We at Garden Centre Retail HQ thought we would share the processes of planning our issues
Our cycle starts as soon as the previous issue has been sent to the printers. We start with a team meeting; we work out how many pages we need to hit our revenue (ad sales) target.
To keep our costs to a minimum, our magazine must be something like 52, 68 or 84 pages. Magazines are printed on big sheets of paper, which divides into 16 separate pages, and our cover wrap is always four pages (front cover, inside front cover, inside back cover, and outside back cover).
After those four pages, everything must be divisible by 16. (84 – four cover pages = 80. 80/16 = 5; success!)
It is possible to break this down into page numbers divisible by eight, but the cost is the same if we were to have the extra pages. It’s also possible to add just single pages, but financially, this makes no sense to a small business like ours.
Dedicating pages within Garden Centre Retail
Once we’ve decided how many pages we will have in the issue, we work to our targets. If Tina, our sales manager, needs 30 ad pages to realistically hit her target, Tina gets 30 ad pages.
Let’s go through the process on an 84-page issue. We dedicate one page to the front cover, so that leaves us with 83 pages.
Tina wants 30 advertising pages, so we’re now down to 53 pages to fill.
One page is for our editor’s letter, and another page is for our contents, but there is also a ‘false cover’ page for both our business and our product sections, so now we’re down to 49 pages that we can dedicate to editorial content.
This is where I, Joe, come in. I now know I have 49 pages to work with and, for consistency reasons, I know we will have a certain number of pages dedicated to our regular features.
I also need to work out a balance of content. Is there enough articles that board level directors need to read? Have the plant buyers got something interesting to peruse? Is there informative content that store managers and owner/operators can implement into their business? Is the main interview subject in a different role to the last one?
I have a lot of questions I ask myself before I start to put a flat plan together.
It will look something like this:
5 pages for news
4 pages for our feature interview
1 page for our GIMA feature
3 pages for our Catering Focus
5 pages for our special feature
1 page for our Anatomy of a Product feature
3 pages for our Plant Focus
1 page for our Trading With feature
This means that 23 of our pages are dedicated, I just then need to find the topics, interview subjects, experts and products we want to feature.
So, we’re now down to 26 pages to fill. We aim for around nine of these to be dedicated to our product sector. Six of those pages will be split between three product categories (for example: outdoor cooking, lighting and pest control).
Each of these topics has two pages and ¾ of this will be a written, actionable feature regarding displaying or selling those products. The other ¼ of the feature is dedicated to a selection of products within that sector.
The other three product pages will be single pages, dedicated to another three different product features (for example: outdoor heating, hand tools and planters).
Within these pages, we pick out five products, and showcase five key selling points of those specific products. We also include the RRP, and a web address for you to find out further info.
We’ve now taken care of our product pages. We’re now down to 17 pages to fill. Let’s pretend this is our August/September issue, and Glee is happening very soon. If this was the case, we would dedicate seven of the remaining 17 pages to the show.
This may include another false cover, an into page, some show info (seminar programme, show map etc), and a selection of pages to showcase what the exhibitors are promoting whilst at the show.
Now we have 10 pages left, and these are all four our Business section. We aim for six different business-focused topics and this could be anything from marketing and POS, to EPoS and staffing. We try to cover subjects that we know will add real benefit to your business.
And that’s pretty much it with regards to planning an issue. I now need to find contributors, pitch editorial ideas and persuade people to be interviewed, and Tina sells our ad pages. This is the hard work!