Introducing our July 2019 Publisher of the Month, BELLO Magazine. BELLO is an independent magazine featuring the beauty of entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle. Keep reading for our exclusive Q&A with BELLO and check out their latest issue below.
Tell us about BELLO Magazine.
We started BELLO mag in 2007, with the hope that someone would come up with a digital tablet, as the better way to read digital magazines. Needless to say, when Apple brought the iPad into the world, we realized that what we had always thought was finally happening. Magazines were going digital.
Things did not go as smoothly as we thought they would. That said, over 12 years later we went through deferent iterations of BELLO and have built a publishing group with Bello Mag in the heart of it. The hardest thing was figuring out how to make publishing profitable, and a big part of it is having a great distribution platform. ISSUU, in combination with Collaborate, has made our life much easier, and somewhat more exciting, once the social media integration started.
How did BELLO Magazine get started? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Before Bello Mag, Steph (my business and life partner) and I had a blog. And dare I say a successful one. But, when the recession started we had to reinvent the way how to distribute the content we were producing. This is how BELLO was born in Paris. At the time we created our own platform to distribute it (luckily we did not have to maintain that platform for long).
We started by making Ultimate Alphabet for Modern Men — it was literally an alphabet with each feature or article starting with a letter of the alphabet. Needless to say, this was very complicated and time-consuming. We realized we had to quickly evolve into a much simpler content formula.
We always knew that Entertainment, Fashion, and Lifestyle, were 3 things we wanted to cover. Once we moved from Paris to Los Angeles, that became even more evident. As well, once we started understanding that our audience was 2/3rd female, we decided to make the contact even more versatile. By creating a publication that does not target a specific gender, is like swimming upstream in the world of programmatic advertising,
BELLO stands for Beautiful in Italian, and our original idea was to feature all things beautiful. Even now, 12 years later, we are still concentrating on never writing anything negative. If we do not like something we simply do not write about it. A positive attitude is not a business scheme but a very personal choice for Bello.
What are some challenges you face as a publisher? How do you conquer them?
Our challenges are different from what big publishing groups face. We have always been very cost-conscious so keeping the production cost low is what keeps us afloat.
I guess the only challenge is the content saturation. As well as the competition from social media, as people are consuming content that does not take very long to “read” or watch. Content consumption patterns are forcing us to constantly adapt.
We have overcome many of our other obstacles just by reaching economies of scale, by growing our group with the creation of new publications and the acquisition of some magazines.
How do you think publishing digitally has helped BELLO Magazine?
We never wanted to be distributed like traditional magazines. First, because of our ecological position. We do not want to print magazines and then have to burn them or destroy them. For us, going digital and using print on demand was the only logical option. There is still interest to have print copies, and we sell plenty of those, but it is better to print a copy once someone makes the order.
By publishing Bello Magazine digitally, we are reaching much wider audiences as well.
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a magazine?
Be creative, find a niche, and be open to collaboration. Working with others is helping us grow this industry together and have better negotiation power.
What is the best part of running a magazine?
We get to meet so many interesting people and we get to be creative. We can imagine and dream a concept, and then put it in motion followed by enjoying the final result. We also get to do many parties to celebrate those that we feature as well as thank those we are collaborating with. Those moments are worth all the effort we put in the production of the content.
Here at Issuu, we believe everyone has a story to tell. How do you like to tell your stories?
We love to tell the stories in a short and creative way. Less is more in the world where attention span is getting shorter with every breath we take. We tend to be the first to pick the new talent, discover interesting subjects to cover, and also to find a different, more creative, way to do it.
We see BELLO is growing, what’re you currently working on?
We are working on launching BELLO in new territories. We see the interest to have localized versions of BELLO (with local content and in local languages) in different countries around the world growing.