Publishing an online magazine is an effective way to showcase your expertise on a topic, build trust with customers and followers and establish yourself as the go-to in the industry. If you’re looking to start an online magazine for your business, there are many ways you can do it for free or at a low cost.
Figure Out What Your Audience Wants to Read
The first step to online zine publishing is figuring out what your audience wants to read. It can be tempting to make the magazine all about your interests, but that may not be very engaging for your audience. With any online content, you want to make sure you’re providing value for them that they can’t find anywhere else.
Conduct research on your target market to understand your audience's demographic, geographic, behavioral and psychographic characteristics in order to learn more about their interests.
About what do they care? What problem are they facing? Can you help them solve that problem with the content in your magazine? These are the important questions that will help you figure out what kind of content you need to create.
Use the Right Tools to Create and Distribute Your E-Zine
There are several ways you can create an online magazine for free or at a low cost. You can find an online magazine template on the web and customize it for your needs. You can also explore platforms such as:
- FlipSnack: This platform enables you to create an interactive flipbook that you can host on your website.
- Issuu: With this platform, you can create an online magazine and add online ads to generate revenue.
- Amazon S3: If you just need a place to host the magazine, this is a secure and scalable option.
- Google Play Store: For those who only need a distribution solution, this is a good option. Keep in mind that they take a cut of your revenue.
- Apple iTunes Store: This is another distribution option with a large audience, and they also take a percentage of your revenue.
Write Engaging Content
Regardless of the format of your e-zine or where it’s hosted, the content is the most important aspect you need to consider. If your audience doesn’t find anything interesting to read, they will not flip through the pages again.
If you’re taking the free route, you can write your own content or solicit content from newcomers who do not charge for their services. Ensure that you have a strong editor on your team who can polish all the writing so it is of professional quality. You can also ask other writers and magazines for permission to republish already published pieces of content as well.
Build Your Subscriber List
In order to build your online magazine subscriber list, you need to promote your initiative to your target audience. There are several free or low-cost options you can try. Consider:
- Including an opt-in on your website or blog where readers can subscribe to your e-zine
- Commenting in online forums on your magazine topic to let people know about your publication
- Using direct email marketing to contact prospects who may be interested in your magazine topic
- Writing guest articles for other publications to promote your magazine
- Posting on social media about your new publication
Decide on Your Profit Model
If you’re looking to turn your online zine publishing into a business, it’s important to figure out how you will make a profit. You have the option to put up a paywall on your content. This means that readers cannot see the content unless they pay for a subscription. Some magazines offer a limited number of free articles to hook readers before putting up a paywall.
You can also sell ads in your e-zine to generate revenue. Be sure that your ads are not intrusive to readers so they can concentrate on the content. Readers may not enjoy their experience if they are constantly being bombarded by ads.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.