In previous articles in our series about launching a magazine, we’ve covered building an audience, developing a content strategy, selling ads, and finding funding. Although this article falls under content strategy and is about repurposing content into special issues or collections, it falls outside regular issue production for many magazine publishers. And even though you might not be preparing a special collection within your first few months of launching, it’s good to be aware of these strategies at the onset as they can help make future article curation much easier.
What are collections?
We’re not talking about a library of back issues. These magazine collections are groups of thoughtfully curated articles or issues gathered and repurposed into “collections” issues. They’re filled with articles of a certain theme — for example, technology, medical breakthroughs, a specific year or decade, an anniversary edition — or a group of issues from a season.
Why do publishers produce these collections? Repurposing previously released content is a great way to get more mileage out of what you’ve already written, edited, and published. Some magazine publishers even create collections to publish later as books.
Planning your collection
When you launch a magazine, you may want to think about what makes sense for future collections. Planning ahead helps spur ideas. Some things to consider:
- Create a system to categorize articles as they’re written, edited, and published. Add tags to make it easier to identify articles for a collection by topic, date, theme, or other metric.
- Decide whether or not you’ll produce collections as regular special issues. Consider, for example, Vogue Paris Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer fashion collections. Perhaps your collections will focus on particular topics such as technology, millennials, inspirational articles, or reader favorites. It makes sense for some publishers to offer annual seasonal collections: In our example above, the fashion industry is aligned with seasonal clothing. Seasonal issues such as holiday themes can also be good choices for regular collections, whereas topical collections lend themselves to special editions not restricted by date or season.
- Be sure to consider digital collections; they have the flexibility to accommodate ongoing article additions. Time Inc.’s Time Vault is a digital collection that allows users to browse by topic or date and is continually being updated.
- Keep track of the articles subscribers read most, how long readers remained on popular pages, and which articles generated the most comments or social media buzz. While most publishers already collect these types of data for their advertising, circulation, and editorial planning departments, these metrics are also good candidates for capitalizing on reader interest.
Magazine collections and special editions are great ways to add revenue with minimal effort. Curating these articles, however, should be an ongoing process of categorizing and paying attention to readership interests. Tactics like these allow publishers to have as much prepared in advance as possible so their collections aren’t out of date as soon as they’re released.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.