As I mentioned in my earlier article about iPad magazines, there are incredible opportunities to jump on the iPad magazine bandwagon and reap huge rewards.
But in order to capitalize on this gold mine, you need to have a simple-to-follow process for creating new issues on a regular basis, like monthly or quarterly.
I’ve jumped on the iPad bandwagon and am planning to publish a new iPad magazine called “Thriving Business Magazine”. You can look for my new magazine on the Newsstand app once it’s published if you want to see how it turned out.
I’m using a program called MagCast to help publish this magazine. Ed Dale, the creator of MagCast, gave me access to the program so I could use it to create my own magazine and then give an honest review about it.
So today I’d like to share my honest opinion and experiences with MagCast.
Here are some of the features that I like best about MagCast:
Feature #1 – MagCast Allows Anyone With Basic Computer Skills To Create An iPad Magazine
MagCast simplifies the process of creating iPad magazines by allowing you to use computer programs that you are already familiar with. You can use ANY program you want to create your magazine, and then just convert the output into a PDF.
For example, you can use Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, or Apple Keynote to create your magazine. MagCast even comes with pre-designed templates for Powerpoint and Keynote so you can have something to start with that looks really nice.
Here’s an example of what one of the templates looks like:
I have an extensive background in publishing and programming myself, and also have other people on my team with such skills. Here’s what surprised us the most.
We found it easier to use one of the MagCast templates for Powerpoint as a starting point to design our first magazine issue instead of using Adobe InDesign that we often use for our other publications.
So I highly recommend that other MagCast users also start with one of the templates to make the creation process easier. But you can use any program you prefer.
Once you’re finished laying out your magazine, you simply convert the document to PDF and upload the PDF into the MagCast portal.
Feature #2 – You Can Easily Add Interactivity To Your Magazine
Another feature I really like about MagCast is that it allows you to add interactivity to your magazine without complex programming. You can add embedded videos, hyperlinks, and other types of interactivity after you upload your PDF to the MagCast portal.
In fact, the interactive feature that impressed me the most is the one that allows you to add an opt-in form right inside your magazine!
Instead of making the reader click a link to open up a web browser that displays an opt-in form, you can literally display the opt-in form as one of the pages in your magazine.
Just in case you don’t know what I mean by an opt-in form, it is just a page that displays fields like a name and email address that the reader can then submit in return for getting something from you.
So you could offer your readers some type of free report, training, discount coupon, or other benefit in return for giving you their email address so you can follow-up with them and market to them.
This is truly powerful, and is one of the best ways to separately monetize the effort that you put into your magazine. I will DEFINITELY be including some type of opt-in form inside of every single issue of Thriving Business Magazine that I publish.
What’s so great is that MagCast makes the process of putting an opt-in form inside your magazine as simple as copying and pasting the opt-in form code from your auto-responder program into the MagCast tool. It’s also just as easy to add embedded videos, hyperlinks, and other interactivity to your PDF too.
Feature #3 – You Get Step-By-Step Guidance On The Entire Process
Another feature that I really like about MagCast is that it also gives you step-by-step guidance on the entire process of getting your magazine published.
For example, there are videos that walk you through the pros and cons of publishing a magazine that is free versus one that you charge a subscription fee for. As another example, there are instructions on how to set up the Apple account that you must have before you can publish an iPad magazine.
What Are The Downsides?
The only downside I could come up with about MagCast is the fact that they currently charge a monthly subscription fee. I personally have no problem with monthly subscription fees, but know that a lot of people do. I’ve heard that other subscription options for MagCast may be available in the near future too.
I think what they charge is more than fair for what you get in return. After all, this program pretty much replaces the need to hire programmers and graphic designers to build the magazine for you. Since MagCast Version 3 introduced several new features such as clip and share pages, Facebook advertisement tracking, and video previews, it is possible for a person or business owner to build the entire magazine alone using this powerful platform.
Of course, if you’re like me, you can certainly choose to have a few people on your team create the magazine. But it’s nice to know that the program is powerful enough to allow one person to do it all if necessary.
You would spend way more than the subscription fee hiring all the staff to do the things that the MagCast program can do you for automatically.
If you’re serious about building a successful iPad magazine, I think that the price they charge for MagCast is an absolute bargain. I’ll definitely be using MagCast to create my own iPad magazines, and also encourage you to check it out for yourself.
DISCLAIMER: We are an affiliate of Magcast, and if you purchase their software from any of the above links, we will get compensated for it.
* Published as Issue #214 on August 13, 2013