…in three easy steps!
1. Just start doing it. Making a blog, Tumblr or Medium page is free. Go to free events. Lose your inhibitions and introduce yourself to people you want to meet. Learn and keep an open mind. And write about it in a way that shares what you learned.
2. Make business cards and tell people what you’re doing. Write about the events. Talk a great art director into designing it. Start working on the content.
3. Work on more content. Keep telling yourself that it’s all going to get published in a new magazine.” (If you don’t believe it, no one else will. Working on it like it’s real is the only way you’re going to get it out the door.) Then publish it in your new magazine, which is a downloadable PDF from your blog, and send the link to everyone you know, including your mother. Don’t forget to promote it on social media.
4. Start working on the next one. Only 3 people downloaded your new issue? Doesn’t matter. The first one’s going to stink anyway. Get started on issue number two!
If you missed my RISE Austin 2009 session earlier today, that’s the Clifs Notes version. If you’d like the entire PowerPoint presentation, you can download it here.
UPDATE: Since those is still among the most popular posts on GivingCity, I thought I would add some more advice for those just starting.
But first let me add this: Keeping up with your community and making content is still hard work! There are no shortcuts, but there are simple steps you can’t take pretty quickly. And if you’re still looking for a shortcut, here’s one: Stop researching on the Internet and just start your magazine already!
A. Make sure you realize that your magazine has multiple audiences. Readers, first and foremost, yes, but also your advertisers. Dont think of them as the necessary evil forgetting your magazine out. On the contrary, your readers want to connect with these advertisers. If they’re reading your magazine because they love hip-hop or pit bulls or organic food as much as you do, then they probably spend money on this passion and are looking for businesses that offer products and services they want.
B. Which leads me to this: Before you ask a single business to buy an ad, ask them what they need, if advertising has worked for them in the past, what does work for them. Ask them for advice, for content ideas, distribution ideas, cover lines, writers, whatever. Remember, they’re entrepreneurs just like you are. They share your passion. Make sure they know you are looking for a business relationship, not just a check.
C. Don’t overlook the power of an event. Don’t wait until you have thousands of people reading your magazine every month, all you need is about 25 followers to start planning and publicizing your event. Make it appropriate to your content –barbecue hamburger cookout at the dog run park for your pit bull magazine, plan a Meetup at a bar before a show for your hip-hop magazine…. It’s not about having some huge blow-out, rather it’s about getting like-minded people together to meet in a fun social setting. Everyone will love you for it, and they’ll talk about it with their friends. just make sure you have copies of your magazine on hand.
UPDATE 3: I’ve been making this online news magazine site for almost 10 years now. We have a committed, plugged-in audience and a good presence in the community, but to take it to the next level, we’re partnering with another local online news site, which we’re really excited about. So to add to this post even further….
A. If you want to stay relevant, make content with your core audience in mind. And them only. Trust that there are more like them out there. If you start watering your content down, you’ll lose your most loyal readers and advertisers and you’ll be left with a lot of people who really don’t care if you exist at all.
B. I’m using the word “you” a lot, but remember to not take your audience size personally. Your content is competing with everything from corporate content entities to the blogger out of his basement. And people are fickle. At the same time, if you work as hard as I do on your magazine, it kind of does feel personal. Stay true to what your readers like and keep doing the work.
C. Partner as often as you can. You can increase your audience significantly if you decide to partner with a like-minded organization on content of an event. Reach out and make a plan, then make sure each of you agrees to promote the other.
Keep working on it!