Starting Out #9: How to start an online magazine

It’s easy enough to start a blog these days and, given Blogging.Org‘s statistic that in 2012 there were 31 million bloggers in the United States alone, we can safely assume that lots of people are on to that fact. Not as many, however, go out on a limb to create an online magazine.

I met Jane Copeland at the Problogger conference last year and have watched the development of her online magazine, Coping With Jane, with great interest. In this week’s Starting Out post, she shares the journey of her blogazine from idea to reality

Dreams don’t have deadlines
In January 2012, I read an article by Jacinta Tynan in Sunday Life magazine about the self-imposed deadlines that most of have on our dreams. That brilliant column galvanised me to write a Letter to the Editor – but, more importantly, it goaded me to look at my own life. 

Al asked me to write about why I started a blogazine, and I thought this might be a good place to begin, because it all started with me being at the proverbial fork in the road.

Although I had a good job, I felt I had diverted away from what I actually wanted to be doing. However, even though I had been feeling unfulfilled for some time, it’s likely I wouldn’t have done anything had it not been for several life events that occurred around this time.

I had a huge mindshift as a result of becoming a first time mother, and also being diagnosed with an illness. Then, while I was on maternity leave, a precious window of time opened up for me. I had to do something now or my desire to lead a more meaningful life would be a dream forever. It was time.

Why a blogazine?
I started CopingwithJane.com with only a loose idea of what the site was and where it might lead. What I did know was what I wanted to talk about.

Sociology and pop culture have always interested me, as have women’s issues. The more time I spent online, the more I saw that it was a place where women’s issues were being discussed without any barriers. I knew I wanted to play a part in giving women access to other women’s real experience.

Traction
News of the site spread quickly, thanks to amazing contributors who write for the site. What’s behind this happening is that people have believed in the why.

For example, I often get asked how I got big names like Tara Moss and Jacinta Tynan to be involved. Well, I knew the concept for the site was beautifully aligned with what mattered to them. So I reached out to them knowing this, and thankfully they both loved the idea.

This has been the case with everyone who has been involved with the site in one way or another, and I think the same goes for anything in life. People will be incredibly generous and will feel inspired by what you do, if they believe in your story and what you stand for.

Social media
Social media, in particular Twitter, also played an integral part in the site gaining traction. I taught myself how to write headlines and to tweet links that were designed to gain attention (and encourage others to link to the site). To do this I looked for people who did this well, and applied a similar formula.

Challenges
Like any start-up, things were crazy at the beginning. I worked harder than I ever have in my life. I guess this has been my biggest challenge overall – I didn’t realise the magnitude of what I had set out to do. To run an online magazine requires a team, and I am one person.

It would have been impossible to do it all myself initially, so I was very grateful that Kelly Exeter came on board as contributing editor in the early days. And this was just as well because, I underestimated how much editing would be required.

Time
These days I work a lot more efficiently and manage the site myself. But getting to this point has been a process which has taken time.

One of the reasons I didn’t go down the freelance writing route was because I was a slow writer. Six months later and with a lot more practice, I’m a lot faster. Same goes for editing and running the site in general.

My point is that if you’re trying to get somewhere with your writing or passion project, reemmber that your dreams don’t have deadlines. Your ship hasn’t sailed. The way I see it is that a blog or a blogazine can be a great launching place for many things.

The nature of online means that anything really is possible, and these days you really do have the ability to get the business and the life you want.

Jane Copeland is founder of CopingwithJane.com, a new personal development blogazine, which features weekly articles from Jane and a bunch of amazing contributors for women who are redefining their lives and careers after they’ve had children. Jane has just finished writing her first book Boardroom to Baby, available from April.

If you enjoyed this episode of Starting Out, you might also enjoy: Do you need to do a course to be a writer?, From Blog to Job, and Which excuses are holding you back?.

Do you have a dream you’d like to be living? Share!

Comments 9

  1. Thank you Jane, for your time and your words (and Allison, as ever). It’s refreshing to read that you didn’t have an ultimate defined goal when you started. So many people are scared of starting because they’re not sure where it will lead. Me included!

  2. Jane is a wonderfully inspiring woman and her vision for Coping With Jane is something that has been missing in the online world. Coping with Jane is fresh, authentic and inspiring.

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