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Spread the News: How to Start an Online Magazine Readers Will Love

man looking at online magazine

While physical magazine readership is down in the United States, digital magazine readership is up. That probably has something to do with the 4.5 billion people that are accessing the internet these days.

If you’re a person that loves content creation, enjoys the idea of running your own business and isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty, launching your own online magazine could prove to a be a rewarding venture for you.

There’s just one problem…you probably have no idea how to start an online magazine.

The good news is that you’re in the right place! Below, we break down how to get your online venture off of the ground!

1. Pick a Niche

The first how to start an online magazine step that every prospective publisher needs to take is picking a niche.

A niche is a topic of specialization. Travel, food, and conservatism are all common niches that you might find digital magazines building their product around.

Before you say to yourself, “my magazine specializes in all niches”, let us warn you that magazines that don’t pick a specific area of expertise tend to not do very well.

Pick a topic that you love and stick to it!

2. Build Your Content Team

An online magazine is only as good as the content that it puts out into the world. Unless you’re an expert on all things writing, photography, video production, and editing, we suggest that you assemble a small content team.

Content team members can be people that you know in your personal life (so long as they’re hard workers) or freelancers that are willing to contribute to your publication for compensation.

3. Build Your Website

How your website looks and runs will make or break your digital magazine. Given its importance, you don’t want to cut corners.

If you’re not tech-savvy, hire a professional that can get your digital magazine up and running on a content management system like WordPress. You’ll also want the guidance of a designer that can help your website reflect your brand’s unique style (which is important in the magazine space).

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A frequently overlooked aspect of the website building process that you’ll want to put a fair amount of thought into is your site’s web host.

A good web host provides a suite of managed web services that’ll make your life easier. Good hosts also feature fast servers that can handle influxes of visitors to your website without bandwidth issues.

Research your web host options thoroughly and only do business with hosts that you trust are going to provide exceptional service.

4. Batch Out 50 Evergreen Articles

There’s a saying in the blog/online magazine world that says before you can expect any semblance of success, you need to publish 50 quality articles. To that point, we recommend that before your magazine launches, you batch out 50 evergreen articles (articles that are not tied to a specific, time-sensitive event).

These articles shouldn’t be published all at once! You should schedule them so they roll out 2 to 3 times per week.

By batching 50 articles out prior to launching, you’ll keep yourself from giving up too soon when early traction for your magazine doesn’t seem promising.

5. Get Social

Nobody is going to flock to your magazine naturally. You’ve got to do a little bit of marketing to get audiences to take notice.

One of the lowest-cost ways to advertise digital magazine content is to create social media handles for your brand and to start sharing.

Remember, just because you tweet out your latest magazine content doesn’t mean that you’ll have the followers that you need to build traction. In order to develop a social media following, you have to engage with the online community by commenting on their posts, participating in discussions and building trust with prospective customers.

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6. Build Partnerships

No online magazine exists in a bubble. Almost all of them develop strategic partnerships to extend their reach.

An example of a magazine partnership might be a travel magazine offering free advertising space to a food magazine and vice-versa. That means of cross-promotion provides value to both magazine’s audiences while not costing either publication anything.

If you’re a magazine that only writes articles, you could also develop a partnership with a video production company that could make short videos out of your articles for digital distribution. Your articles provide the production company with scripts and they can link to your articles as compensation in their final video’s descriptions.

7. Sell, Sell, Sell

Most of a magazine’s revenue comes from advertisements. That means that shortly after starting an online magazine, you have to start reaching out to companies and selling ad space.

Services like Google’s AdSense makes this process simple since Google already has a ton of advertising clients that they can match with your publication. If you really want to be successful though, you’ll want to develop your own ad partnerships and cut Google out of the equation.

Third-party services like AdSense have odd rules of engagement that you might mistakenly violate one day which could result in the suspension of all of your ad dollars.

Rather than being beholden to that sort of volatility, it’s best to forge your own revenue pathways.

Wrapping Up How to Start an Online Magazine

The “how to start an online magazine” question comes down to picking a niche, creating good content, having a functional website and finding advertisers.

Sprinkle a little bit of marketing over that equation and you’ll have a successful digital publication going in no time!

To learn more about digital media and how you can get the most out of it, read more of our newest content.