Learn the Lingo of Managing a Magazine

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Here is a list of common terms used by magazine management professionals. Make sure you are communicating correctly by checking out the lingo and their definitions:

  • Audience: The people for whom your publication is produced.
  • Funding phase: A stage in the life of a magazine when funds are raised to launch the publication.
  • Launch phase: A stage in the life of a magazine during which publication begins.
  • Business strategy: A plan that defines what you want to do (your purpose), where you want to go (your vision), and how you want to get there (your goals).
  • Rate base: Refers to the level of circulation; the number of subscribers and/or single copy purchasers for each issue.
  • Vision: A written statement that defines where you want to go or the effect the publication should have on your target audience at a certain time in the future.
  • Employee: A paid staff member who regularly works on the publication.
  • Freelancer: A person who does work for the publication but is not a staff member.
  • Cross-tabulation analysis: To compare the readers’ answers on surveys with two or more variables. (Example: how all males answer question number three versus all females.)
  • Open-ended question: A question that suggests no answer but leaves space for the reader to write out an answer.
  • Ancillary products: Same as publication-related products.
  • Back issue: Any issue produced before the current issue.
  • Bulk sales: The sale of multiple copies of each issue to one location.
  • List rental: The practice of allowing other organizations to use your magazine’s subscriber mailing list to present their products or services. Usually money is charged for such a privilege.
  • Budget: A written financial plan showing how money will be spent and income received for a specific period of time.
  • Circulation: The various people who receive a particular issue of the publication (whether they pay for that issue or receive it free).
  • Circulation source: Any method used to obtain subscribers or readers of the publication.
  • Cover price: The price to purchase one copy of the publication.
  • Soft Offer: An offer on a subscription promotion that allows new subscribers to receive a trial issue of the publication without having to include payment until they decide they like the magazine.
  • Subscribers: People who pay in advance to receive a specific number of issues of the publication.
  • Frequency: The number of times each year a publication is produced.
  • Media kit: A collection of all information about advertising in the publication (rate card, advertising guidelines, sample copy of the publication, etc.), usually sent to potential advertisers.
  • Niche market: Any specific market that has a narrow focus, such as the markets of “pastors,” “book publishing companies,” etc.
  • “Rack” rates: The standard quoted and written rate at which advertising is charged. Actual advertising rates may vary from rack rates if the advertising staff choose to charge a price different from the standard.
  • Rate card: A written list of the type, size, and cost of advertisements that are acceptable in the publication.
  • In-room copy: Marketing pieces left in the rooms of a conference center for guests.
  • Package insert: A small printed marketing flyer or card that is inserted in the boxes or packages sent out by a book publisher.
  • Positioning: How the publication compares to other publications and its unique qualities.
  • Trade publisher: A publishing company that produces products primarily for other businesses, churches or companies.
  • Universe: The total number of people who fit your target audience, whether they are subscribers or not.

For more insight into the management of magazines, check out our DVD series and manual.

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