Posted By Seamus Barton
How to Make a Magazine in 9 Steps
People have long been skeptical of commercials, advertisements and anything that feels too “salesy.”
That’s why, over the past few years, companies and brands looking to get their message in front of their target audiences have had to get more creative and find ways to package their messaging into a format that people will not just look at, but also like.
One of the best ways to do that is to use a medium that people have consumed, trusted and enjoyed for decades: the magazine.
Magazines are a great way to get your message in front of your target audience without feeling too heavy-handed. When done well, a good magazine will not only provide a massive advantage for the business that publishes it but also leave the reader with a positive impression, creating goodwill that further strengthens the brand.
If you’ve never published a magazine or catalogue before, the process may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few key steps any business can use to create a magazine and—crucially—get it into the hands of their prospects and customers.
1. Decide on a topic
The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a topic that’s related to your business, but not about your business. For instance, if your business is a travel agency, it might be tempting to create a magazine that’s all about your agency: your wonderful staff, the excellent service you provide, the advantages you have over your competitors. But a piece of printed material that’s all about one business isn’t a magazine; it’s a brochure.
Instead of creating a brochure that’s all about your business, you could create a travel magazine and have your travel agents write stories and articles about amazing places and trips that they can help your customers arrange. This would not only inspire your customers but also position your agents as experts who know the travel business inside and out.
2. Pick a title
Your title should focus on your topic, not your business. A good rule of thumb is to choose a name that suggests authority and expertise so that your business is automatically associated with positive emotions. To stick with the travel agency example, you might call your magazine “Wanderlust: The Magazine of X Travel Agency.” The word “wanderlust” is evocative and emotional, and suggests that your business sends people on fulfilling adventures.
3. Start with the cover story
The single most important article in any magazine or catalogue is the cover story. This will be the first and most prominent piece your reader sees, and if they only flip through or skim your magazine, as many people do, it could very well be the only story they end up reading.
Think about the single most important message, product or service you want your readers to know about, and come up with a cover story idea that could convey that message. For instance, if the most profitable type of trip your travel agency sells is luxury boat cruises, you could do a feature that focuses on all the benefits of boat cruises and why they’re so amazing.
4. The cover image is key
Once you’ve chosen your cover story, there’s one more step you need to think about before writing it: the cover image that will accompany it. The cover is by far the most crucial part of the magazine—if the cover isn’t exciting and enticing, chances are your reader won’t even bother opening it and flipping through it.
When coming up with ideas for your cover story, pick three or four that you think could work, then start looking for photos that could serve as the cover shot. To maximize the effectiveness of your printed magazine, choose the cover story that has the best photo, even if it’s not the story whose message you most want your audience to see.
5. Create your other articles
Once you’ve chosen your cover story, start thinking about what other articles your magazine should have. You can repeat the same process you used for the cover story here: think about the products or services you want people to know about, and then find ways to write about them that will be engaging and enticing to your readers.
6. Choose your featured stories
Take the stories that you thought of as potential cover stories—but which didn’t have the strongest photography—and use them as your feature stories. These are the longer stories that will run in the back half of your magazine and take up a large part of the page count.
As these are the messages that you considered almost important enough for the cover, make these stories longer so you can both convey more information, and establish your company’s authority on these topics.
7. Choose a reputable printing company
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on the creative process—if you don’t select a reliable and dependable printing company to print your magazine for you, it will never get into the hands or households of your readers.
When you’re looking to print and publish a magazine, two keys to look for in a good printing company are their printing services and their direct mail production.
8. Printing services
Magazines and catalogues can make a unique impact on your customers, but there are several things to consider before they can be printed. The size of the magazine, the way it’s bound, the weight of the pages, and the glossiness of the cover are all factors that need to be considered.
An excellent printing company will have a lot of experience with magazine printing and will be able to help guide you to make decisions on each of these core factors.
9. Direct mail
Printing a thousand copies of your magazine won’t do you any good if the copies remain stacked up in your office. In order for your customers to see and receive your publication, you’ll need to mail it in a way that’s not only cost-effective but will also help your magazine stand out from the dozens of other pieces of mail your customers might receive that week.
A good printing company will not only have experience with the physical process of creating your magazine, but they’ll also understand the ins and outs of direct mail delivery and how to put your newly printed piece of collateral into the hands and households of your target audience.
Direct marketing is impactful
Creating a magazine is a great way to package your message into a product that’s appealing to readers, establishes your brand as an authority on your chosen topic and creates goodwill amongst your prospects and customers.
If you’ve never created a direct mail magazine before, working with a printing company that has experience with both printing and mailing magazines is the best way to ensure you create a high-quality product that reaches the households of your target audience.
For more information about how to create, print and mail a magazine or catalogue, call Troi Mailing Services in Toronto at 1-866-486-9350 or contact us here.