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Ideas On Starting A Magazine

Aug 17, 2007
Starting your own magazine is an ambitious project. I'm probably more timid than you, because I would suggest that you establish your journalistic chops first. If you've got a track record as an efficient, honorable, sharp-eyed journalist, you'll be better positioned to attract the funding you will need. Here are some ideas for you to consider. Perhaps work for a weekly or small daily newspaper in that area. They do features that intimately bond them to the lives and businesses they cover.

Talk to a larger newspaper in the area about establishing a special section each week devoted to coverage of your hometown area -- with you as the editor, of course. You will need to do a superior job of research in showing how under-penetrated that market is, what the population is, how it's growing, the demographic makeup of the area, etc. Perhaps a friend with experience in marketing could help you put together a sales pitch?

This one is a long shot, of course, because as a new journalist you might be viewed as idealistic and enthusiastic but still green. But you might consider it. (For example, I live in the Memphis TN area, and the newspaper here is the "Commercial Appeal" with a daily feature section called the "Appeal."

This newspaper put out another special weekly feature section as an insert for their papers being delivered to my area, the city of Collierville; the section is called the "Collierville Appeal" and has a hometown newspaper flavor. Papers love this because it greatly increases reader loyalty among outlying regions, and it allows them to offer very targeted advertising for businesses who may not want to advertise in the "big" paper -- but who love the "small" section's appeal.) Consider starting a "shopper" newspaper. It's primarily a vehicle for ads but has room for any features you want.

Consider starting your own publication online first. An online publication has virtually no expenses other than your ISP, domain name purchase website design, and the time you invest in writing. As it grows, you can begin selling ads locally, too. Talk to web-savvy friends or professors about whether such a venture is a good use of your time or hopeless as a possible money-making venture.

You might also consider visiting the website of Dr. Samir Husni, a professor at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He's known internationally as "Mr. Magazine" for his expertise in evaluating start-up magazines. I don't suggest that you contact him for advice because I don't know if he would be available, but you could look at some of the magazines that he has rated online and see what he thinks are good commercial ventures. This might (a) give you some ideas for your magazine or (b) give you the names of some magazines whose editors you could contact for start-up advice. You can go online and check out his website and see if he has any suggets about starting up a magazine. You might even be able to e-mail him and ask him some questions.

Visit the Small Business Administration's website for advice on how to set your business goals and how to write a business plan. The process is surprisingly complex and the site gives you a LOT of tips on areas you may not have considered. If you have a strong business plan, you also will have a much better change of getting investors to help you fund any start-up venture of yours. But I suggest that you examine their page for start-up businesses particularly closely and it will provide you with several days of reading. Don't skimp on the business plan, either, when you begin writing it; it will serve you well.

As I have stayed you should read as much of the information that I have just given you and even try and see what they have to say if you can e-mail them. Just remember that starting your own magazine is going to take time and money. Along the way you are going to feel the need to just want to quite. Don't just keep outing and it will help you to see that all things take time. If you have to get a job and do the magazine thing on the side and then work it from there.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant at http://www.4Magazines.info/. 4Magazines.info offers the greatest magazine subscriptions from a variety of top publishers. Browse through our selection of Lifestyle Magazines here: http://www.4Magazines.info/category/lifestyle.html.
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