What are the requirements of starting a magazine? What is the planning behind a successful magazine, and how do you execute it well? Find out here.

Tips on Starting  a Magazine by Confetti Media

If you’ve read my two earlier posts on starting a magazine, The Beginners Guide to Starting Magazines and Understanding Publishing Requirements, you would be able to set a good foundation, and would be ready to launch a magazine, and a publishing house. A firm foundation is always a good start, but foundations are no good unless you have a good plan to make use of the foundation. Starting a publishing house involves legal procedures and official documents, but starting a magazine requires great planning and perfect execution. In this post, I’ll tell you the most important criteria to run a successful magazine business.

There are two primary requirements, other than passion and determination, to run a good media house. You will need the Right Team, and the Right Partners.

The Right Team

You may have watched a lot of movies over the years, and you may have seen a lot of one-man army movies where the good guy vanquishes an entire army of bad guys in one and a half hours of screen time. Those scripts make for great movies, but reality is far different from those scenarios. If you intend to start a magazine, you can’t do it all by yourself. I’m not saying it’s not possible. All I’m trying to say is that it is inefficient. You could start a magazine yourself, or with a friend, and you could spend endless nights and long days working on all aspects of the magazine production yourselves, and may still be able to bring out a great magazine. It works, believe me, I’ve been there and done that.

But over time, you’ll understand that your talent can be put to better use by focussing on a particular aspect like writing, or designing, or perhaps, marketing. By doing this, not only would you be able to learn more about a particular niche of magazine publishing in detail, but you also have a responsibility to achieve the targets and follow deadlines. If you’re writing and marketing a magazine, chances are, you may spend more time writing and less time running around making money, or vice versa. And this could lead to imbalances in successful magazine requirements. Sometimes, great multitasking capabilities can actually turn out to be a shot in your own foot.

Use one-man or one-woman army tactics only if you have no choice, or can’t afford an exhaustive team. But then again, I’ve said this earlier, running a magazine is expensive business. If you don’t have the money or don’t think you can be successful soon enough, it’s better not to enter this field in the first place. But then again, don’t let me stop you from pursuing your dream. Think about your options, and ask yourself if you’re ready to take the leap.

Get in touch with people you know for recommendations, or talk to a good hiring firm, and hire people that you can gel with. But you have to be careful about your first set of employees. After all, they are going to be the benchmarks in their particular fields. You need leaders who are passionate and willing to trust you to lead them to greener pastures. But at the same time, they should be independent enough to take great decisions for the benefit of your company. This is crucial, and in most cases, can go awfully wrong.

One bad apple can spoil your entire basket, and a month later, every single one of your employees may walk out on you if you pick the wrong team. I could go on here, but you know what they say, you’re not going to know what the Sistine Chapel smells like unless you’ve been there. So, you’ve got great tips on picking a team in this post, go figure the rest. It’s your world, your dream, and your instincts that should guide you to your dreams.

The Right Partners

Running a magazine requires a lot of effort from several divisions. And chances are, you wouldn’t be able to handle all those requirements internally. There are two important partners that you could use, and I’ve mentioned them below. For any other partners you may need, you can see the link that I’ve added at the bottom of this post.

Printing Press

Printing of a magazine is one of the primary divisions that is almost always outsourced to a printing press. A good printing machine can cost millions of dollars, and as a start-up company, instead of investing in a low-cost printing machine, partner with a high-quality printing press. Speak with a few printers in your city and find out if you can look at them as long term partners.

Find out about their delivery timelines, the sort of machines they use, and the paper options they offer, and the other printing options like number of colours, effects, etc., and the different fancy paper cutting options they can provide. One of the easier ways to find a good printer is by flipping through the pages of leading magazines available in your city. Find out where they get their magazine published, and there’s a good chance that you may be able to pick a good printer right away.

Marketing Agencies

You have to understand this well, you cannot run a magazine on your personal investment forever. If you intend to do that, you’re really not cut out to be a businessman. You need to create a source of revenue generation that can bring back money to your office, and sustain your daily bread and butter. For this, you need an excellent marketing team, and the best marketing teams are really expensive, even if they’re worth it.

To save costs on marketing teams, you can partner with another media house, or with a marketing agency, and pay them a monthly commission and perhaps, even a retainer fee, to generate revenues for your magazine. But not all of them are good, so be wise when you go on a selecting spree. But as a word of caution, know that marketing agencies will also work with other magazines just like yours, and you can actually end up killing your own company if you’re not careful about the other magazines that are marketed by your marketing agencies. My tip to you is this, hire a marketing agency when you start a magazine, but only until your company is established enough to have its own marketing team.

These are two of the most important partners that you would need when you start a magazine, on a lower budget. But the list doesn’t end there, in fact, there are several other partners that you would need to ensure that your magazine runs smoothly, and at a lower cost than regular publishing houses.

Click here to read the next part of this article on Partners that you would need when you Start a Magazine.