If the most popular magazines are anything to judge by, then there are a couple of rules to abide by if you want to make your own successful magazine. First, your magazine should be family-safe. Second, it should appeal to women.
Don’t believe me? Check out the list of America’s most popular magazines.
Published by the Meredith Corporation, Family Circle has been called the most popular women’s magazine in America at times. It was originally published in 1932 by the New York Times and now reaches 20 million readers monthly. It’s considered one of the “seven sisters,” a group of women’s magazines also consisting of Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Garden, Woman’s Day and Redbook.
Another of the “sisters,” currently owned by the Hearst Corporation, Good Housekeeping was originally published in 1885 by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachussetts. It was acquired by the Hearst Corporation, still run by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, in 1911. The popular women’s magazine is well known for the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”
The National Geographic Society first convened in Washington, DC’s Cosmos Club in 1888. At the time, it consisted of thirty-three explorers and scientists. Now, the society is 8 million members strong. The magazine was first published nine months after that initial meeting and has been published monthly ever since. It is now delivered to 9 million readers every month and read by over 50 million. Its popularity most likely doesn’t stem from the occasional booby that graces its pages.
Better Homes and Gardens
The third, and most popular “sister” on the list, this monthly magazine needs no introduction—the name kind of says it all anyway. Better Homes and Garden has spawned numerous home economics books, including the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
Co-founded in 1922 by Lila Bell and DeWitt Wallace, America’s most popular magazine is available monthly in thirty-five languages. Published in a pocket-sized format, Reader’s Digest bore the tag “America in your pocket” from 2005 to 2008. The magazine’s popularity is no doubt due to both its general-interest nature and the fifty-two editions that are available worldwide. The publication even goes through a rigorous “localization” process to make sure that international readers aren’t threatened by our dirty American memes. All told, the magazine is read by 100 million people globally, which also makes it the world’s most popular magazine.