Digital magazines will never take the place of print magazines. But they are cheaper to produce than print. They act as a marketing tool for your talents. Collaborations with brands, invitations to conferences, advertising, free products are some of the perks. So how do you build your digital empire?
Digital Magazines Require Strong Content
Before you publish anything planning out your content is paramount. I spent six months planning every issue before THINKmag made it’s debut. Knowing exactly what each issue was going to contain and how it was going to look saved a lot of time. Plan your front covers and back covers for the year. You must create consistency immediately. Taking the time to workout your content allows you to get a clear picture of your magazine. How many sections would you like to have in your magazine? Name all your sections. I put them all on post-its so I could move them around to see how the magazine flowed. Do the same thing. Find out what you’re missing now and what you do not need. Do you want a free editorial calendar? You can find it here.
Organise Your Contributors
Line up all your contributors now. More is more. Find as many writers for your digital magazine as possible. You want to end up with more content than less. You can always bank articles for future publications. Here is an article with some ideas on finding writers for digital magazines. Do create a submission guidelines document in Google docs. You can share this document after a contributor agrees to write for your magazine. Contributors can be fickle. Make sure they know the rules for submissions. Give a false deadline that’s earlier than you require. You don’t want to get stuck waiting for articles to come in. You want all your content in earlier than needed for layout. Find writers that have a voice similar to yours. Having different points of view in a few subjects makes a well rounded magazine.
Flip Through Or Blog Format
Creating a flip through magazine alllows you the option of full page images. But if you decide on a magazine layout that’s a blog format make sure to have large images to get a similar feel. You want the images to be engaging. Do not post small images, they are unattractive to the viewer. You don’t want them to slow your site down either. Make sure to compress images to a smaller file size without losing the quality. I would suggest no more than 700 pixels x 700 pixels for images in a blog format. Be consistent with image size on a blog it makes your article look more like a magazine.
Decide how many times you want to publish your magazine per year. A monthly magazine might be too much to take on straight away. Start small and build up. Always build up not down. Digital magazines can be published bimonthly or quarterly. Whatever feels comfortable for you to manage is the best choice. You will need a publishing schedule to stay consistent. If your magazine publishes on the first of the month, make sure to stick to this schedule. Viewers like consistency. You need the consistency for yourself and your contributors.
Did you register your domain yet? Create a free splash page with this site. It will act as a placeholder and you can start collecting subscribers for your launch.
How to find writers for your digital magazine is one of the top five most important things you should do. You can create a magazine on your own, but it will have your voice throughout. You want to have a variety of voices in your magazine in the same direction as your magazine. It is important to decide the tone of your magazine early on. What is your point of view? What is your magazine’s point of view? Do this now before you start to find writers.
Find Writers In Forums
If you are active in forums, this is a great place to start. Forums in your niche already have people who are writing and may consider contributing to a digital magazine. Let’s take fitness as an example niche market. There are fitness forums and groups online where people contribute their point of view. If you don’t belong to any online groups, now is the time to start. Don’t join in seeking out writers, genuinely contribute and build relationships. These are people that you may have to manage one day. You want to have a good rapport going forward. Managing a team of people comes with a host of daily challenges.
Working out a trade with another writer’s site is a great way to gain contributors. Both of you gain content. Ask to contribute on their site in exchange for an article in your digital magazine. Agree to a word count that’s suitable for both parties. Both of you gain valuable backlinks. If you can work out a regular contributor schedule that benefits both of you even better. Be careful of this one, however, I’ve had people go back on their word after they got one thing from me. Be clear of your guidelines and agreements.
Find Writers (Paid)
Decide if you wish to find writers whom you will pay early on. It’s always wonderful if writers want to contribute for free. Writers must write in order to keep their skill sharp. Remember you get what you pay for. Sometimes just paying for writers is the easier option. You can find good writers using Upwork. I would suggest finding someone in your network who has used writers from Upwork before and start there. Ask to see samples of their work. You want to determine if this is the right voice for your digital magazine. Can they capture the tone of your magazine? It’s very important to establish continuity. Don’t take just anyone. Your magazine will reflect that.
Friends & Family
Tap into your personal network. Tell everyone you know you’re starting a digital magazine and you’re looking for contributors. You will find at least one person through your own personal network. That person may introduce you to another. It worked like that for me. Make a list of all the people you want to email or speak with. Spend a day sending out your inquiries, then sit back. Make your inquiry short and casual. Don’t forget to mention your niche. You desire qualified responses. You want to spend your time wisely so you can create your dream team.
Becoming a fashion designer isn’t the easiest profession a person can choose. The market is over saturated, extremely competitive with a high failure rate. You have to really love it because it will test you. But there are things you can avoid to make your journey to success a lot easier. Follow these six steps to save you time and money as you create your very own fashion empire.
This may not be what you want to hear, but do not go mad buying fabric. I know it excites you. Producing a collection when you don’t have customers is just, well, stupid. You want to see your designs come to life but this is a business. You’re in business to sell and make money doing what you love. Please keep that in mind. You’re a new designer going into the market, think and grow. Buying fabric should be viewed as an investment when becoming a fashion designer. Fabric is a tool that you will use, just like cutting shears or tailor chalk. Don’t look at it as a toy you’re about to play with. Buy fabric for samples only. Do not produce more garments until you have orders lined up.
I worked with a designer who was besotted with having a runway show. If you don’t reside in one of the major fashion markets, it’s a waste of time. There are cities that have fashion shows for entertainment. Buyers are not sitting in these front rows, therefore what are you having a fashion show for? You must focus on the business side of fashion if you wish to succeed. Do not spend unnecessary money producing a fashion show that will not yield orders. If you want to have a presentation, do that. Better yet have a video presentation, stream it live and invite a list of buyers, bloggers, and friends to view it. Build intrigue. Buyers will want a closer look if they’re interested.
Do you remember when Juicy Couture came on the market? All they sold were velvet track suits in the beginning. They became the go-to brand for women’s track suits. Everyone wanted one including me. I didn’t even like track suits, but the thought of being wrapped in velvet comfort was so alluring that I yearned to own a velvet track suit. They launched into the market at a high price point for a track suit and women bought them like crazy. Juicy Couture became a cultural phenomenon. Today Juicy Couture is now a full-service brand selling everything from dresses to shoes. My point is launching in a niche market doesn’t mean you have to stay there. What it does mean is guaranteeing a revenue stream that will allow you to expand. Do not discount the power of launching a small niche collection.
Setting up your website immediately is necessary. You can build momentum for launching a line. First, pick your fonts and colours. Don’t take this lightly, this will be your brand identity for years, choose wisely. If you don’t have the ability or care to learn about this, I would suggest hiring a brand expert to create an identity for you. Invest when it’s necessary. You shouldn’t have to do it all. Choose a brand expert by networking within your tribe. Start a blog. Blogging will keep your viewer engaged and it will keep them coming back to your site. Convert viewers into customers. Have a box in your sidebar or a pop-up box for your collection. Your collection doesn’t have to be complete. Blogging keeps your customers updated with your progress.
Becoming A Fashion Designer
The fashion industry is smaller than you may think. It has become even smaller with the internet, so stay humble. Treat everyone the way you wish to be treated. You need people to realise your dreams. When becoming a fashion designer you will work with other people. If you’re not a people person you haven’t any business getting involved in the fashion industry. You will work with sewers, stylists, photographers, public relations experts and accountants.This is a people driven business. Word travels fast when you’re not a decent person. It can hinder your progress. Getting your work seen is the goal. Everyone talks all the time. A general rule of thumb is to treat others the way you wish to be treated.
An Average Collection
Becoming a fashion designer isn’t glamourous at all. It isn’t all ball gowns and couture. Do not get seduced by the spectacular displays of craftsmanship on the major runways. Those collections are designed for a very small group of people who have incredible wealth. Concentrate on selling to the average woman. One of the most successful designers I ever met, designed for the average woman. He drove a hummer, lived in a beautiful home and designed for the average woman. This is still an underserved market. The average woman will need clothes for her career, or special occasions. Cater to their needs and you will be financially successful. Make them look beautiful by designing great clothes made from ethical fabric.
How to maximize your time by doing less sounds like a dream doesn’t it? When you first start listing out how much there is to creating an online magazine, the punch list is very long. By talking about how busy you are and trying to do all things at once will only overwhelm you. I know, because I hear this all the time from so many fellow business owners who are running around with their heads cut off. Their cries of being busy, their heightened anxiety, and their lack of listing accomplishments tells me one thing. They’re not getting anything done.
What they’re busy doing is creating a mountain of tasks and getting stressed. Online businesses can flourish and yield a wonderful income if you are willing to work at it. It is the future where people can create a side income that generates revenue 24hrs per day. But the big trick here is to get organised and focused. Getting into this habit for some can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Content is king after all. but creating content just for sake of it is silly.
Spend your time doing less to achieve more is far easier than you think. If your goal this week is to write 4 blog posts, increase your Instagram followers, and write a newsletter series. Choose which one you want to concentrate on that day. If you want to batch write your blog posts schedule them to publish on specific days using co-schedule or WordPress. I also use a free plug-in called WordPress Editorial Calendar. You can drag and drop all your posts into the calendar to see what your editorial schedule looks like for the week. Editorial calendars can put you on the road to doing less because they organise your thoughts before you commit to publish anything. You want to create a strong theme on your site that tells your viewer exactly where you are in the marketplace.
These free magazine themes are all WordPress themes and are intended to work with WordPress. So if you’re not using WordPress they may not work properly or at all. However, if you are building your business on WordPress this is for you. Designing a site isn’t easy when you’re first starting out. There are important factors you must now include for Google to consider crawling your site. You must have a responsive site.
All the free magazine themes listed here are responsive, you don’t have to worry about that. I would suggest learning as much as you can about your site and how it works before handing it over to a designer to maintain. Find out how your site works, and you will always know what errors you should look for. Don`t rely blindly on someone to do the right thing because in the end they may not. You wouldn’t blindly hand over the keys to your shop and never check on it would you? Same rules apply.
Is a clean minimalist looking site that allows you to launch an elegant site straight away. I suggest keeping your site as clean as possible. Out of all the free magazine themes, this has prime customization options that allow you to build your site as you want it. You can play with the theme layout, choose different colours, and manipulate your code if you’re an advanced designer. If you’re not advanced not to worry, you can still create a great site on your own with Bubbly. If you like large images this layout automatically shows this, without the heaviness of big files.
Each year WordPress debuts a free theme named after the new year. 2017 debuted as on of the best free magazine theme in this series. When I started my site I believe it was on their Twenty Fifteen theme. It was manipulated to look the way I wanted by a friend of mine who was building a freelance web design business at the time. Nevertheless, this theme offers a large image which fills the screen and acts like your welcome mat. The viewer has to scroll down, then the large image will move up, giving that parallax feel without the work. I really love this theme for its appearance. You can change your main image easily to freshen up your site. You can even use a video as your main image landing area.
Like its title, this free magazine theme is probably the one that looks most like a magazine. It is designed for blogs and magazines. It’s super clean, it has a news ticker, sliders and featured content. It’s a light responsive theme with an abundance of layout options. If you want to feature headlines articles you can do it very easily. I would suggest planning out your editorial before using this site. You want to make sure the front page is cohesive. This also translates to Brazilian. Danish Portugese, German and Swedish. The menus are limited only to your imagination. You can modify the layout is easily by using the drag and drop feature. If you`re technically inclined you can easily edit the already existing CSS3 or HTML5.
The Most Popular THINKmag posts were a surprise to me. After checking my statistics, it occurred to me that 2016 was a very good year for this site. My pageviews increased dramatically. I made some interesting contacts and grew my instagram page past my target number of 300. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I started the year with over 400 Instagram followers and counting. So I decided to do a round-up of the success of THINKmag in 2016 and list the most popular blog posts.
First on the list is not a blogpost at all. I know there was a blog post written about it so it’s not entirely a fib. But the upcycle issue of my magazine where all the designers showcased used waste to design something new was a popular destination to visit on THINKmag. This was one of the most enjoyable issues to curate. It was challenging to find all the designers in this issue, but that was also part of the enjoyment. The cover was shot in Spain by Ruben Iglesias who also designed the chair on the cover. We chatted about what I wanted to see on the cover for weeks. I skyped in for the shoot at 4:30AM in the morning. It was a great way to start my day whilst I had my breakfast.
I had great response to both my vegan fashion posts. The feedback on Instagram was fantastic. I received a lot of reactions to both the vegan shoe and the vegan bags blog post. People seem to think vegan shoes look terrible. They used to look really geeky, but these days there have been some great shoes to hit the market. They don’t scream vegan treehugger either. What they do say is I’m sexy and I know it. I learnt a lot from the designers too. They are all very careful about how their shoes are made. So if you do invest in a pair of vegan shoes, just know that a lot of loving care went into making these shoes.
This post was popular because there was a free download accessories guide at the end. I decided to make a shopping guide to help people find a lot of these products. I know you’re interested in shopping ethically so it only made sense to create a shopping guide to make life a little easier. The guide only listed the best in quality, style, and uniqueness. I wanted it to be special enough that you’d want to keep it as a reference forever.
4.Neal’s Yard Remedies Contest
Another popular blog post saw a lot of traction on instagram. It led to a quite a few people entering to win $222 worth of Neal’s Yard Remedies. I intended to announce the winner at Christmas. The holidays came up so fast coupled with a few family emergencies delayed the announcement. The contest is still open to Canadian Residents only. So if you’re reading this and you’re in Canada, click here to enter at the bottom of this blog post. I have only three more products to include. The winner will be announced by the end of January,2017.
5.Do You Want To Create Your Own Digital Magazine?
I decided to open the vault to create a resources section for independent ethical designers to launch and sell their own products. Creating editorial for your products gives you another revenue stream that can increase your bottom line. Some remarkable things happened in 2016 because of THINKmag. I had more interesting freelance work in 2016. Curating an archived clothing collection for auction was one last year’s highlights. I worked with another designer on her first capsule collection. The landing page for THINKmag got finished by yours truly. And I have to say the feedback has been quite good. It also forced me to a look at my content more closely to decide the editorial line-up. If I didn’t have a digital magazine, I don’t believe I would have had so many opportunities.