How we make our content
The Harlem World Magazine name goes back to 2003, and since that time the craft of magazine making has grown enormously. The following is a brief summary of the steps involved in the making of a well crafted Native advertising piece. There are basically five stages involved: Create a production schedule, Create a content plan, Create a detailed plan for each story, Proofread and edit stories, Design, and Checking.
The crucial first stage in the creation of a Native Advertising article at Harlem World is the knowing exactly what the client’s wants, the noting of peculiarities, and the transposing of the measures and notes into a great brand story is extremely important. Given the importance, it is highly desirable that the editors notes are complete, for he/she can best understand what the clients wants. Our approach is that the fewer people between the customer and the magazine, the better.
Create a production schedule
This helps us manage the production of your article in a timely fashion, so you do not miss the agreed-upon deadline for sending the article to our production team and your target release date. The latter should be your starting point. Create your plan going backward from that date, taking into consideration any obstacles you can anticipate that may prolong the process.
Your schedule should, at the very least, include the following considerations:
- Deadlines for when each story must be submitted to the editor
- Ample time for proofreading
- A design schedule
- Your review deadline
- Your posting date
Create a content plan
Next we create an editor’s content schedule for all content, including events, podcasts and more. This helps to plan the content of the magazine and to monitor the overall production process. We make sure that the plan is confirmed by all members on the team. In many cases, this part of the process may take more time than anticipated, so we plan accordingly.
Like the production manager, the editor is a highly skilled individual.
A word of advice here: We write your content at least one post ahead of schedule to make sure your content is never left with an empty space if an article falls through. This also provides a safety net for other articles that might need extra time to be written, photographed, illustrated or designed.
We create a detailed plan for each story
Once you’ve confirmed your story, you’ll want to follow with a detailed plan for every story writing and publishing. Considerations here include:
The content in a story: What is the challenge it will address for your audience?
Types: What type of article will be the best fit for the story? Certain content naturally lends itself to different formats (e.g., interviews, features, news stories, infographics, etc.). For example, sometimes an infographic will be much more effective than a traditional feature story, especially when you want to relay complex or dry (if not illustrated) information.
Create modular content: We are constantly bombarded with information; therefore, we tend to be put off by long, seemingly unending text. We explore ways to make your content as visually appealing as possible; for example, dissect content into sidebars, infographics, tables, illustrations, etc., whenever possible.
Create a design mock-up: This helps communicate layout details to our writers. We usually do this by hand. Mock-ups are very simple; they provide a visual guide to help us and our designer envision the layout of each story, but they aren’t necessarily the finalized designs for your content.
Instructions: Now we’re ready to write down detailed instructions for each story: The length, what it will cover, etc. We also like to ask each writer to send a detailed outline of his/her article before they start writing it.
Writers: Finally, we are ready to discuss planned articles with our writers. Who would be the best fit as the writer (or photographer, illustrator, etc.) of a story on the topic? We can choose someone from our pool of potential writers, or we can look for a new writer (this depends, also, on budget and the concept). Once we have nailed down our writers, we make sure to give them sensible deadlines for their submissions.
Proofread and edit stories
In most cases, an article will need to be returned to its writer to make corrections and add information that we, as an editor, believe is missing. For every story, we make sure to edit the following:
Headline: Writing a great headline can be daunting, so we don’t take this task lightly. We use a great trick we learned overtime: When the magazine is ready to be designed, we write all the headlines on a piece of paper. This allows us to see what story a communicates as a whole and to check whether headlines by themselves (outside the context of the article) make sense. And always ask “So what?” after reading each headline. If you’re bored or the answer is, “Not much”, rewrite it (them) accordingly.
Lead: An introduction to the story should be short and it should fulfill the following two criteria: It should attract a reader’s attention, and it should tell him/her what follows.
Body: Is it readable? Does it make sense? Does it have subheads to break up the text for clarity? Are we using effective pull quotes? Does it need a subhead?
Pictures: When we use images, we make sure the photographer and the photographs are of a suitable and making sure the quality fit the style of the magazine.
Picture captions: Our goal is to create the very best, most startling, newest, most fascinating, most valuable nuggets of information, written so the reader will be avid for more details, reasons, background — all motivation for digging into the text itself.” After all, readers usually first look at the pictures and then the accompanying text.
Calls to action: We produce a custom online magazine because we want the readers to do something after they’ve read an article. Whatever that maybe don’t leave them guessing; suggest where they can get further information about the problem discussed, let them know about services and products that can help them solve the problems, how to ask for information, etc.
At this stage in the process, a new customer would be invited to attend a preliminary reading to check that the last changes are correct. If necessary, any slight adjustments can then be made.
Now the story is ready to be designed. Submit all final materials to our graphic designer and then we work together closely to make sure it fits the customers brand needs.
We make sure the design of every article is logical and works with the design of the magazine format as a whole.
Later the designer adds his/her final touches, which is built up piece by piece. The finish to the design is very important and demands a high degree of skill. The finish will greatly affect the overall appearance and styling of the article.
The article has returned from the client with approval. But before we can post a story we take one final detailed look at it. We read the article as if we haven’t seen it before. Of course, nobody’s perfect, so we will probably find a mistake or two that we will need to fix or additional changes we’d like to make, but at this stage, they should be minor. We always make sure everything is correct, the companies’ phone number, e-mail, address, names are spelled correctly, etc.
We let our designer apply those changes. Now he/she is ready to prepare for the posting.
Now, we’ll contact you for one last look.
Once posted the article is not complete, we have to maintain engagement with the readers, keep reviewing the post for comments, questions, etc.. Every day, to weekly, to months depending on your “call to action.”
Harlem World H. Y. P. E. and more
If you would like to learn exactly how we make our content is made, you can check out Harlem Youth Publishing Empowerment (H. Y. P. E.) where we recruit and train the next journalist our training for youth and our meetings and conversations on Harlem World Magazine and our content. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.