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Q: How can I guarantee that people will read and subscribe to my newsletter, internet publication, or magazine?

Answer: There are no guarantees! But the trick to publishing is to find out what people want to read and then to provide unique, compelling information that they can't get from any other source. That means learning everything you can about two things: your prospective readers and your competitors. If you can describe your readers in detail, and you are intimately knowledgeable about what they need to know to do a better job, or how they dream, or how much they love their hobby, then you're on the right track.

Next form an interactive relationship with them through your website, newsletter or magazine, so they will tell you what they're thinking and what information they want to know. Find ways to meet or communicate with readers whenever possible, online, at conferences or trade shows, through polls. The more you can learn about them, the better your publication will be at meeting their needs.

Next, tear apart the other information sources your prospective readers are currently consuming. Find the information 'holes' in those places. There is always a fresh, mold-breaking way to look at any subject.

And finally, look at other good publications for inspiration. Copy their good ideas. We recommend two recent ones: the Bark, which is a dog magazine that breaks the mold for dog magazines, and ReadyMade, which is a new take on home/shelter magazines.

Our new book, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing, has an excellent chapter about creating content readers will love. We also list some excellent books about editing and designing great publications in our bookstore.

 
 

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