The Business of Printed Magazines

The Business of Printed Magazines

While you’re in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for your purchases, you notice one of several journals whose headline immediately attracts your attention.

Whether your interest is show business, mechanics or general topics, for a few pesos, you take it home!

That is the reason why thematic magazines they are and will undoubtedly continue to be part of history as one of the most popular means of providing information of interest and current affairs. Today we will talk about how to get into the print magazine business.

The Business of Printed Magazines
First, we must define what the magazine publishing business which, in simple words is nothing other than the sale of advertising space (guidelines) based on excellent quality content on whatever theme you choose.

Business = Advertising = Content + Volume

If you look carefully at this formula you will understand that the key to success it resides in the content. And this is nothing other than the publication of professionally written topics that attract the interest of those who acquire the magazine, which generates a high sales volume. Therefore, we can think of it as a formula in which the earnings will be directly proportional to the quality of the songs.

We can think of 2 basic classes of posts:

  • Thematic Publications. On one or more topics of general or specific interest.
  • Commercial Publications. Focused on a specific or regional commercial market segment. Used for promotions and offers and where the content is practically translated into the range of services that the reader will find in the magazine.

What Topics Can I Post?
If you want to focus on a thematic publication, you will find countless topics such as: politics, sports, entertainment, arts, computers, science, fashion, video games, etc. Or you could create a product that includes a combination of them.

It is very important that the design of the magazine is attractive, entertaining, interesting and that the topics are covered in a way that the reader really enjoys it. Hence, it will be essential to select carefully:

  • Content selection (editorial). If you have the ability to write then you can make your own publications, which is very convenient or make publications of other authors with the respective permissions and acknowledgments.
  • The target customer segment. Like any product, you must ask yourself: who is this magazine aimed at? You must study and clearly define your market segment: entrepreneurs, women, children, youth, ages, economic segments, etc.

About Printing
The initial budget for your print project of a thematic magazine It involves different variable costs and for this it is mandatory to project an initial print run, for which you must consider the following factors:

  • Volume of copies to print
  • Frequency of publications (weekly, monthly, quarterly)
  • Publication quality (paper types)
  • Magazine thickness (No. of pages)

In this order of ideas, you should consider that a very high frequency at the beginning is not convenient because it would imply a huge printing cost while spacing it too much is not convenient because it would cost you to position your brand. A bimonthly or quarterly frequency is recommended to start.

The same can be said for the thickness and quality of the post. A publication that is too poor or on recycled paper is much less attractive than a higher quality glossy or coated publication.

And as for the volume of copies to print, a minimum of 5000 copies is recommended to dilute costs and ensure that you can have a good distribution strategy.

The million dollar question that many ask is how much should my magazine cost? And although it may seem like a simple aspect, it really needs to be considered strategically. In the first place, putting a price on an unknown magazine in the market is to end the product before it is born since there are few who would be willing to pay $ 1, $ 3 or $ 5 dollars for a magazine that is just beginning.

On the other hand, sponsors are not willing to pay a lot for the same reason and less if the volume of distribution is low. It will not be the same to advertise in a medium that reaches 5,000 people than one that reaches 35,000. Hence, an initial effort is also required to achieve some sponsors who you must conquer with the premise of “special introductory price” and betting everything on the excellent content that you will offer so that your magazine is a success.

Finally, the recommendation would be to “give away” the magazine during the first editions to people who are you target market specific. In such a way that they can not only become familiar with the product but also provide you with some very valuable feedback that will help to substantially improve your magazine. And after a few months when you have some regular volume of readers, then assign a price to it that helps you with printing costs and starts to make you profitable.

As you can see, if you do the job well from the beginning, in the medium term you will have more subscribers, buyers and also more sponsors who you can charge better for the guidelines. Again success lies in the quality of the content.

About the Distribution of Magazines
As I mentioned before, the distribution strategy is very important for your business to yield the expected results. Think about this: would you offer soccer balls at a ballet school? Of course not! Likewise, the correct choice of distribution locations will make the difference between fast or slow positioning.

Clearly identify who your potential readers are and where to find them. You must base your distribution strategy on 2 pillars:

  • Distribution in commercial premises such as supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, bookstores, etc.
  • Subscriber acquisition. These are individuals or companies to whom you sell an annual subscription to your magazine which is sent by post. This is very convenient because you can handle annual prepaid costs and also, a good number of subscribers is ideal to attract more and better sponsors.

Strategic Aspects
As in any company, so that the print magazine business produce good profits, you must sell a high volume and this depends on the combination of a series of elements that together make a big difference:

  • The name of your magazine
  • The cover design
  • Your magazine logo
  • Print quality
  • The quality of the content
  • The size of the letter
  • The size of the magazine (letter, 1/2 letter)
  • Added value

Each of these aspects requires a lot of creativity, enthusiasm and careful planning that only each entrepreneur with their own interests and vision can carry out. In addition to the fact that certain costs are specific for each country, making an initial budget is essential.

Like any good entrepreneur, you will have to do many tasks on your own and learn some new skills, however, it will always be advisable to seek advice or ask for the help of some friends who provide you with support in: advertising sales, lithographic printing, photography and graphic design and of course, if you are not a writer, you should look for those who write your topics.

Click here for help on how to develop a business plan.

Business Magazine Ideas

  • Collegiate Publications, specifically focused on promoting and announcing school activities such as graduations, sporting events, end of the year, etc.
  • Sports Publications, focused on a specific sport or a particular team. In many cases a more specific approach can be attractive.
  • Local Entertainment Publications. They are a kind of weekend entertainment guides whose content refers to activities in cinema, theaters, museums, excursions, concerts, etc.
  • Mall Magazines. They refer to a specific shopping center or shopping centers in a particular area that gather topics of local interest as well as publications of offers and even discount tickets.
  • Thematic Magazines. For example personal motivation issues, psychological issues, medical, health, etc.

A final tip is to make a draft print or also called “dummy magazine” that will serve as a sample to be able to sell advertising to sponsors. With a little help from a printing expert you can have a copy of this class for a low cost and it will help you greatly to develop the project.

Other business ideas:

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