Wow – what a whirlwind and a huge learning curve launching a brand new magazine has been!
At the time of writing, we’ve just sent the first issue of Life In Orpington off to the printers and we’re super excited but also super nervous.
Will it look good? How will it be received? What if our advertisers don’t like it? What will the feedback be?
And although we think we’ve got the style and look of the magazine down to a tee – to reflect a more trendy, modern town, we’re both still anxious to see if it will be well received.
To help us in determining this, we decided to include a questionnaire in our launch issue, asking readers to tell us what they really think.
If you’re reading this and you’ve got a copy through your door please let us know what you think by completing the questionnaire – there’s a bottle of wine in it for one lucky winner!
We wanted the magazine to offer a mix of community news, updates and events as well as general interest articles – and I think we pulled it off.
The first half of the magazine concentrates on everything local and in the latter half you’ll find articles on eco news, travel, parenting, life hacks, home and garden, awareness months – plus an interview with us, which has certainly sparked some conversation.
We also wanted to encourage people to feel like they’re part of a community – and have tried to incentivise people by offering prizes.
For the social media page we’re giving away four tickets to Vue cinema in Bromley. And for the puzzle page we’re giving away a family games bundle – worth more than £100!
The hard work
One of the hardest things to do from our perspective has been to convince people to buy into the concept of the magazine, with no physical product to show them.
With no natural sales skills (we’re just two mums with backgrounds in graphic design and journalism), we didn’t have any game plan on what to do, and it sometimes felt like we were walking in blind to shops, businesses and establishments to tell them about the magazine.
But we did have one thing that was in our favour: passion. We knew we wanted to be the best thing out there and we’d tell people our story, our background and our vision.
We found most people seemed a little intrigued by us, some were bemused, no doubt, but all were impressed by our enthusiasm. We even had a few comments about bottling it up and selling it.
And I think that this alone got people interested in what we had to say. Plus, of course, the fact that we are completely transparent.
But people appreciate our honesty and integrity and the fact that we don’t sugarcoat who we are and what we do. We’re just two local residents with a vision to offer residents a cracking little magazine that they look forward to receiving. And that’s pretty much it.
When we started out, we accepted that our first magazine would be a loss-leader.
We knew it would be great but we had zero confidence in our selling skills. We hoped that we’d get at least five advertisers, but when this crept up to ten, we were over the moon.
We were a few hundred pounds off from breaking even on our printing costs, so for the last 10 days before we went to print, we pulled out all the stops, ringing as many people as we could.
And it paid off. We still can’t believe that we came away in profit from our very first magazine. We feel so grateful to all the people who believed in us and trusted us to produce something as wonderful as we said we would.
We’ve now had 7,000 copies delivered and the last few days have been tough to say the least – tough on our legs!
When most days are spent sitting on your bum working all day and then your body is made to do 30,000 steps a day, it goes into complete shock.
But it has been worth it – the feedback so far has been amazing. Our advertisers have been big fans and we’ve had so many kind words sent to us – by email and on social media. In fact, we’ve taken a handful of these as testimonials to showcase on our ‘advertise with us’ page.
We’ve even had people emailing us that have heard of the magazine and want it sending to them, which is wonderful that news is spreading fast.
And so it’s now onto the April issue – there’s no time to rest on our laurels – we’ve got Easter crafts to make, articles to write, pictures to source, designs to do – and of course, those sales to be made.
We vowed never to go below 50/50 with the advertising versus editorial and we stand by our word – otherwise they’d be nothing for people to read or be entertained by.
If you’ve read the latest issue of Life In Orpington (and you can read the digital issue here) – we’d love to know what you think. We’re on social media @lifeinmags or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicky & Lauretta