WE HAVE LIFTOFF: How to Make Your Magazine Launch a Success
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: 63 percent of all new magazines fail to survive their first year.
The magazine marketplace is more crowded than ever—it seems every idea has been turned into a new magazine not only once or twice but 10 or 11 times. Through the first half of 2006, new launches are down 16 percent from a year ago. There is no magic formula to ensure a successful launch or a profitable magazine, nor are there any guarantees your latest and greatest idea will have readers or advertisers lining up at your office door.
Now the good news: There are success stories that prove not all launches are doomed. Acknowledging that the elements critical to launching a successful b-to-b magazine or special interest publication will vary greatly from those key to a glossy newsstand mag, Publishing Executive spoke with executives from a broad range of publishing companies who have endured the stormy weather of magazine launches. We sought the advice and experience of publishing executives who have spearheaded successful launches and whose insights may help your publication avoid claiming its own plot in the (increasingly popular) graveyard of new launches.
Iron Out Your Mission Statement Early
“It’s something you come back to time and time again, and it gives your property a clear position in the market,” says Joseph Guerriero, publisher, Success magazine, of a magazine’s mission statement. His magazine hit newsstands in June with a circulation of 650,000, armed to take on traditional business publications. But the early success behind Success really began with its ability to establish a unique identity within the market, in this case billing itself as “the only business magazine designed to inspire and guide motivated business people to lead truly successful lives.”
“Coming up with our mission statement—something that seems so simple—probably took the better part of a couple of weeks,” Guerriero says. “And from there we built a content plan and it helped us [identify] the type of people that I wanted to bring on board as salespeople … people who really embody that mission.”