The 5 Most Important Ingredients of a Great Business Magazine

Today’s magazines share the same DNA as their earlier ancestors. Strong journalistic writing, original reporting, and thoughtful commentary are still the backbones of a successful magazine.

Magazines with a focused editorial mission also tend to do well and attract new readers, which is one reason why niche subjects like wine or luxury yachts have been uncorking with success.

There is a multitude of magazines, but not all magazines are the same—each one has a different mission and vision, target audience, and subject matter focus — not to mention its own pool of contributors, publication process, and methods for attracting readers. 

With more than 70,000 magazines worldwide, our industry is a crowded one. But how do you make yours stand out? Here are the key secrets to creating a successful, award-winning business magazine publication.

1. Top Business Magazines Have a Structure

As anyone who’s ever created content knows, repetition is the key to success. People are creatures of habit, and when you bring back things they like, they’ll be happier. And that’s exactly why there is a structure to every print or online business magazine.

It’s the same reason why there are certain aspects of each issue that are always in the same spot. Whether it’s a certain photo or placing a list of the top 100 things – the visual cues help readers quickly identify what’s important about that particular issue.

For the best business magazines, like many product designs, there is a set structure that makes sense. Think about how strange your magazine subscription would be if it looked different every time you picked it up. Readers love consistency because they know what to expect.

Like an organized filing system, creating an editorial framework allows you to highlight your most important elements and focus energy in the right areas. It also provides a clear starting point for writers, artists, photographers, and advertisers crafting each issue. If you create a foundation that gives direction to your work, readers will find you more trustworthy because they know what to expect from issue to issue.

Consider each issue as a brick in a house and the entire year as the actual building. Architecturally, even the strongest structure falls if its foundation is faulty. Media companies that fail to address gaps in their annual plan do so at the risk of creating an unbalanced publication. If not addressed quickly, these gaps can grow larger and more glaring over time.

2. Top Business Magazines Have a Personality

A lot of people mistakenly believe that structure and personality aren’t compatible. But you can have them both. It starts by understanding who you are if you would want to be known as the top business magazine and the best editorial team. And it continues by consistently communicating with your readers in a way that draws them closer to you and creates trust.

A successful online business magazine is the product of a great team effort. From the person who researches and writes a feature to the one who designs and lays it out, every step is vital. But the most important piece of the puzzle is the editor.

A really good magazine editor should be able to do three things – format the magazine, so it’s easy to navigate and read, get great content, and engage with his or her readers. Well, maybe a few more than that. But these three skills are vital. 

Their job is to ensure that everything on the print/online business magazine is presented in an engaging and accessible manner for their readers as possible. The best way for an editor to do this is to have a firm grasp on exactly what their readers want.

However, be aware of the fact that if your online business magazine has a lot of content, it’s not easy to be truly conversational. Making a personal connection with your readers is easy when you have a magazine in print, but it’s hard to do on the web where you can’t change the reader’s environment and offer a direct conversation.

3. Top Business Magazines have a variety

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of business magazines have a few features, a few columns, and a few editorials. The front-of-the-book sections are the appetizers, sides, and desserts of a good business magazine. Boring appetizers, dull sides, and lackluster desserts can leave readers with a bad taste in their mouths, resulting in a low opinion of your publication. That’s no way to build a sustainable subscriber base.

The balance among these different sections keeps the kitchen from getting overcrowded. Too many features and the magazine becomes bland. In other words, if you serve as many features as desserts to your readers/customers, you’re going to overwhelm them. On the other hand, if you offer too many dessert recipes without any kind of side or main dish, what are readers going to do when dinner time comes around? They’ll definitely say no.

Just like a meal should offer a variety of textures and flavors, the content you put in your business magazines needs to be just as diverse. And it shouldn’t simply be a healthy balance between columns and features – instead, you need to find a way to make each article feel unique.

4. Top Business Magazines Keep the Editorial Experience Fresh but Familiar

Good business magazines have a familiar yet fresh feel. They’re comfortable, like the old pair of shoes you reach for every day from your closet, and they have a rhythm that seems to pull you in. At the same time, each feature feels like something new. Whether you’re reading about crafts or travel, the content is still new and fresh to you.

You want your readers to look forward to each new edition of your business magazine, so mixing up the content is essential to keeping the read fresh. Editors accomplish this through the column layout, photography, and visual design of each magazine feature. 

Each story should feel complete and consistent in tone but with a unique layout. You’ve worked hard on keeping a consistent brand image for your business magazine, and now you can use that consistency to keep your editorial experience fresh without losing that reader appeal.

5. Top Business Magazines Encourage Collaboration

Like any other text, it is a good idea to share your ideas with other magazine teams. Writing and design teams should collaborate at all stages of the creative process if they want their publication to succeed. 

Having a healthy relationship can lead to innovative ways of presenting copy and help writers understand how their copy could be presented on the page. Alternatively, there will be a sterile publication with bland layouts and sub-par copy.

Writers and designers often work in separate departments, and collaborations between them are crucial for creating a top-level business magazine. Both editorial and design teams should collaborate at all stages of the creative process.

Articles should be presented by designers in an appealing way without interfering with their content. On the other hand, writers should always have the opportunity to explain how they envisaged their copy being presented on the page.

Designing, creating, and managing the best business magazine for your publication house involves knowledge of the industry, skilled writers and editors, reliable printers, marketers, internet optimizers…the list is long. We think the above pointers will definitely help you out. 

About the AuthorAshlesh Khadse is a content writer by profession at Insights Success Media and Technology Pvt. Ltd. He has also completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Journalism. He is an avid read, writer, poet, and football enthusiast. To know more about him you may visit his LinkedIn profile.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.