It seems that everyone is creating online magazines nowadays: from small entrepreneurs to multi-million corporations. No wonder! Thanks to the relative ease and affordable costs of digital publishing, launching high-quality online magazines is available to many companies.
If you consider starting an online magazine and promoting it right away, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin with defining what an online magazine is.
What is an Online Magazine?
An online magazine (also called a digital magazine, e-magazine, or e-zine) is a digital publication on a specific subject or interest that is hosted online and can be viewed in a web browser on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. It’s an amazing way to reach a wider audience, generate revenue, and host significant archival content online.
Here’s an example of how engaging an online magazine can look.
The great news is that even if there are other magazines on a similar topic to yours, you might still be able to offer something uniquely valuable to your niche that establishes you as an expert and a thought leader in your field.
Before You Get Started: Choose Your Online Magazine Type
Even before starting to plan your online magazine launch, you should choose the type of online magazine that makes sense for your brand. Your options to create digital magazines online include:
An iOs/Android app
Source: Rolling Stones
A couple of years back building a bespoke app for your online magazine seemed like a worthy, albeit expensive, solution. It gave readers a fantastic experience on mobile devices and offered built-in distribution through AppStore and Google Play. Plus, you could get insights into views, clicks, and buys if you chose to track the app data.
But today, with an average person having dozens of apps on their smartphone, it’s almost impossible to make them install another one exclusively to access your content. The maintenance cost with the constant need for updates and bug fixes adds up to the challenges of this solution.
Of course, if you have a strong brand and an extensive readership that you can count on to download your app, this might be the best route for you to follow. The sense of premiality is undeniable, and you can get the readers to focus on your content without much problem.
A magazine subscription app
Native apps such as Amazon Kindle, Readly, Zinio, or Issuu allow your readers to subscribe for a monthly or yearly fee which allows them to access thousands of digital magazines through your platform.
Distributing your online magazine through an already-established app is a great way to reach a large user base and save yourself the trouble of creating your own app.
An HTML5 magazine
Flipbook is an interactive format for digital publications, magazines included. With it, your online magazine works right in a browser and looks like an authentic magazine with a smooth page-flip effect. But what’s more important, it can include videos, pop-up images, GIFs, and outbound links which make your magazine truly interactive.
This is a perfect option if you publish magazines as part of your marketing efforts. On the one hand, it has all the advantages of interactive publications, being immersive and engaging. On the other hand, it is much cheaper to produce and upkeep—you can do everything single-handedly in less than an hour.
💡 If you want to create a magazine but don't have a PDF yet, we've got you covered. Check out these free magazine Canva templates that you can design and then get back to FlippingBook for creating online magazines right away. What's more, FlippingBook has a convenient integration with Canva that allows you to seamlessly proceed from designing a PDF in Canva to publishing your PDF to FlippingBook, where you can customize it and make it fun and interactive.
Now, when you’ve chosen the best format for creating your online magazine, we’ll walk you through the main steps on how to start a magazine online.
Steps to Start a Magazine Online
#1 Define Your Niche and the Subject of Your Online Magazine
If the digital magazine is an offshoot of your business, you might already have a clearly defined unique value proposition, but you will still need to decide on the scope of topics you want to cover. And establish what your competitive advantage will be—find that distinctive point of view that will become a cherry on top of your magazine.
#2 Gather Your Content Dream Team
Unlike a blog that might have several contributors and publish articles one by one, an online magazine tends to curate content from multiple writers and industry experts. Or you might even need to hire full-time writers, designers, and photographers.
If you’re lucky, you already have all the experts you need in-house, but you might want to find some new ones, too. The best strategy is to build a dedicated internal team to create and manage content as well as maintain a consistent voice and quality across the articles.
Magazines are driven by well-written engaging content. So your main goal will be to give great, actionable, fun-to-read content to your audience who will take this knowledge and apply it in their own work. It’s also best to include some pieces that are light in tone and subject matter in addition to professional niche articles. For instance, insert lifestyle pieces that can still give value to your reader, but also offer a bit of a break in between the industry-focused content.
A copy editor will take your digital magazine from good to high-quality. They go over what you create with a fresh set of eyes, check your content for any mistakes, and offer insights that can improve your story. Some editors can also assess the entire issue to produce the most polished and cohesive magazine possible. Also, you can try a time-tracking app to make editing more efficient.
Beautiful design is an essential part of your online magazine reading experience. A designer will help you come up with a unique concept for starting your e-zine that fits your brand, is aesthetically pleasing, and draws the attention of potential readers on digital newsstands.
Your magazine will also need to have a certain layout and will most likely have recurring sections. How should you lay out your magazine? There are no strict rules, but you can get some inspiration from your own favorite magazines. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do they organize their layout?
- What visual highlights do they use?
- Which recurring sections do they contain?
- Do they have themed issues?
- What are the length and the tone of their articles? (First-person accounts? Long narrative stories?)
#3 Choose Magazine Creating Software
There are plenty of various platforms that you can use to create your online magazine. So check out these tools for any level of skills and choose whatever suits you the best.
- FlippingBook. If you want to make online magazines from PDFs, FlippingBook Online can be of great help. It’s an online service that allows you to create compelling interactive magazines with a great reading experience, smooth page-flip effect, and comfortable viewing on any device. FlippingBook offers a gallery of ready-made professional designs, custom colors and backgrounds, and an opportunity to add your own branding, videos, and links.
Check out this bright and impactful cover with bold use of typography and illustration that instantly catches the eye.
- Marq. An easy graphic design app that allows you to make multi-page layouts, manage all your brand materials and use them when building your magazines step-by-step. It features a variety of magazine templates with customizable elements such as fonts, colors, and images.
- Canva. An easy web design app that enables you to create digital magazines without much effort. It offers you a big library of templates, and all you have to do is to choose the one you like and customize it according to your needs.
- Adobe InDesign CC. Professional-level design software for PC and Mac. It’s the most famous and widely used software for creating multi-page layouts, and the first choice for many marketers, designers, and publishers.
- Bookwright. Book publishing software that offers a suite of creative functionalities for both beginners and more advanced users. It allows you to add your text or images, use high-design templates for popular online magazines, journals and newspapers, or start fresh with your own layouts.
#4 Research Your Options For Monetization
When you are launching your online magazine, you may not be thinking about how to make money with it, but you can still compile a list of the ways to monetize your magazine:
- Find the potential advertisers from the start. Digital ad revenues can come from diverse sources such as affiliate links, website banners, or digital magazine ads.
- Remember that any issue of your magazine should include content that eventually leads your audience back to your company’s site or to a product/service you offer. Integrate your magazine in a broader content strategy that supports and qualifies for your target audience.
- Another popular way of magazine monetization is to sell subscriptions to single copies, or monthly and yearly subscription packages. Eventually, you can enrich your offer by adding more of both free and paid digital issues. Some online magazines incorporate e-commerce into their issues encouraging readers to buy items directly from their magazine.
#5 Promote Your Magazine
A magazine is the perfect multi-functional product for your business. It gives you many opportunities to develop your marketing and enhance your content distribution strategy. And once your magazine is ready, it can be quite easy for you to integrate it into your existing marketing activities. Share your magazines through all the channels you have:
- Create a landing page or a special section on your website to promote your digital magazines.
- Post free excerpts from your magazine on your blog and offer subscriptions to read the rest.
- Leverage your social media pages. Whether you are active on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, use them as a medium to reach your potential audience and inform them about the latest issues. Plus, social media is a great place to carry out contests and competitions and gift your readers with subscriptions to grow the customer base.
- Promote the launch of your online magazine in your newsletter, send previews of future issues, and offer subscription discounts.
Add relevant keywords, optimize your magazine for SEO, and it will be attracting the right audience on its own.
These are the main tips and tricks on how to start an online magazine. Such a magazine can establish you as an expert in your area, engage your readers, provide value to your audience, and make money for you and your business. It’s a worthwhile resource for your audience and your industry so don’t hesitate to start making online magazines. Good luck to you!