VP Production and Technology, Texas Monthly
Keep a close eye on your production processes and the tools you are using to put your books together to make sure you’re leveraging the best technology for your needs. Many tools Texas Monthly has hosted on our premises will potentially be augmented or replaced by cloud-based applications: Office365, hosted accounting, cloud-based document collaboration tools (Google Docs, MEI’s TruEdit), server backups in the cloud (Backblaze, Carbonite), etc. The cloud is a mature ecosystem now, and the downsides (potential loss of access, for instance, which is usually very rare) are now far outweighed by the upsides (remote access, mobile application tools, disaster recovery, replacement of unwieldy tape backups, reduced hardware footprint, etc.).
Associate Publisher, Austin Fit Magazine
My top tip for running a successful publishing business follow the following practice. Build relationships. Your number one priority should be to develop relationships with the audience your publication caters to. This is both readers and potential advertisers. Spend as much time as possible to meet with those in your community that can give support whether it be advertising, editorial ideas, or feedback on what they enjoy most in your publication. This will pay off enormously in the long-term success of your brand.
Local Display Manager, Victoria Advocate
Be sure you are using high-resolution images in all photos included in your magazine.
This goes for images used for editorial support and advertising. There is nothing less appealing for a glossy magazine than seeing a noticeably low-resolution image that looks like it was just pulled off someone’s website. This is even more critical if you are positioning your magazine to be a high-end magazine. Not only will a poor image make the quality of the content within the magazine suffer, but it will also hurt your advertisers if they are providing low-resolution images as well. Remember, readers like to read the content and ads when reading a magazine.
Be sure to ask your advertisers for the right criteria when gathering ad copy for an ad. The standard minimum ppi for magazine images is 300 ppi or greater. You would also want to ask for the file types that work best with print images. A PDF, JPG or TIFF would be ideal for most graphic designers. Don’t get lazy or try and skip steps in this area, or your publishing company will deeply regret it.
Editor-In-Chief, Root Magazine
As a magazine publisher, it can become very challenging when you work with people who don’t understand your world. That being said, some tips I would have is for my fellow colleagues to comprehend the importance of high-resolution images and spec dimensions. Oftentimes, people think they can just send us a photograph from their phone and we can make magic happen. Not true! Our goal is to produce an amazing looking product every time and we can’t do that with pixelated imaging and ads with borders around them. That’s not lit! 🙂
Publisher, The Austin Kid’s Directory
Take time to meet your clients personally if at all possible and visit and take an active interest in their businesses. Having consistent contact with your clients and following them on social media helps you stay aware of changes in their businesses which in turn helps you tailor their advertising in your publication to be as effective as possible. And if ever they have a concern they are far more likely to talk with you about it if they know you personally, not just through email. This will all go a long way in helping to retain advertisers.
Cyndy Slovak Barton
Publisher, Barton Publications, Inc.
Top Publishing Tip: Accuracy and quality really matter. We have no less than four people proof each special edition magazine before it is uploaded to the printers. We have taken over several Chamber Guides because of the quality of our writing, photography and proof-reading. It is amazing how many times someone will come to us and ask if we will put out a magazine for them because they were disappointed with a previous magazine. And one of the top reasons? Typos and inaccuracies.
Our resolution for 2018 is to “Grow a Concept, Not A Company”. After 20 years in the publishing industry, it occurred to me that I want a business that I love and love to run. We have gone through all sorts of changes over the years due to everything from the economy, employees, changing customer needs and me! Some have been imposed on us and others were created internally. I believe that a clear concept of where you want to go and staying true to your vision is the key to owning and running a publishing company in an ever-changing industry that you can love forever! Everything else will fall into place!
Gary Pittman Jr.
Executive Vice President of Sales and Operations, PCI
Publications & Communications Inc. of Austin, Texas, pioneered niche publishing in the computer industry 39 years ago, becoming successful with monthly and bimonthly mailed publications with a formula of credible industry and product news, and a section of exclusive in-depth articles written by experts in the field. Today, niche publishing is common with multiple print publications in almost any field you can imagine. These print publications also compete with three to five online publications putting up news and other content daily. Without the cost of printing and mailing, these online publications have been able to expand their editorial reach to make their daily product valuable in a world that revolves around the need for speed.
So what we, like all of the printed publications in these various markets, have done is to add an online component that competes with these “online dailies.” Our online product consists of an electronic version of our most recently printed publication, which is supplemented with daily news and other information. Our challenge for the future is adjusting our monthly or bi-monthly printed publication to this dual publishing paradigm so that it not only drives readers to our online presence, but our online presence creates a demand for the print product.
Ben Jones Jr.
Editor, What Now Magazine
Tip – Concentrate on an area that you are familiar with. In our case, What Now Magazine focuses on local people, places, and events in South Louisiana – where we reside and celebrate in the culture. Also, listen to your readers and advertisers. After all, they are the ones who help your publication thrive. Fuel your pages with what drives them to read. It also doesn’t hurt to change and adapt your publication when you find new and creative ideas. Be adventurous! Make friends with the influencers and drivers of your community – they are the ones who will support you in return. Finally, master time management! It will be your key to success in the long run!
President & Publisher, Active Acadiana Magazine
Here are a few tips I can share after almost four years of publishing our monthly magazine, Active Acadiana. Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, we distribute a free health & fitness magazine in our local community.
Subject matter: The subject matter of your publication should be important to you. This is a tough business, requires a lot of organization and coordinating, it’s got to be something that drives you.
Content: Create content that your audience will want to consume and share. This is probably the most important area. With so many other things in our lives that compete for attention, the content that you produce must engage the audience at a personal level. Defining your audience and their personas are one of the foundational exercises that should be performed.
Supply Chain: Select solid people to work with. Content Creators, Creatives, Printer, Warehouse, Circulation and Rack Locations. These areas are critical to publishing. Establish and document operating guidelines for each one of these areas. Content calendars, circulation maps, and other process-oriented tasks always flow better with established guidelines and adopted processes. There are a multitude of online tools and apps that can get you organized, streamline communication and keep you that way.
Planning: Always be planning. Put a routine in place and block off a certain part of the week for planning. Plan content, circulation, deadlines. Keep it all in front of you.
Be Digital: Establish a social media presence from the start. This is a great way to build a relevant audience, with emphasis on relevance. Building a relevant audience will help you get to know them, which makes content planning much easier. In Addition, build a great website that is easy to navigate, this often gets neglected. Make sure that it is mobile responsive, and has great usability across all devices. Lastly, make a digital PDF version of your publication available online, there are many options out there that can facilitate this.
Finally: Don’t give up. Launching a publication for the first time is challenging. Keep moving forward, no matter what. In the beginning, you won’t know everything and there will be many unknowns that may cause discomfort. Some things you’ll learn along the way, and that’s okay. After almost two decades of operating my own small businesses, I can only guarantee you this one thing: Change is always around the corner, you will always be learning as the landscape changes, but it’s a fun ride. Enjoy it.
Communication is key. It pays to be in direct communication with all of your publication’s contributors. By setting clear expectations on communication from the very beginning, you are setting the tone for how you prefer to do business and what you will not tolerate. Clear communication ensures that all parties feel their needs are being met and that your deadlines are being met!
Founder, Hill Country Planning and Hill Country Weddings & Events Magazine
Create deadlines that are sooner than you may actually need. Between articles, advertisements, design, printing, etc., last minute changes are inevitable. Having time built in to address these changes is key for alleviating stress and making sure your final product is a total success.
Engage your audience. We love to get readers involved through various photo contests. Each issue of Hill Country Weddings & Events Magazine includes a cover photo and top engagement photos that were submitted and then voted on by our Facebook community. We also feature pictures of our readers holding the magazine, which is always a lot of fun and brings a sense of community to our publication.
Strategize your content a year in advance. By knowing what each issue is going to cover, you are then able to target key advertisers and guest writers who align with that specific issue’s primary messaging and theme. This creates a cohesive publication.
Owner/Publisher, Coastal Choice Media
To MEET YOUR OWN DEADLINES! This is sometimes difficult and you need to stay in close communication with your printer, but they need to know immediately of any changes in delivery or delay of materials to be published.
President, Shweiki Media, Inc.
As a publisher, it’s important that you have a complete understanding of the numbers that drive your business. One of the most important financial documents to understand is the income statement.
The income statement, sometimes called the profit and loss statement, is the financial Scorecard of a business.
Four Most Important Numbers on the Income Statement: Revenue, Margin, Profit and Cash
- Revenue: Money coming in the door.
- Margin: Margin is calculated by subtracting Revenue from Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). COGS are the direct expenses associated with producing a product. In the publishing business, your product is your magazine so these expenses include printing, graphic design, editorial, photography, etc.
- Profit: Profit is equal to Margin minus Fixed Expense. Fixed Expenses are the expenses that you have each month whether you publish a magazine or not. These include rent, utilities, salaries, etc. Profit is the money left over after all expenses are paid.
- Cash: Cash is the Money collected. How is Cash different from profit? Let’s say you sell an ad for $500 but the client does not pay. On paper, it may show a Profit but the reality is that you don’t have the money in the bank. Profit on paper is nice but money in the bank is the most important thing.