Get Ready to Work: A Guide to Starting a Magazine in 2020

Get Ready to Work: A Guide to Starting a Magazine in 2020

Are you thinking of starting a magazine? Creating a great magazine on a topic you care about can be a fantastic life achievement. To be able to hold in your hands something that was just an idea in your head is something many of us have dreamed of.

A good magazine can also make you some money as people buy it either one issue at the time or via subscription.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to start a magazine.

Come Up with a Good Topic

The first thing you need to decide upon is the topic. What niches are you interested in? And can you come up with something original within that niche that someone might want to buy?

There are many history magazines on the market, for example, that specialize in all areas of history from All About History, National Geographic History Magazine to the BBC’s History magazine.

But what about a magazine focused on a particular area of history, such as Egyptian history or the history of the American Civil War? While the audience for this magazine might not be huge, they will be loyal, and it can organically grow as time goes on.

Generally, it’s also good to pick a topic you are interested in rather than a topic that you find dull or boring. Although you might not be putting together this content, you will be spending time researching the market and speaking to other people in this industry. You want to create a magazine that you find fun and exciting.

Do Some Audience and Market Research

The next step is to determine who your audience is through market research for your magazine. Are they older or younger? Do they smoke, or do they generally avoid cigarettes? Are they male or female? Once you have established who your audience is, you can then start to decide how you will target them and what kind of content they might like to read.

Speak with as many people as you possibly can and trial some content. Hire some writers temporarily to write something for you. Have it laid up into a magazine, then invite some potential readers to a workshop day and ask them what they think about this sample content.

Design a questionnaire that asks some critical questions that can help you move forward with the process. But also don’t be afraid to ask your audience questions yourself. You could hire an agency to do this for you if it’s something you find challenging.

Hire Great Writers and Pay Them Well

Hiring great writers is essential. These are the people that are going to bring your magazine to life. You don’t want to hire cheap writers who churn out poorly written content with no research.

You will find many people on the internet willing to write your content for only a few dollars, but the chances are you will get what you paid for.  

Instead, focus on finding writers you can have a great relationship with going forward that are experts in their field. Writers passionate about history or travel will be much more willing to go the extra mile for you rather than writers who find this topic dull and will write about anything.

What Should You Expect to Pay?

You can expect to pay upwards of $150 per 1,000 words for a good quality writer, but those with bylines in national newspapers and magazines can charge upwards of $1,000 per 1,000 words.

If you feel that writing the magazine is going to be a full-time job, then you might want to consider hiring some writers on a more permanent or contract basis. This doesn’t mean you have to find an office and have your writers sat around in a 9-5.

Most writers today work remotely and will do for the foreseeable future because of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Hire Great Editors

Every great writer needs a great editor. Even if you are paying your writers $1,000 per 1,000 words, you should still not expect them to edit themselves. No writer can have a clear and objective opinion about their own work.

To make your magazine a first-class publication, you need to hire one or even several great editors. They can shape the strategy of the entire magazines to make sure it all flows nicely, and they can also nurture writers to make sure they are always at the top of their content game.

Hire editors who care about people as much as content and let them manage the writing team for you. Let them liaise with the graphics team you will know all about how to print a zine for you. You can oversee the finished product and the finances.

Starting a Magazine Is Great if You Get the Right Team

Starting a magazine can be great, but only if you get the right team together at the right time. You need to ensure you have great writers who understand your audience and can put together the perfect magazine for you.

Hiring writers who only charge a few dollars an hour will not get you what you want. Be prepared to budget for this. 

Be sure to do your audience research to make sure you know who your audience is, the content they like, and the kind of price they are willing to pay to purchase your magazine. If you are interested in reading more about starting a magazine, be sure to check out the rest of our site.