How to Make Money with Your Online Magazine

creating a paid online magazine  

As a digital publisher, you have many options available to you for monetizing your publications. Here at Joomag, we provide you with all the tools and features necessary to create a successful and profitable online magazine. It’s true: both free and paid publications can become hugely successful. First, let’s take a look at how you can maximize your free publication’s success. Enjoy the first of this two-part series on “How to Make Money with your Online Magazine”.


PART I: Creating a Profitable Free Magazine

THE FREE MAGAZINE. Most magazines have a longer shelf life than newspapers because readers tend to identify more closely with the magazines they read (source). Free magazines rely on subscribers and advertisers for their success. Eventually (after gaining some traction), some of these free publications even provide marketing services and open up new revenue streams. Without a subscriber base, though, it can be hard to get advertisers for free publications.


Here are 5 tips on how to grow your audience with Joomag.

5 Essential Strategies for Expanding Your Magazine's Audience and Engagement

1. Understand your Magazine's target audience

By understanding your readership’s needs, you’ll be able to expand your audience accordingly. Our Advanced Analytics help you identify your readers’ needs by providing key information such as geo-location and traffic sources. With this analytics at hand, you can decide where to focus your marketing efforts and determine which aspects of your magazine do and don’t work.​

2. Use social media to promote your magazine

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are the best social media channels for cultivating audience development opportunities. For example, after you’ve created a new magazine issue, your readers can then share it on these social media sites (and other ones, too). They can click the “Share” button on the magazine viewer to do so or choose “Publish” to publish it on the Joomag Newsstand. The magazine’s link can even be distributed across multiple channels. It’s great because people tend to like and share whatever peaks their interest, allowing your readers to spread the word and do the work for you.

3. Make the magazine available across multiple platforms

It’s no surprise that most people are using multiple devices to access media online. Research shows that one in five people own a smartphone with tablet adoption rates increasing twice as fast as the smartphone. With more and more people owning these devices, chances are that many of them are accessing your publications through them. If your magazine isn’t available on mobile devices when readers try to click on them, they will be disappointed and probably won’t be coming back. *(Mobile support for iOS, Android, and Windows devices is available with All Joomag plans).


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4. Set up a subscription for your readers

Traffic for your publication will fluctuate constantly. And even if your issues are being viewed by a lot of people, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get new subscribers. If you set a free yearly subscription for your publications, it’ll solidify your readership and make it attractive to advertisers because they won’t have to pay for anything to see your content.


When you open up distribution channels for your magazine, over time you will attract more readers and subscribers to your magazine.

5. Make a media kit

A media kit is a public relations tool that contains information gathered by a business to provide info about any new product/event/service to various media outlets, like websites or reporters.


As digital magazines grow, it’s common for publishers to create media kits for their advertisers or sponsors. If your publication is in demand, you’ll want to have one available too. Joomag allows you to create all kinds of publications so that you can create media kits with them.


Generally, a kit should provide information about your readers. How your publication compares to your competitors’, how it’s distributed, a sample of the publication and information about advertising costs (i.e. how much a quarter-page, half-page, and full-page ad costs) should also be considered. The easiest way you can create a media kit is by using Joomag’s “Clone” tool to make an identical copy of your magazine. Then add the aforementioned information throughout its pages. Once the kit is done, just provide the distribution link to your advertisers and they can view it at any time.

A sample of success

Running a successful magazine is no easy task. But we do make it easier for you by giving you all the tools you need. A free magazine can thrive if you utilize the right resources and strategies. The tips I’ve provided above are only a couple ways your magazines can prosper. The rest relies on maintaining good practices to achieve success.


For instance, Insight Magazine is a great example of what makes a successful free magazine with Joomag. It’s an interactive local guide that catalogs various events occurring throughout Calhoun County, Alabama. Insight Magazine successfully utilized Joomag’s platform for their website and social media channels to promote their publications, leading to a strong and booming subscriber base.



Insight magazine


To entice newcomers, Insight offers them a free month’s subscription (Joomag even helped them create their subscription website!). Their magazines integrate local advertisements and sponsors which include hotspots that take readers to external links, pop-up images, and other media. Some pop-up content is also printable so readers can print out deals and coupons. If first-time viewers like the content they see, they’re more likely to subscribe to a free yearly subscription where they’ll be informed of new offers and events with every new issue.


*Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to put resources into your magazine. Start learning and testing what you can do with our features. So when your readership does grow, you’ll know exactly what to do to continue that success.


If you enjoyed this, check out PART II: How to make a Successful Paid Magazine”. In that article, we are talking about how you can sell publications and what makes a successful magazine.


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Q1: How do free magazines generate profit?

A1: Free magazines gain profit mainly through advertising revenue, which requires a strong subscriber base. As the audience grows, magazines can attract more advertisers and explore additional revenue streams.

Q2: What are effective ways to increase a magazine's audience?

A2: Increasing a magazine’s audience involves understanding the target readership, promoting the magazine on social media, ensuring mobile accessibility, offering free subscriptions to build a loyal base, and preparing a media kit to attract advertisers.

Q3: Is there a success story of a free magazine using these methods?

A3: Insight Magazine stands out as a success story for using such strategies. It maximized its reach and subscriber engagement through Joomag, social media promotion, and offering compelling subscription deals, making it appealing to both readers and advertisers.



Topics: digital publishing