Local magazines can take you to a new level: Quality

July 6, 2015

Quality local magazines, published apart from your newspaper, can generate exceptional revenue in your base community or a nearby growth market.

Magazines can be magic. They’re often held in high regard by those sometimes hard-to-reach younger readers. They provide an opportunity to sell to an entirely different group of advertisers and can result in greater respect for your publishing company.

In mid-size communities where a local paper usually produces $3,000 to $5,000 in weekly ad revenue, a magazine printed on glossy stock can often bring in $20,000 per issue or more.

At Iowa Information Inc., we publish four unique glossy magazines along with our newspapers and tabloid products.

Our OKOBOJI magazine, established in 1986, is published seven times a year and is direct mailed to upscale homeowners with property on the seven Iowa Great Lakes. We publish every other month during the colder winter months and every month during the summer lake home season.

Our three community magazines—Orange City magazine, Rock Valley magazine and Sioux Center magazine—are each published twice-a-year and are direct-mailed to every home in the community’s ZIP code area. Each of the three upscale communities is located about a half-hour drive from our Sheldon, IA, office.

All three city-style magazines were created during the last three years. The Orange City edition is published every February and August, Rock Valley magazine is published every April and October and the Sioux Center magazine is published every June and December.

In many ways, the city magazines are similar. They’re all printed using the same size format, all incorporate the same basic design and all have about the same number of pages. But the content for each is different.

The Orange City edition is written to highlight the community’s strong Dutch heritage, culture, architecture and annual, colorful Tulip Festival celebration. Orange City is so “Dutch” that the high school band marches in wooden shoes.

The Sioux Center magazine, in contrast, is usually focused on the programs and influence of the local Christian college, the city’s various and extensive recreational opportunities, and their unbelievable retail growth.

In Rock Valley, where dozens of small manufacturers process more raw steel per capita than any other Midwest city, the magazine theme is centered on business and industry.

All three city magazines were created with the endorsement of the local chamber of commerce and city administration. But all are exclusively owned and produced by Iowa Information. All of the articles and photos are by the company’s editorial team who has exclusive control over the content.

We try to make each issue of every magazine a “keepsake” publication to encourage the readers to keep and share with visiting family and former residents. The economic development directors in each community use them as part of their new business recruitment efforts.

In planning and producing the magazines, our writers attempt to feature unique personality and success stories with an emphasis on positive, fun-to-read, in-depth reporting. Every page is in full color with the majority of the photos two-thirds of a page or larger.

Adding a glossy community magazine to the company’s media mix provides two major advantages:

First, local, glossy magazines usually attract advertisers willing to spend major dollars on building their image. These include restaurants, imported auto dealerships, jewelry stores, upscale clothing stores, banks, investment advisors, hospitals and health providers. All are traditionally willing to invest advertising dollars in larger, processed color ads and to purchase annual contracts.

Additionally, local glossy magazines can lead to a greater level of respect and a high level of confidence from the community, as well as a visible separation from the competition. Most importantly, community magazines provide a strong opportunity to build lifelong relationships with the community’s key advertisers.

There are a variety of themes that work for local magazines. Women’s magazines are a favorite. Home design and décor magazines also do well.

Every metro market has a city magazine that can be used as subject and design pattern for a smaller, but just as important, local publication. Education, dogs, cats and horses—both breeding and western—are other possible themes, as well as imported and custom cars, the world of motorcycles, boats and personal aircraft.

The opportunities are only limited by your imagination. You can make almost any topic into a popular local glossy magazine if the community has enough interest.

Feel free to contact me at pww@iowainformation.com if you’d like sample copies and sample rate cards. © Peter Wagner 2015


Peter W. Wagner is founder and publisher of the award winning N’West Iowa REVIEW and 13 additional publications. He is often called “The Idea Man” and is a regular presenter at state press associations and publishing group conventions and seminars. You can contact him regarding his programs “100 Ideas for Fun and Profit.” Seven Steps to Selling Success” or “Watch Your p’s and q’s” by emailing pww@iowainformation.com or calling his cell 712-348-3550 anytime.

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