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
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