So, you want to start your own online publication. No – not a blog, but a real publication where you manage a team of writers and artists, open up for submissions, hold pitch meetings, etc. With the rise of website builders like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and more, it’s gotten a lot easier to put up a website of your own.
HBut before jumping into that world and creating that office email, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started.
What’s your budget?
If you’re looking to turn this dream into a career, it’s going to take some cost analysis and much reflection if this is something you’re willing to commit a portion of your income or savings to. For instance, website hosting and buying a domain name (like .com or .ph) is going to cost you roughly P1,000 a year. It’s recommended to commit to buying a domain because it builds credibility and legitimacy for your publication.
Another cost to think about is outsourcing creatives for your different materials. If you’re not too talented in the graphic design or web design department, you can commission artists or designers to create a logo, a website design, or your publication’s branding materials. If you don’t do photography or own a camera, you might want to outsource a photographer to take pictures of the different people you want to feature, an image for an article you want to write, or content for the publication’s social media channels. These things are crucial in building an online content platform, which mostly relies on visual, audio, or written content for people to relate to.
You also need to think about how you want to promote your website. While social media platforms are free, it may be a tad bit difficult to build a following from zero. Most websites offer “boosting” or promotional advertising on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, which advertises your content to a certain demographic on the platform. However, these tools do come at a price. It doesn’t hurt to dig a little deeper into the world of digital advertising and really weigh for yourself if this is the route you want to take for promotions.
What’s your niche?
Even for publications that want to cover a variety of different topics, there still needs to be a target demographic. Are you looking more into young and hip millennials? Working women? An older audience? These questions are key, because they determine the brand and the tone of your publication. Twitter slang may not work for older audiences, in the same way that topics that older audiences are interested in may not be the same for younger ones.
Identify a few “pegs” or similar magazines in the same voice that you want to write in. What do their topics look like? How do they present themselves? Who are their main followers? This will help you plot out possible topics to explore and how you want to be seen as a brand.
What are your actionable goals?
If you’re looking into something sustainable and long-term, the same commitment has to be given to the preparation time leading up to this venture. Building and managing a publication doesn’t happen overnight!
In line with this, it does help crafting actionable goals to help guide you to where you want to be. A key guideline is to be as concrete as possible, especially putting a numerical goal under the different aspects of your venture. This helps you stay on track and is a better measure of where you are in the process. For example, writing down that you want to finish 5 feature articles or breach 200 followers by June 2020 is a better motivator than saying you want to have more articles or to grow your following at the end of the year. Breaking down the bigger vision into smaller tasks can help you get the ball going.
At its core, the secret to every successful publication is the planning behind it. With the internet at our fingertips, it’s not too late to make those dreams a reality!