This post is in a series of posts that originated here. They consist of Q&A lessons between myself and the editor of AfroElle magazine out of Kenya. The intent is to provide lessons in business form the things I have learned from publishing my own magazine for almost five years. Here is the second Q&A, lesson 2.
Good Morning from Kenya! Hope your week has started well. Last week was a
little busy with releasing a new issue and now onto the next one. Thank
you for your insight. I've already started implementing what you mentioned
in your last email. When i read it i was like 'why didn't i meet you
sooner'. Your advise is solid!
I'll be making a call for interns in about a week and i'm excited about
this and committed to making it work.Like you, I've been keeping the behind
the scenes movements a mystery even to the contributors but now, I used to
feel like i also want them to get the suspense on every issue and to feel
excited about it. Now i've already initiated conversations about what
really goes on behind the scenes and the amount of work and I hope with
this transparency they will still be committed. I don't know how long it
will take to make it absolutely profitable.
Which brings me to another dynamic of the magazine - Advertising. I've
never sent more cold emails in my life. :-) Rejection is painful but out of
the 20 i send in a day or two, at least i get a response from one or get an
advertiser from one. So the more emails i get, the more chances of getting
a client. I've been giving myself targets every month and this is
motivating me to try harder and look for different avenues.
How did you go about with advertising? What worked for you and what didn't? My
problem is, how do i retain them after they've advertised the first time?
How do i attract them to keep advertising with us? Currently, i offer free
ad designing to the advertisers and a little social media advise. Most of
the advertisers are new business owners with upcoming brands and are
looking to get a presence on social media. I love this group of advertisers
because I can create a lasting relationship. But how do I do that? Advice?
Ive attached pieces of our Media kit for your commenting and or correction.
What do you think of the packages? What can I change or add? What other
avenues should I pursue?
Btw, How did you stay motivated between the issues? I find that after i've
released an issue, i experience burn out, yet its the time I'm supposed to
get the word out on Social media and rave about the new issue. What i used
to do is tweet as many people as I can about it, but was afraid of being
marked as spam. Thats a whole topic for another email.</em>
Thanks again, Kyle.
Good morning from Florida! I have to check out your new issue. In my
opinion, that always seemed to be the most exciting time of the
publication. I'm glad my advice helped a bit. It can be hard to be
transparent about your brand when you're trying to develop it as it's own
entity. However, I think when you show more "you" in your brand, it will
come though, shine a light and bring the audience you deserve. Check out
these brands here on social media. I love their originality and the way
click and they way it feels authentic. I should along more, they're
Hello Mr. / http://instagram.com/hellomrmag
The Gentlewoman - Facebook / https://www.facebook.com/thegentlewoman
The intern thing is the way to go. Let me know if you need any advice on
anything with that has to do with the process. I've had some not so great
interns and some amazing interns and I think I figured out what set them
Advertising was the hardest section of the magazine for me and the
publication. Honestly, I never quite figured it out. I had a tough time
gaining advertisers, keeping advertisers and with advertising in general. I
did have some success, so let me touch on what worked for me and the pub.
One word. *Networking*. It was all about who I knew, how I knew them and
what I was going to do for them. It was about them, not me, not the
magazine. It was about their brand, their company, their words. They
talked, I listened. A majority of the advertising that BRINK ever received
was from people I had a relationship with or people *who knew people* that
took out advertising.
(Side note from the future: I wrote this email *and then *looked at your
images, so I see you have social media perks. The below might be redundant,
but I'm going to leave it in. Okay, carry on reading!)
1. Events. Go to events. Bring a copy of your magazine. (Side note:
Patrica, if you're ordering magazines from MagCloud - I know that can be
expensive - you do not need to let the consumer keep the magazine. Simply
let them know that that's the only copy you have on hand for the networking
and take their email and let them know you'll follow up with them about
getting a magazine. Then, follow up with them and take it from there. You
might be able to shoot them over a nice link to get their own copy. It's
business. You're not their friend. I gave away wayyyyyyy too many magazines
and probably lost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to only get
nothing in return, not even gratitude. Once again, it's *business*. Tha
Biz-ness.) Okay, so you go to events, you have your magazine on hand and *you
are the most charismatic person in the room*. People want to know who you
are, look at you and are intrigued by you. In conversation, open up about
the magazine, what part you play and if they have a brand that has *needs*.
Mention that you have advertising and it includes some special social media
perks. I think social media perks are much bigger than you (or whoever)
designing the ad. If they don''t see the value in social media, that's
That brings us to the next topic. Designing the ad for the client is fine,
but 9 times out of ten, they will have an ad ready to go. If not, offer the
design, I think that's cool, but it takes more time away form you, away
form Patrica. And you need some Patrica time, so you don't go crazy. What
you can do, which is easy for you, is to set up some social media perks. If
they take out an ad, then they get four tweets a month, two Instagram image
updates and two Facebook posts about their brand. They'll be tagged and *you'll
expand their reach with your brand*. In rare cases, if they don't have
social media, well, that's a problem right there and let them know you'll
do freelance social media work for them! (Not really kidding!) There's
other things you could do besides social media perks, but I think that's
the easiest for you and the best for them.
2. Go *to *the business. This is a tough one because it could be
*solicitation*. But you could visit the business and make up a cheap, quick
one sheet magazine card and give it to them. This actually worked for me
with small businesses.
3. All other communication methods (phone/email/etc.). Along with your
phone calls, follow up with emails and then follow up with another phone
call a couple weeks later. Honestly, being aggressive and overbearing works
in some cases. Some people will get angry and nasty and say nasty things,
but if you can get past these people, you'll find some diamonds in the
4. Prices. *Hike those prices up! *They are too low. Unless you're getting
great advertisers now, hike the rates up. I think the images (now that I
viewed, forgive me!) for the kit are a little two confusing. Simplify
everything. Have your different rate plans for different ad sizes and under
those ad sizes are plans. What they get with each plan, then delete all the
other stuff. And your prices are too low. If you ordered magazines on
MagCloud, you could only order like....three or four! Haha! Get rid of the
1/4 page if you want. I ended up only doing full or half page ads for
people, after that, there were no other options. I just liked the way it
looked and people never said anything otherwise.
5. Give big brands FREE ad space. I used to work at Warner Records (B.o.B.,
Marina and the Diamonds, etc...) and so I reached out to them and told them
to send me some ads and I'd put them in for free. They loved it and always
sent along ads when I followed up with an email. I knew they would never
pay my little independent magazine ad dollars, but having them in the a
magazine looked good. So once again, *who do you know? *What's your network
I had the hardest time with advertising. Remember, it's all about who you
know and networking. Getting out there will be the best for your business.
Have you had any events for your magazine yet?
That's goes into the next question you asked. You mentioned how to keep
things fresh and not feeling burned out. Sometimes, you need to do things*
for you*. An event can be something for you. YOU get the chance to do
something for other people which is gratifying and then you also get to
enjoy yourself a bit. People compliment the magazine (because, hello, they
are there *for *the magazine!) and shower it with affection. And you know
what feels good Patrica? VALIDATION. Nothing compares to hearing people
tell you they like something you did. Also, your contributors get take a
little glory, which is a great morale booster for them.
Don't over think the event thing. Keep. It. Simple. You can often get free
food and drinks from sponsors (I can elaborate more on this if you need it)
and in some cases get a free small venue for trade with ad placement. Boom.
360 degree experience. You now have new ads in the magazine and new
consumers from your event.
I might be rambling now. -_-
I could talk this topic forever. Also, after a magazine debuts, take a
break. Shut yourself off from the magazine for a good five days. If the
magazine always comes out on Tuesdays, shut yourself down form Thursday to
the following Tuesday. It can wait. Everything can wait. It will all be
there when you get back. Set up a vacation responder on your email. "I am
currently away form my desk, I will be sure to return your message as soon
as I get back..." Your well-being is light years more important than the
magazine and it will shine through to the magazine when you are well taken
Do you have social media posts set up for the future? Like using HootSuite
and the Facebook calendar? Let me know and we'll dive into this next if
This email is going on way long and I'm afraid I will lose you, so I'll
stop here. Let me know what else you need and how I can help. I want to see
you succeed, I love your magazine.
Also, would you mind if I posted our Q&A's on the BRINK blog and/or my
personal blog? I started thinking these might help others in the same
position - right? Let me know if you're comfortable with that. It would
expose your magazine a bit too! ;)
Enjoy the rest of your week!
BRINK Magazine | Editor in Chief