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How To Run Your Business Like a Magazine

by Abby Kerr

in Content Essentials

About this column

Crafting craveable content brings your Right People to your doorstep. Maintaining a consistent content plan keeps them coming back for more. Need some help planning? Our ideas can help you get started, scheduled, and sharing.

How to run your business like a magazine

In the spirit of our new course, Run Your Business Like a Magazine, I thought I’d lay out 10 observations on how great magazines (paper and digital) get it right, & how you can apply these insights to your own business brand.

How to run your business brand like a magazine — a primer:

  1. Be bold. Notice the trends (or patterns or fresh insights) coming down the pipeline in your industry. Precipitate them. Name them. Show them off. Leverage them. Invite your Right People to try them in the context of what your business does.
  2. Realize that you can’t do it all alone. You may need (you will need, if you scale your business past teeny-tiny) to hire an assistant, a VA, staff, subcontractors, or an intern or two. This is good. This is growth. This is collaboration.
  3. Be true to your vision but make room for other people’s gifts and strengths. In truth, The Voice Bureau probably still wouldn’t be operating today were it not for Katie Mehas. I’m not saying this as mere flattery. Katie came into the business in 2012 and since then, has been like the master.
  4. Get a plan for success. Work the plan. If the plan doesn’t work, get a new plan. Planful endeavors are successful endeavors. Don’t be afraid to reinvent, but do it incrementally.
  5. Get a signature Thing. Be known for something. Be an original. In our business, it’s our Voice Values paradigm for branding.
  6. Know what makes you different. Get clear on what sets you apart from others in your industry and niche. There’s a reason your Right People select your ‘issue’ from the ‘newsstand’ [sorry, couldn’t resist].
  7. Know your reader. Magazines are a great example of a Right Person-focused business. They have to be, because every issue, and every page of every issue, matters. Home in on what piques your Right Person’s interest, and beyond that, understand why it does.
  8. Be about something. Meaning: have a keen focus. You can be a lifestyle magazine or a special interest magazine, but either way, own your subject matter, your take, your strong stance, your point of view. No matter which path you choose — generalist with a POV or specialist — own it.
  9. Have fun. Every magazine has its own sense of zeal, of play, of wonderment, of fascination, of obsession. Whether you’re reading KinfolkScience Magazine, or Elle Decor, you probably read it because their take on their topic lights YOU up in some way. They couldn’t do that to you without their being lit up first.
  10. Embrace your preferred medium while being mindful of multimedia. As major magazines learned in the mid-aughts, when the world changes, you have to change with it. With the ubiquity of social media, no brand can afford to be missing from the online conversation. Find a reason to be there and get on it.

Today’s brands exist on the web through content, and content is the currency of any magazine — paper or digital.

In our new 4-week course, newly minted Creative Director Katie Mehas (yeah, we’re going to announce that officially very soon!) is leading participants through the ins and outs of creating a compelling content strategy that’s both intuitive AND planful. Learn to meld your personal interests and passions in the context of what you do with the needs and curiosities of your Right People. Make a plan, work your plan, and love it, too.


In the comments, we’d love to hear:

What’s your favorite of these lessons from the world of magazines? 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany April 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I really love this concept. I’m not able to take the course yet, but honestly, just hearing the concept of thinking of my business like a magazine is giving me all SORTS of content ideas! I’m excited to start brainstorming + putting those ideas into action :)


Abby Kerr April 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Brittany, that’s exciting! Glad this metaphor is opening good stuff up for you. :)


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