Media Voices co-host Peter Houston sends out a weekly newsletter called The Magazine Diaries. Each edition shares the best magazine publishing ideas he comes across for you to steal, adapt or reuse. 

Some of you might remember the Magazine Diaries, a wee blue book with 100 magazine pros writing 100 words about the state of the magazine industry. Or maybe you saw the COVID-19 reboot online.

I want this newsletter to build on the Magazine Diaries’ MO… magazine people coming together to make magazine publishing just a little bit better, one idea at a time.

I’ll start things off by sharing the best magazine publishing ideas I come across, but where we end up is up to you as much as me. Send me your ideas, tell me what you think. Let’s make something lovely, and useful and inspiring.

But for now, here are some ideas worth stealing.

Get AC-12 to sell your subscriptions for you

Done catching bent coppers (at least until season 7), the Line of Duty crew – Jed Mercurio, Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston – have been helping Newsquest sell subscriptions.

Before you scream ‘CORRUPTION’, it’s all in a good cause. Every year local hero Martin Compston does something to help out the hospice in his hometown. This year the local paper, The Greenock Telegraph, staged an AC-12 reunion in the town hall and donated money from subscription sales. The Tele’ and other Newsquest titles offered readers a month’s subscription for just £1 with the money going directly the hospice.

Not every publisher will be able to snag the country’s favourite anti-corruption squad, but using local celebrities to raise the profile of you publication and help good causes is definitely an idea worth stealing… just don’t tell the cops.

Create a podcast that gets 2,000 listens an episode and make $200,000

Podcasting is a strange game. We hear stories all the time of celebrity hosts getting mega-million listener numbers, but the reality is the top 5% of podcasts get less than 800 listens in their first week.

The Startup Parent podcast is super-niche, but with 2,000 listens an episode is in the top few podcast percentiles. And as podcasting royalty, makes serious money.

And you don’t actually need 2,000 listens. Get the right 500 people tuning in and you have a solid foundation to create a solid sustainable commercial proposition around your podcast.

* BONUS READ: How podcast pennies are now turning into big money

Launch a low-cost alternative for your 26 million social media followers

Yeah I know, you don’t have 26 million anything, but bear with me; the idea behind the Financial Times’ new Edit app is still worth robbing.

Having convinced 1 million well-heeled business types to stump up serious dough for their full-fat subscription, the clever folk at FT HQ came up with the genius idea of creating an an app that would deliver a selection of the FT’s top-notch journalism every day at a fraction of the cost. With an initial offer of 99p a month for six months, the paper hopes to bring social followers into its subscription funnel.

Even if the FT audience team convert a tiny percentage of their 26 million followers… well you do the math while you’re figuring out how to steal this idea for your own business.


Republished with kind permission. Subscribe to The Magazine Diaries to get three steal-able ideas in your inbox every Friday.

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