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In house mag - what do we need?

(6 Posts)
Lightshines Mon 26-Sep-11 14:04:45

I work for a small membership organisation which has 500 members. We produce a quarterly magazine of around 24 pages. We have been struggling to produce the magazine on time and now need to look around for someone to take it on.
Trouble is - I don't know what we need to look for, as the jobs advertised in publishing/editing seem quite complex.
Will it be possible for us to find a free-lancer to do it all for us?
By that, I mean - work with us to define our plans for the magazine, commission articles and collect together those that come in unprompted, liaise with the office staff member who organises advertising, lay out all the pages to a print-ready stage for the printer, arrange proof-reading.
What would the job title be for this?
How much can we expect to pay?
Sorry for so many questions, its a whole new area for me.

flimflammery Mon 26-Sep-11 14:12:58

Hi Lightshines, I've PMd you.

watersign76 Fri 30-Sep-11 17:56:57


My background is membership bodies and I currently work with a number helping them develop their offering and communications to members/potentials.

There are publishing companies out there that can provide the services you mention, but they only tend to work if you have a large membership base (00,000s) and can raise advertising income to cover the costs. However, looking at their sites might help you see what sort of services they offer:

With the size of your membership I am guessing a freelancer would be more suitable. And yes they could manage all the elements even if they need to outsource the design and print.

I would just ask the question though - do you still need a printed quarterly mag? I ask, as it can be easy to carry on doing something when actually your members might want something else. Do you also email them? What is the difference?

However, I also know that a printed newsletter can sometimes be the only tangible benefit that members receive, so you need to be careful about ripping it away.

Also, if you are struggling for content, have you tried to use members to provide it or contribute? This can work really well and can help you emphasis your 'member focus', but it relies on willing and talented members!

A freelancer should be able to outline how long they think it will all take. They could manage the design and print too.

I'd be interested in quoting if you are looking for quotes.

Hope that helps.


motherinferior Fri 30-Sep-11 17:59:22

I'd go for a freelancer. Lots of us do that kind of job.

motherinferior Fri 30-Sep-11 18:03:30

I personally wouldn't go overboard on getting members to contribute. It becomes a real hostage to fortune even having a letters page. I wouldn't outsource it to a company. Just get in someone reasonable - there are masses of good hacks out there who'd love a gig like this - and get them to run with it.

twoterrors Mon 03-Oct-11 13:50:18

That sounds like a lot of copy for a small organization to me. Does the magazine focus on the organization, or on the field its members are interested in?

I would go for a freelance not a company but first would think about what you really want, and take the opportunity to update the brief if appropriate.

What other sources of information do your members use? To what extent are you duplicating effort? Why do they/should they read the magazine? If your magazine has been going a few years, the answers to these questions will almost certainly have changed dramatically, unless your membership is peculiarly insulated from the internet.

Think about something at the other end of the spectrum - a weekly email, say, listing links to other sources with good stuff that week, short news articles capturing any developments that week, and a bit of discussion (sorry, it is hard to be more specific without knowing the subject matter). Would that meet your members' needs too? Which is better?

I do this sort of job although would find someone else to do the layout and print.

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