reliably if you’re going to attract regular advertisers who are willing to pay a reasonable price for what you deliver – literally.
You will need to work out how many copies are required to reach enough readers while keeping costs at a level that local businesses can support through advertising.
You can offer additional services, such as social media exposure and digital editions, to make the whole package more attractive. You might want to consider providing a premium online subscription service where readers can access special offers and promotions.
When setting your advertising rate, you might need to take a view about how much brand value the advertiser themselves will provide for your publication. When well-known local brands advertise regularly on your pages it will help to build the reputation of your title, so you might want to offer them a discount.
Work with an experienced team
Are you excited about the idea of starting your own local magazine or saving a valued local title that might otherwise disappear?
Please get in touch to find out more about our franchise scheme for new magazine publishers who are looking for the reassurance of working within a tried and tested framework.
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