PRAY ABOUT THE PURPOSE
Who do you need to reach and why?
Certainly before embarking on any new project, you must pray about it. There is nothing worse than putting all of your energy and time into a project that God has not called you into! You will have wasted precious time and talents away from that God-ordained thing He has purposed for YOU! Find time to be alone with God – pouring out your desire to Him – but allowing Him the time to speak affirmation about what His plans are for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “ For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) He knows what it is that He wants to do in your life – make sure that you what you want lines up with what He wants.
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE
Identify your target audience
There are thousands of magazines in the world today! Both in full print and online! And you are one of the thousands of individuals who have a particular interest and want to communicate with an audience that shares that same interest. Many new publications are launched each year, some of which are successful, others of which are short-lived. Of the publications launched overall, 60 percent are started by newcomers to publishing. Twenty percent of those are by non-profit organizations.
How do you get your Christian magazine or ezine to succeed? First you have to do careful review and research and identify your target audience.
Is your target audience limited to your ministry or church, or are you interested in reaching as many of the Christian community as possible? Try to narrow down your audience to a specific group so that you can research their needs and habits more accurately.
For example, if you want to reach women – what age group will be your primary focus? Since a 24 year old and a 55 year old have different goals and interests, how will you reach both?
You can test run this idea by speaking to the women in your immediate circle or ministry about their lifestyles, trends or behaviors. What are they looking for in a magazine? What types of magazines do they read, if at all, on a continual basis? These answers will better help you focus your attention on your target audience so that you are giving them what they want in your publication.
Identify why you desire to reach this target audience? Is it because you see a need that isn’t being met? Write a mission statement based on what it is that you are desiring to accomplish for this particular audience. It doesn’t have to be a long statement, either. It should be simple enough to double as a slogan of sorts – that way when you launch all of your marketing materials, it is already in place and will flow easily.
CONCENTRATE ON A MARKET YOU KNOW ABOUT
This is crucial! Your magazine/newsletter/ezine must represent a topic that you know about! If you don’t know the first thing about the Christian music industry, it’s probably not a good idea to try to reach that audience. You will be more successful with an industry that you are familiar with. Also, be careful to include information that your audience will want to read vs. what you want to read. You’ve already identified your audience, now you have to make sure you give them the type of information THEY want! You’ll also find it easier to manage your publication if you have a passion for the subject it covers.
For more detailed information to get you started on the road to magazine/newsletter publishing, get the e-book "Magazine Publishing 101"