What Makes Good Editorial Content?

If you’re producing a community magazine for profit you need editorial content which will appeal to both advertisers and readers.
Even if you’re producing a Parish magazine or some other publication of local interest it is still nice (and in most cases necessary) to be able to cover your costs by attracting a few advertisers.
So what sort of editorial content should you produce?
Let’s start with the easy stuff.
Community Page
Even if you possess no writing skills it should be pretty easy to set up a community page. People like to know about what’s going on in their community, whether it’s a barn dance at the village social club, a nature ramble or a children’s arts and crafts group.
Most of these events are organised by volunteers and they will be grateful for a mention in your magazine.
Try to find out just a little more than the basic facts. If it’s a children’s arts and crafts group, do they have any photos from the last time it was run? Readers love to spot familiar faces. It makes them connect with your magazine. Get names to go with any photo. This serves two purposes:
  • It means you can check that the person in the photo (or their parents) doesn’t mind you using it
  • It allows you to tell them they’ll be featured so they’ll go and tell all their friends, guaranteeing more people will flick through your publication.


Now imagine it’s a nature ramble. Can the organiser pen few words about the route they’ll take and maybe produce a little map? Again this serves multiple purposes:
  • Someone else writes the editorial, saving you the job.
  • They’ll no doubt proudly show it off to their friends, ensuring more readers
  • Readers like to see places familiar to them featured in publications.


A little imagination can produce some excellent, interesting and original content.

Approach some of your regular advertisers and see if they’d like to sponsor a competition. Make it into a feature. A few words about their business, a photo of the proprietor and a couple of trivia questions are all it takes. Of course you can make it more community orientated by posing questions related to the area in which the magazines are distributed, or the business which is sponsoring the competition or you can simply make it seasonal.
Businesses which respond well to this approach include:
  • Off-Licences
  • Wine Merchants
  • Beauty Salons
  • Hairdressers
  • Toy shops
  • Camera shops
  • Book shops
  • Restaurants


History Page
Do you have an active historical society in your area?
If so contact them. Ask if they can produce an article for you every month. When I ran a magazine I tentatively approached my local historical society and they nearly bit my hand off. It was great publicity for them and there were several budding history writers among them who really enjoyed seeing their articles in print. They supplied photos too which made the articles even more interesting.
Other Speciality Areas

When a personal trainer set up in my area I asked if she could produce a series of short (half page) articles on health and fitness. This was:
  • Great advertising for her new business…for free
  • Interesting editorial content for me which I didn’t have to write
  • A big advertising pull for gyms, swimming pools, beauty salons, toning tables etc.


It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see how this could be applied to childcare, parenting issues, beauty tips, gardening, financial hints and tips among others.
A Letters Page

This can work very well. A friend of mine tried it in her magazine. When I told her I’d always been apprehensive about a letters page in case it became a platform for odd-balls and weirdoes to air their views, she laughed.

‘Are you kidding?’ she said, ‘I have my very own pet oddballs; three of them actually. I get more feedback about those three than anything else in the magazine. Advertisers want to be opposite the letters page because people read it!’
In fact I subsequently discovered that surveys of newspaper and magazine readers reveal that the letters page is among the most closely read parts of the publication. You have been told.
All good magazines require quality articles.
There is free stuff available on the World Wide Web but unfortunately most of it isn’t relevant to a community magazine, some of it is poorly written and some of it is downright awful.
The problem with articles is that they’re time consuming to research and tricky to write well.
First you have to decide on a topic, research it, draft it, redraft it and finally complete it, format it and choose a suitable illustration. It’s generally a task which is spread over a few days and the total time taken could be several hours. That’s just one article.
Imagine how long it would take to write three or four articles.
Now imagine how much advertising you could sell during that period.
This is where thewritecontent can help.

I’ve put together the content club. This is a resource for people who publish a community magazine. Every month I publish eight fresh, advertiser-friendly articles (five full page and three half-page), a recipe, book reviews, puzzles and a children's page. The articles are published two months ahead of when you’ll need them to give you time to plan your advertising strategy.

You get all this for just £15 per month That’s less than £3 per article! Imagine how long it would take you to write five articles and imagine how much advertising you could sell in that time.

Doesn’t that make sense?

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