Creating content that others love to read is appealing for many writers. Social media content is short and fleeting while a novel is longer and long-lasting. But for some creators, magazines are the gold standard for a few specific reasons. Magazines offer the opportunity to create content for a specific subject area while still providing chances to write about related topics, delve deeply into subjects, and provide fresh, new content regularly to consumers who want to learn. Publishing a best selling magazine that people want to pick up each time a new issue comes out, however, is tricky. Let’s look at the appeal of magazines and how to create your own best selling magazine.
What Makes a Magazine Popular?
Unlike static publications like novels, comic books, or non-fiction tomes, magazines are constantly changing and evolving. One of the reasons magazine readers return again and again to these cyclical publications is because of the promise of fresh content, new perspectives, and consistently focused content. While not every magazine published reaches a large circulation of readers, many magazines enjoy a healthy readership and following because of their content area focus. When a publication becomes a best selling magazine, it is usually because the magazine fills a niche with readers who are looking for specialized content. Gorgeous pictures, crisp graphics, and a logical, organized layout help, too. Unfortunately, some beautiful publications just don’t catch on with readers, like the short-lived George magazine, backed by notable editor John F Kennedy Jr., that began with fireworks and anticipation but fizzled out after a few short years. Popularity can be fickle, for sure, but best selling magazines don’t usually happen accidentally. Instead, those who publish magazine content with a built-in audience are most likely to be successful.
Give the Readers What They Want
Magazine creators may very well be top fans of their content, and that enthusiasm may have led them to pursue publishing a magazine in the first place. But for a magazine to become a best-seller, magazine authors and creators simply must give the readers what they want to read.
- Find Your Niche. One of the best ways to make sure that your magazine does well is to find a specialty or niche market. While some catch-all magazines have done well, for the most part, magazines appeal to a very specific target market. While your interest may be very specific or extremely narrow, make sure that there are potential readers that have the same interests. Look into groups, organizations, and other events that bring like-minded people together that have an interest in your potential magazine focus to make sure there will be interest in your content.
- Research Similar Publications. Before finalizing your magazine’s focus, do your research. Make sure that no other publications already fill the niche you are considering. If another periodical already exists, plan for ways to make your magazine stand out and bring fresh value to the reader and not simply duplicate the same perspectives as the existing publication.
- Develop Continuous Content. Magazine consumers anticipate each issue’s arrival and look forward to new, engaging content with unique perspectives and different angles on familiar topics. Plan ahead for ways to bring continuous content to your magazine by thinking about regular features to include in each issue, ways to extend topics into multiple articles. and methods of deeply diving into some topics while also introducing new concepts for future editions in each issue.
Creating Your Best-Selling Magazine
Writers interested in creating their own magazine will need to think about a few different aspects of magazine creation that are very different from writing a book or other long-form content. Since magazines are made up of a large volume of content in each issue, creating a best selling magazine means being smart in areas that save you time while still adding to the quality of the finished product.
1 Use a Template. Instead of trying to create the wheel yourself, utilize a tried and true format template to structure your magazine. Tweak it where necessary to personalize it to the content you plan to deliver in each issue, but keep the format generally identical in each issue. Not only will readers know exactly where content will be located, but crafting the magazine’s content for each issue will be less complicated and take less time and effort so you can focus on bringing impactful stories, articles, and information to your readers instead of thinking about layouts, margins, and other details that templates provide.
2 Include Different Contributors. Readers love to hear from different voices, experts, and those connected to the niche topic. Reach out to those who have an interesting viewpoint, are well-known in their field, and will bring value to the magazine. Consider asking contributors to be guest writers, ask them for an interview or even simply cover them or their expertise in an article and ask for their input and approval. Magazines may also have regular contributors who run a column, advice area, or provide some specialized content that readers will enjoy. Think about who can provide content material for your magazine now and in the future and start making connections with those who may be able to contribute. While not all experts will say yes, some will jump at the chance to provide meaningful content for those who have common interests.
3 Utilize Standard Magazine Sizing and Bindings. Publishing a magazine, like writing a book, requires the author to make design choices that will determine the look and feel of the publication. Create a magazine that falls within the general standards for magazines (8.25 inch x 10.75 inch for standard and 5.5 inch x 8.25 inch for digest) so that it will fit in with other publications and feel familiar to the reader. While other custom sizes are available from many digital printers, using a standardized size will help readers instantly recognize the publication as a periodical and will help retailers and sellers to place it alongside like publications. In addition, select the right binding for your magazine. Common choices for magazines are Saddle Stitch binding, which utilizes staples to bind the pages and works for publications up to around 80 pages as well as Perfect binding, which creates a smooth spine and uses adhesive to secure pages to the cover. Perfect binding is ideal for publications between 8 to over 600 pages, making it a great choice to publish magazine copies.
4 Focus on Consumer Engagement. Writing great content is only part of the equation in making a compelling magazine. Readers need to be engaged in the magazine’s content. Get the reader involved by partnering with organizations or companies that hold events related to the magazine content, providing shopping opportunities for supplies or materials related to the content through QR codes or website links, or even giving readers a voice through Q & A columns or interviews.
5 Work with a Reliable Printer. Make sure you plan to work with a printer like Dazzle Printing that will turn your hard work into a gorgeous publication. A reliable, proven digital printing company will make the self-publication process stress-free so you can concentrate on creating great content.
6 Edit and revise content carefully. Nothing is worse than finding an error after your magazine goes to print. Hire a professional editor to assist if possible, so that the magazine’s content looks professionally polished and no errors slip into the final printed edition.
7 Enlist experts. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance in areas where you are not an expert. The cover of a magazine needs to grab the reader’s attention while also promoting that issue’s specific content or focus. Use a design expert to help you formulate the look and feel for your cover to make sure you get it right – and capture the reader’s eyes each month.
8 Seek advertisers and promotional opportunities. Ads will give the magazine an income boost while also connecting readers with companies or organizations that have the same interest niche. Pursue promotions or giveaways to feature in your magazine that will interest readers as well as engage advertisers with their customers. And don’t forget the power of social media in promoting the magazine, advertisers, upcoming stories, and other engaging content. Secure social media handles across multiple platforms to be a voice for your new or upcoming publications to reach readers instantly.
Writing and self-publishing a magazine is a big task, but creators with a solid plan and the motivation to create a best selling magazine find success all the time. If you are ready to turn your magazine dreams into a reality, crafting your plan and partnering with a trusted printer like Dazzle Printing is a great way to take the first step toward becoming a published magazine author.