Magazines Register

Content Strategy: What’s Your Plan for Meeting Your Readers’ Needs?

In our last article in this series, we explained how to develop the audience for your magazine launch. At this point, you already have your magazine’s concept and know your niche audience. In this edition, we’ll explore how to develop your content plan for your new magazine.

What is a content plan?

You’ve heard the phrase, “Content is king.” It’s the reason you publish. So, if content is king, your reader is queen. Your magazine provides the content that feeds your readers’ passions. You have a responsibility to serve your core readers, and a content plan can help you stay on that path.

A content plan is a strategy for creating, delivering, and maintaining useful content across the enterprise. It is an umbrella strategy that considers how all your content fits together holistically and shapes your readers’ experiences with your magazine. It should take into consideration your publication’s mission statement, target audience, business goals, and content objectives.

Your content plan lets your content team members know where to focus their efforts. When everyone on the team understands, and works from your core strategy, you are more likely to create a magazine that meets your audience’s needs; thus, helping to ensure your publication’s ongoing success. When everyone is on the same page, content ideas for filling your magazine’s pages flow easily.


Tips for creating a content plan

Your plan is not a cookie-cutter strategy that comes from some other publication or organization. Here are a few considerations to be mindful of.

  • Be consistent and faithful to who you are. Content should align with your magazine’s goals, ideals, style, and voice. Your strategy should outline what those are.
  • Your content strategy should be a blueprint that you as publisher, your content developers, and content creators can refer to for consistent guidance.
  • Your content needs to align with an explicit market opportunity. You might have passion and a great concept, but if there’s not a marketing opportunity associated with it, it will likely not be a profitable or sustainable venture. According to a Medium article, “Today’s print magazines are lifestyle products. The question is not ‘What does my audience want to read?’ but ‘What does my audience want to buy?’”
  • Your print magazine is not a standalone entity. Your content strategy needs to encompass print, digital, mobile, social media, video, in-person events, and more.
  • Although you want a cohesive overall content strategy, you’ll want to create a sub-strategy for each channel, including print, digital, and social media.
  • Study your competition. What makes them successful? Are there gaps in their coverage that you can capitalize on?
  • Make sure your content is credible, authoritative, and provides solutions for your target audience’s challenges.
  • Your plan needs to include your content sources — and how to budget for them. Do you have primarily in-house staff or experts? Do you hire freelancers? How much of your content is user-generated?
  • Include a plan for repurposing your content. Turn case studies into how-to videos. Rework a feature article into a blog post or a popular blog post into an in-depth feature. Turn an article into an easily-consumed infographic. Once it’s created, your content is valuable. Reuse it.
  • Demographics are a tool, not an answer. According to Bryan Welch, founder of B the Change Media, as quoted in a Mr. Magazine article, “If you go into the magazine business with a specific age range in mind, you are excluding people who might share the passions of your audience.”
  • Your content plan is not a static document. Your audience and our world are constantly changing — and your content strategy needs to change along with it. Ask your readers, use metrics, look at trends, and follow social media to determine your readers’ needs and wants. Develop your strategy to meet those needs and fill in the gaps.
  • Use analytics to measure the success and effectiveness of your content and delivery methods.

Once you have developed your audience and crafted your content plan, you can move on to the next step: advertising sales. But first, you’ve got to use your content plan to create compelling reasons why people should subscribe and why advertisers should invest in space on your magazine pages.

Ready to launch your next magazine — or your first? Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our  contact page to learn how Sheridan can help streamline and simplify your publishing processes.

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