Get Started in Online Publishing

What if I could show you an easy-to-start, low-investment business that would allow you to work from anywhere in the world…and you’d only have to put in around four hours a week? Would you be interested?

I’ve been working in magazine publishing for 16 years and have watched the way the business is unfolding. During that time I’ve developed a clear and easy-to-follow business model to take advantage of current trends.

An inbox magazine is a direct email to the reader—like an e-zine or e-newsletter— but with really good articles written by the experts. It differs from a blog in that it comes right into the reader’s inbox, instead of making them come looking for it…which gives it a higher perceived value. I started in 2008. Other successful inbox magazines include,, and

So where do you start? You will build a website to draw in the readers and get their contact details—most importantly their email—using what’s known as a “lead magnet.” That’s a gift, offer, or report which you send them in exchange for their information. Then, you’ll build a panel of expert writers to supply high-quality articles. And once you’re sending out the magazine regularly, you can start making money from it.

I can honestly say that it is possible for you to run this type of business by following a few easy steps to set up your own inbox magazine…on any subject you want…from anywhere in the world you choose.

Finding Content

First determine the structure and length of your articles. Your copy needs to be as long as it needs to be to make the point. For example, Working Moms Only is somewhere between 1,300 to 2,200 words.

Next, you will need to find the best people to write for you. You’d be amazed how many good articles you can get for free. Expert writers often want publicity to raise their own profile. You should build a panel of perceived experts in their particular field, with one primary expert or editor at the top. Your experts must know what they are talking about and produce well-written and informative articles so that your subscribers will begin to know, like, and trust them—and, by extension, your magazine.

Find these writers by searching online for articles that pertain to your topic. Then, reach out to them and ask if they’d like to be an expert on your site. You can go right to that person and say, “Hey, I love this piece so much. Would you come on board with me?”

I use a system called Infusionsoft, to design my inbox magazines but there are others available too, including Aweber, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact.

Getting Readers

As you create your magazine, you must also build a list of readers. To do this you’ll need a website with the following elements.

• Home Page Opt-In: Your subscribers will want immediate gratification and something they can sink their teeth into now. Your home page opt-in is a place on the home page of your website where you will offer your viewers a free gift in exchange for their primary email address.

• A Pop-Up: A pop-up, as the name suggests, is a page that pops up to get information from visitors to the site. It is another place where you can offer your viewers a free gift in exchange for them signing up for your inbox magazine.

• A Squeeze Page: A squeeze page typically consists of an attractive graphic and a compelling headline. It offers the visitor access to some piece of information or a lead magnet, but only in exchange for the visitor’s name and primary email address. This contact information has been essentially “squeezed” out of the visitor, thus the name.

You might think that your inbox magazine is great, but it is important to remember that your subscribers cannot experience the value yet because they have not read it. Your lead magnet allows you to gain their trust and begin to build your relationship with them. Once they’ve opted in, let your inbox magazine do the talking.

Building Traffic

Now, how do you get people to your website and landing page? There are six resources you can use to get your first 1,000 subscribers:

• Social Media Marketing: Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to spread the word about your inbox magazine.

• Article Marketing: Promote yourself by writing articles to let others know about your expertise, and drive traffic back to your site.

• Active Content Syndication: Offer your content to other sites with links back to your own. Think Huffington Post.

• Press Releases: Create a buzz by announcing your inbox magazine to increase online visibility and drive traffic to your website.

• Viral PDFs: Offer valuable information on a particular topic and give it away for free online.

• Ad and Resource Swaps: Make an agreement with another inbox magazine owner to swap ads to each other’s mailing list.

You can use every single one of these strategies to spread the word about your lead magnet and site. Or you can focus on a couple that you’re confident with now and then use the others later. But it’s important as you put the word out about your magazine to these different areas that you always include a link back to your landing page or website.

I currently use all of these list building techniques. But when I launched, I only used two—content syndication and ad swaps—and managed to get 5,000 subscribers. Then, I quickly added social media, article marketing, and press releases.

Making Money

Now that you have your readers, and you’re publishing content to them, how do you turn that into a profit?

There are many different ways to capitalize on your inbox magazine: selling advertising, sponsored ads, list rentals, banner ads, affiliate promotions, and even selling your own products. The possibilities are endless, and the various streams of income available with the inbox magazine business are one of the main reasons it is so appealing.

Once you start making money with your inbox magazine, you will need to understand key metrics in order to grow your business. Key metrics are the numbers that help you determine the health of your business today, as well as for the past week, month, quarter, and year. And through them, you can make the decisions in order to achieve your desired business results.

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