Magazines Register

Can (and Should) You Start a Magazine in 2022?

Some might consider you a rebel for starting a magazine this year. We’re not talking a digital publication. While the launch of new print magazine products has slowed in recent years, it does still happen — albeit with more caution.

Let’s start with some good news: Readers still prefer print over digital. Maybe it’s the “bird in the hand” quality or the feeling of owning a tangible product. Maybe we’re just getting sick of looking at our screens all day. Either way, it’s a comfort to those looking to start a magazine this year.

But it’s important to understand the evolution of print magazines. Many newer publications are luxury items published for specialized niche markets. They’re selling in strategic, narrowly defined channels with marketing efforts focused on brand loyalty over an impulse buy. So, should you start a magazine this year?

Understand the challenges

In a digital world, print magazines are glorious throwbacks. They embody the idea of tangibility as desirable and rewarding. The key words to remember when creating a new publication are “target audience.” Magazines are enjoying popularity again, but there is more focus on limited edition, coffee table collectibles than widespread, general appeal.

Like tech startups, today’s magazine launch strategy is to start slowly, create buzz, and then either scale or fizzle. What determines whether a new magazine will succeed? The answer these days is market niche. Find the right fit, and you’ll find publication longevity.

Niche is everything

The days of leisurely browsing for magazines may be over, but publishers can live with that — if they can adapt to the niche market effect. Designing a modern magazine means piquing the interest of a specific audience and tackling topics from a fresh, relevant perspective.

You can’t choose a concept in a vacuum. Today’s magazine market faces too many challenges for publishers to neglect their due diligence and just run with an idea. Understanding audience demographics is the only way to target the digital channels your audience frequents. Use this information to build title, tone, and even the visual style of your new publication. This is how publishers can develop relevant content that converts subscribers. It may feel like a full reverse from the old ways of brainstorming magazine ideas, but the market is too risky not to be deliberate about your print magazine’s relevance in an increasingly digital world.

Hiring staff (i.e., managing freelancers)

Staffing your new print venture also looks a lot different today, and it’s something else to consider when planning for launch and scalability. One-third of today’s U.S. workforce are freelancers. Since budget is almost always an issue with a magazine launch, your goal is to understand, attract, and manage freelance talent. You can outsource almost anything to freelancers, but to manage your project well, there’s a trick to finding the right talent. First, there are a few things to consider, including:

  • What is your talent budget?
  • How will you manage freelance assignments, deadlines, and revisions?
  • What are your freelance assignment requirements? Do you need writers, graphic designers, layout specialists, all of the above, or something entirely different?
  • How will you define and ensure successful project completion?

Once you have your needs and processes defined, you are more prepared to navigate the freelance talent market and find what you need to successfully produce and launch your new magazine.

With a realistic portrait of the challenges they’re likely to encounter, publishers are empowered to make smart choices for new magazine launches. Find your niche, develop your talent strategy, and check the Sheridan Publishing Excellence Interview Series for insight on best practices for your daily work.

Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to see how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.

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