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How do I go about starting and profitably running an educational magazine?

I am in the process of starting/publishing an educational magazine. I need suggestions in terms of content for kids, teachers, parents and school owners/managers, as well as getting advertisers for the magazine. In short, how do I create something unique and that will be profitable?

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Anonymous User
9

Hi Adedotun,

To help you get started, I'd like to suggest a number of things;

Firstly, from what I understand from the context of the question, suggests you see an opportunity or gap in the market that your solution can fill, right? Or you have some experience in this sector and can identify weaknesses in the competition (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

I am in the process of starting/publishing an educational magazine.
- Who is it for?
- Who are your target (market) audience?
- What would they expect from a magazine like yours? and
- Is your magazine going to offer something different from the current competition?

I need suggestions in terms of content for kids, teachers, parents and school owners/managers
- What research have you done on your business offering and model?
- What you spoken to any kids, teachers, parents, school owners/managers?
- What did they tell you?
- What are they looking for that the current publishers are not offering?
- Were they interested in your offering or opportunity?
- Did they indicate they would buy into your publication?

Getting advertisers for the magazine.
- What content are you publishing?
- Have you spoken to any potential advertisers?
- Do you have a B2B strategy including the types or size of businesses you're targeting that would potentially advertise in your magazine?
- What would you do or offer differently that would make your publication attractive to their business?

In short, how do I create something unique and that will be profitable?
In short, you need to answer all of the above - which would help you come up with a viable business (offering) plan and model that will over real value in the gap you're looking to plug become profitable.

One rule of thumb - never go into businesses with the preconception of becoming profitable, but rather, create something unique that will offer a better value than the current competition, innovate and make a difference.

I hope this helps as a starting point and feel free to connect if I can be of further help.

Good luck

Thanks Roland for the questions. Will really help.

1

Dear Adedotum,
First step is NOT to print anything! Go 100% digital!
Second, use creativity to monetization, since it is for Kids, use brands and companies products in the material and ask for money from then! You have an education project and companies are under pressure to have social responsibilities. e.g. maths class uses M&M candy as counting, multiplying, sum/subtraction material
Content generation is your biggest challenge. I would offer a share of the money for content generators and look for them in University/Schools
Hope it did help1
all the best!

Thanks for your response Fernando, Its unfortunate that Nigerian education sector is not yet ready or matured for digital production. Will try your advise on getting companies.

1

Starts with a formal business plan. Will this be print or digital ...or both?

1

I provided an enterprise software system for a magazine. It was a high quality production. Their business model was mostly funded by membership. Covering our state it concentrated on interesting things about our state and was promoted for use by school districts. It was a non-profit organization. Donations and membership packages provided the majority of income. Advertising in the form of feature stories and block ads was also a source of income. The magazine industry is tough, you will need passion and commitment.
My advice:
1. Obtain professional help: Find a mentor, pay a consultant or both. Preferably with expertise in publishing.
2. Make a lot of choices: profit/non-profit, type of entity, location, publication frequency, ideal market, distribution...
3. Start with resources. Do you have startup capital, People who share your vision? The magazine I mentioned invested around $20,000 for software that saved $40,000 annually in wages and $2,000 in printing costs each issue. This organization had an influential family, a passionate staff. The family and relatives made large donations periodically.
4. Identify your mission: What vacuum, need or void are you filling? Your own and Roland's questions and questions that surface along your journey should be answered timely.
5. Be relevant: Create an identity that your market can embrace.
6. Plan: Prepare and execute a business plan with specific objectives and target dates.
7. Know when to shut it down.

I hope this aids your success!

Thanks for the tips. Already working with a mentor/consultant that I have paid and is helping me out. Will make use of your other tips.

1

Take a minute to study the behaviors of the people that comprise each area you listed. From this information you should be able to determine the sources of influence that trigger ones desire to embrace your magazine. The uniqueness comes with the ongoing study of the audiences behavior so that the magazine evolves with change. Profitability will be the results of the uniqueness that inspires and influences growth of your audience.

1

Before you print issue 1, have enough advertisers to cover the first 6 month of printing and distribution costs. Most media start ups I am familiar started production or went on air without enough funding that they closed in 6-12 months. Content for kids and education will vary widely depending on the distribution parameters, One state no big deal, multiple states could be a big deal..Every step needs to be thought through before executing. Check the rules and laws for each topic.

Thanks Rick for the tips on having enough advertisers. How do I convince potential advertisers to place ads in the magazine? Any tip? Thanks

Bring a sample issue with 8 to 12 pages of contect/ad spaces to show it will present. If you print the sample issues, make sure you send them to committed sponsors. Send everyone else a digital issue.

1

Prior to spending dime one on anything, make sure you have a very large list. Also, make sure it is a digital list - email address and as much other demographic and psychographic information possible.

The remainder of the answers already supplied I can affirm are true to form and should be considered..

1

You don't...unless you have some formula that others have missed. Publishing is not a growth market and magazines are on a long downward trend. You have two major problems with your theses, first is that advertising support and an educational format can co-exist. Kids and school teachers do not co-exist comfortably with commerce. Education and Advertising are poor bedfellows and you will have trouble getting one if you aim to please the other. Check Scholastic Publishing's history. I worked on the launch of Sports Illustrated for Kids which was initially dedicated to literacy. I carried advertising but was free to schools. Schools can't invest in printed products when they need computers and online content to stimulate today's kids.

Look, a great idea will always have a place but broad strokes like education and profit are a long time removed from mass market success. The cost of paper, printing and distribution along with the cost of unique, quality content make it unlikely there is a "big" idea in this old paradigm.

You want to serve education, they don't need a magazine. You want profit, you don't want a magazine. Find your passion around either educating or publishing, embrace technology and you have a chance to then find both.

1

For content related to Kids/Parents and School I think it will be good if you can focus on the current issues facing the kids which equally worry the Parents and the School. Some examples will be
- Excessive Digital (Technology) exposure,
-Bullying,
-Insensitivity towards fellow citizens, planet and enviornment
-Bad eating habits,
-Students attitude and behavior,
-Educating parents and teachers on the evolving trends and culture gap.

I hope this helps!

regards,
Raj

Thank you very much Rajneesh for these tips. Will surely make use of them.

1

These answers are really good----If in Nigeria you have entrepreneurial mentor like we have in the US ------Score counselors get them to help you with a business plan similar to what Roland and others have outlined

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