author/source: Miles Galliford
Is it a Good Time to Launch an Online Magazine?
Depending on who you ask, most print magazine publishers will tell you that the magazine industry is at best stagnant or at worst in rapid decline. With this as a backdrop, is it a good time to launch an online or web-based magazine?
The answer is yes ………….. if you do it right.
Launching an online magazine covering a broad subject such as fishing or yachting, which relies on advertising for its main source of revenue, is a risky undertaking. It will need significant editorial resources and very good knowledge of optimising online advertising sales. Unless you have good funding, this is best left to the bigger publishing organisations.
If you want to launch a specialist online magazine, then there has probably never been a better time to do it.
One of the reasons that print publications are coming under increasing pressure is that people are turning to the internet as their primary source of information. The born-digital generation are now very important consumers of information. Their natural habitat is cyberspace.
There are also so many advantages of publishing online compared with print that the migration to the internet is inevitable; multimedia content, searchable archives, forums, global reach, search engine marketing, instant feedback through webstats, and greatly reduced publishing costs, is to name but a few of the benefits.
But the key word you should take note of is SPECIALIST online magazine.
Think niche. This is where the biggest opportunity is.
There are two potential core revenue models. You can either provide content for free and sell advertising, or you can charge members for access to premium content. Either model is valid. Also, these models are not mutually exclusive. You can provide some content for free with advertising and have a premium area as well.
Once you have an audience, there will be many other revenue opportunities you can enjoy, including selling downloads, reports, event tickets, webinars and much more.
Online Magazine Content
When creating an online magazine, the creation, planning and publishing of content is fundamentally different from the print world.
It is essential that the content is updated regularly -- that is, at least once a day. Updates can be a single paragraph of news or a multiple-page feature article. Ideally as with print, it is best to build a rolling three month content plan mixing news, features, reviews, how-to information, blog journal entries, and editorial.
An online magazine should also include functionality that is impossible to deliver in print. This will give you an immediate and sustainable advantage over your print competitors. This functionality includes:
- Streamed Audio and Video – It is now simple and cheap to produce professional audio and video clips that can be streamed from the website.
- Discussion Forums – Tools that build a community create loyalty, and loyalty creates strong recurring revenues
- Digital Downloads – Downloads can be podcasts, ebooks, reports, and software. They can be part of your daily content, they can be gifts to encourage people to subscribe, or they can be sold as an extra revenue stream.
- User Created Content – Encourage your users to provide content and other contributions. This can be comments about articles, ratings and forums.
Choosing a Platform
Online publishers have to continually adapt their business model. Therefore, it is vital that the platform that the publisher chooses is flexible enough to serve adverts, manage subscriptions, sell products, allow digital downloads and integrate new functionality. Avoid custom builds if you can, because the cost of upgrades and trying new business models can be very expensive.
There has never been a better time to set up an online magazine. Chose a specialist niche. Use all the benefits that the web enables, including multimedia and community-building applications. Finally, make sure that the platform you choose is easy to use and very flexible.