By Shirley Lau (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Minted Magazine)
From building the design of a magazine from scratch to creating and coding a website with absolutely zero knowledge of how to do so, I’ve learned more about magazine publishing through research and networking than I did while actually working at a publication.
In only four months, I, along with the other half at Minted Magazine, Kimberly S. Lin, launched a quarterly digital women’s lifestyle and business publication. My background is in journalism and multimedia production and Kimberly’s is in business, being a hedge-fund-analyst-turned-writer.
We didn’t have a budget, were aware of some stiff competition, and live in different cities (her in Los Angeles and me in Oakland), but luckily we had the same motivation to create a resource for women that would focus on advice from successful entrepreneurs, big no-no’s when it comes to marketing, and anything else we had been searching for when we first decided to start Minted. We figured, if we were looking for that information, it was likely others were in the same boat.
As much as we love shopping, food and beauty products, we felt most publications on the market right now lacked content that actually made a difference in women’s lives—pretty pictures of shoes and nick-nacks don’t really leave a lasting impression, but career and life advice do.
It’s not to say that the typical lifestyle magazine doesn’t benefit a reader, but we wanted to take that concept and add to it: make a magazine that fuses a lifestyle publication with real business advice, but in a visually compelling and engaging way. Because Minted is a digital publication, you don’t have to go to the newsstand to get a copy or carry it around rolled up in your purse; you can purchase any item you see in the issue simply by clicking on the image.
With so much of the world sourcing its information on the web, it seemed like the perfect avenue to launch Minted, not to mention the cheapest.
But we were faced with so many obstacles: making our magazine visually stand out among those with professional graphic designers on their payroll and how to get people to see that our content was original and informational. Like I said, we didn’t have a budget since neither of us had a full-time job, so we had to rely on our own knowledge and marketing to make it all happen — and what we didn’t know, we were on a mission to find people who did and have them mentor us through the process.
It’s been less than a week since the magazine has been live on our site, but we’ve already had hundreds of readers. We spent our time utilizing social media, seeking our organizations like Women 2.0 to spread the word, and emailing bloggers to promote it until our fingers fell limp from typing.
Another marketing avenue, and also our way to give back to the community of entrepreneurs is our upcoming launch party (details below). We want to support up-and-coming and established entrepreneurs and be a platform where we can showcase innovative new products and inspirational women. It’s a night where women can network and swap advice, and also meet potential customers; all while tossing back a few cocktails. If any of you are in the area and interested, please stop by!
We’re excited to launch the Spring 2012 issue in March — and the woman to grace the cover is a fellow Women 2.0 member! We’re always on the lookout for women to feature, so feel free to drop me an email with your suggestions.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Shirley Lau is Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Minted Magazine, a quarterly digital publication. She is s a multimedia journalist, has managed an editorial department at a city regional magazine and been a freelance writer for six years. Shirley holds a bachelor’s in journalism from California State University, Fresno in 2007 and will hold a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley this May. Follow her on Twitter at @mintedmag.