Learn how to make your first publication with a free online magazine creator

So you want to develop a magazine, but don’t know where to start. Fear not, I am here to rescue you from the depths of despair. In this article, we will explore the basics of:

  • Identifying your audience
  • Targeting advertisers
  • Building an editorial
  • Design
  • Publishing

By the end of the article, you will understand just how easy it is to develop your online magazine in just five steps. So, let’s start by finding your target audience.

How to identify your audience

When creating an online magazine, it’s essential that you know as much about your target audience as is possible. Getting to know your audience is not as complicated as it may seem.

For example, if you are an organisation or regulatory body, your target audience will likely be your members. Now, whether they be retailers or service providers, it’s also likely that you will know most of these people too. Hence, it’s fair to say that you will also know; what they like, what they don’t like, what their business needs are and even the type of customer they target. So, when developing your online magazine you have a starting point from which you can build your magazine based on your audience.

That’s just one example, but you can apply the idea to any industry. So a religious organisation would target practitioners of their faith, a charity would target an audience similar to those who already regularly donate to them and so on.

What you want to do now is develop your target person. Start by drawing a person on a piece of paper and around that person list their wants and needs as they relate to your magazine subject.

Consider a few of the following when developing your ideal reader:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Race
  • Religon
  • Political Stance
  • Sexual Preference
  • Parental Status
  • Job Role
  • Household Income
  • Homeowner Status
  • Place Of Residence

Once you have researched and developed your target audience, seek a handful of them out, if you already know someone who fits the bill, then talk to them about your concept. Once you have their feedback, you can further refine your idea.

Advertisers

Now that you know your audience you can seek out potential advertisers. So, if your magazine is about Boxing you could look for companies that sell boxing equipment, or develop nutritional products, or even reach out boxing promoters looking to market their events.

I suggest a detailed spreadsheet, filled with contact information for your targets. I would include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Industry
  • Business URL
  • Business Phone Number
  • Contact Name
  • Twitter Account

Once you have a bulging spreadsheet, filled with all the relevant information, you are ready to move onto the next section – editorial.

Editorial

So, you understand your target audience; you have identified potential advertisers, and now you are better placed to start developing the different areas your magazine will cover.

But what areas will your magazine cover? Again you will need to consider your audience and advertisers. So, a magazine relating to furniture may have sections on bedroom furniture, living room furniture, furniture trends, and may even feature designers.

At this point, it’s a good idea to start creating test content which you can then run by your potential audience and advertisers. In fact, if possible, it’s a good idea to develop one whole issue from which you gain feedback.

However, before getting in touch with advertisers for the feedback you will need to develop a media kit. Your media kit will contain detailed information about your magazine; your target audience, editorial calendar, publication dates as well as specific instructions relating to artwork for advertisements.

Once you have your media kit and written content, it’s time to move on to the next stage – using a free online magazine creator to develop your publication.

Design

First, you will need to choose a desktop publishing application with which to design your magazine. If you don’t yet have one, then check out my article on the best tools for developing an online magazine.

Next, you will need to sign up with a free online magazine creator with which you can publish your magazine. If you haven’t already selected a magazine creator, then I suggest you read my comparison of the three best platforms available (Issuu, Joomag, and Yumpu).

Your design is crucial, and if you haven’t employed the services of a professional graphic designer, then I suggest you purchase an online magazine template from somewhere like GraphicRiver and build your magazine around that framework. Again my article on the best tools will help immensely in this area.

Publishing

Once you have a final design, you will need to upload your work to your free online magazine creator platform. Nearly all decent platforms have a drag and drop uploader, and they do all the hard work for you. Once you upload your file, it’s transformed into a gorgeous online magazine in just seconds.

So, now that you have an uploaded magazine you can begin to add a whole host of interactive features, such as; animation, audio, video and hyperlinks.

Once you have published your first issue, share it on social media, share it with your target audience, and potential advertisers. Gather as much feedback as you can and refine the product and your process as you go.

There you have it; you’ve successfully created a publication using an online magazine creator platform in just five steps. Be sure to let me know how you get on in the comments below.

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