Special Issues: Spice Up Your Magazine

Posted on May 4, 2017

Who isn’t familiar with the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated? One of the most anticipated issues of the year, this has proven to increase ad sales as well as circulation. Some research sources report as much as a 35 percent increase in revenue. Just because yours is a business-to-business publication doesn’t mean this approach can’t be equally profitable for you!

You’ll find a gold mine of untapped opportunities when you start thinking out-of-the-box. Many of our publishers have already realized the rewards of special sections or special issues.

Real Estate Agent Magazine Special Issues

Real Estate publications might work with local organizations and promote upcoming annual events. One of our most successful Real Estate Agent Magazine’s has featured the local Parade of Homes. This opened up a whole new arena of potential advertisers including home remodelers, decorators, pool companies and more. By obtaining a list of participants you’ll discover a previously untapped sector of advertisers and topics to feature as articles.

Attorney at Law Magazine Special Issues

Attorney magazines have also had tremendous success with special issues, some have even become annual events that, much like the Swimsuit Issue are greatly anticipated. By featuring Top Women Attorneys or Top Ten Under 40, you can approach newer attorneys offering them an opportunity to expand their branding. Remember to think about congratulatory ads from their firm and vendors! As an additional bonus, these up-and-coming lawyers who otherwise would not qualify for your cover, will remember you fondly when they do have the longevity to be nominated!

Other Titles

Actually, any magazine can feature a special section or issue. A little brainstorming is all that’s required. You might be surprised at what your readers might suggest. There’s nothing like getting loyal readers involved in helping create future issues. This kind of involvement acknowledges that you both appreciate and respect their expertise, which in turn can lead to more ad sales.

Making It Your Own

Featuring special issues is not an original idea, but how you use it can be. Some of the most successful companies in the world  have taken this idea and made it their own. For instance, Disney’s FamilyFun magazine considers its November special issue to be the most popular because it features a list of the toy-of-the-year nominees.

People magazine, being a weekly publication, found this a tremendous help with circulation and sales. Their Special 35th Anniversary edition sold-out at virtually every newsstand within the first two days. They got the message and now regularly print variations on this theme including, Most Beautiful, Best and Worst Dressed and of course, the predictable special issues following the marriage or death of anyone famous. This has become such a successful and profitable tool for them, that People now runs at least seven special issues a year.

Special issues and special sections can breathe new life into an established publication or offer a great jump-start for newer magazines. Remember, by singling out those you choose to feature, you’re not only helping your own magazine right now, but building lasting and positive relationships for the future.

Next installment of this five part series: Multiple Titles in the Same Market.